Friday, 22 October 2010

The Ciderhouse is Buzzin'

Here's another mystery apple from the orchard in Worcestershire. The single tree that these orangey, speckled and striped apples come from is now mostly rootstock, producing a sharpish, green, ribbed apple of little value to us for cidermaking.

The original grafted variety produces a reasonable crop of early bittersweet cider apples, most of which have already dropped by early October. Once they've hit the ground, they have a tendency to rot, so we pressed them today along with some of our own home-grown bittersweets, the Sweets we harvested last weekend, and a few sharps to help lower the pH.

My best guess on these is Ashton Bitter, an early bittersweet usually grown alongside Dabinett as a pollinator. This tree is in the same part of the orchard as the Dabinetts.

We also pressed a small trial batch of Kingston Black today, finding very few rotten fruits, and giving a respectable gravity of 1.055. It will be interesting to see how this variety develops over the coming weeks. I'm hopeful that we may get closer to 1.060, and maybe improve the flavour if we can leave them a little closer to December.

The Kingston Black apples are producing the most wonderful candy-apple aroma as they mature, and the fragrance in the ciderhouse today has been quite heady. The Wasps find it very attractive too, and I had to fish several out of the juice as the afternoon wore on. Look carefully and you'll see a couple buzzing around the cheese on this short video of today's pressing.

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