2021 Apple Harvest Cider Thread

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MattH1973

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Despite some fine blossom this year.....
20210516_131835 by MattH3764, on Flickr

Ended up with slim pickings - just 3 sacks - I assume the issue was a late frost or lack of bees, plus my trees being somewhat biennial
20210906_201107 by MattH3764, on Flickr

Consolation is that I am busy on other things, so only doing one press suited me this year:
20210912_145108 by MattH3764, on Flickr

20210912_150843 by MattH3764, on Flickr

Ended up with 25 litres as follows:
- 10 litres au naturel, about 8pct, PH 3.2. Note the darker colour due to lack of camden. These will sit in the cellar and be botted around Christmas.
- 5 litres with camden, pectolase and chalk, about 9pct, PH2.9 - this will get champagne yeast tomorrow
- 10 litres as above, but diluted down to around 7% in order to fill the DJs.

20210912_165905 by MattH3764, on Flickr

All in all not bad, then just the ballache of cleaning.....
20210912_172233 by MattH3764, on Flickr
 

DavieC

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Hardly any apples on my garden tree or the other trees I collect from. I'm making turbo cider this year.Hope yours turns out ok @MattH1973 .
 

freester

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Yup it's a day of hard graft. I haven't even thought of doing a press this year yet... Must drop my orchard people a line see what their crop was like...
 

raymondo

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South Devon here - very limited crop this year - 3 weeks of frost in April/early May during flowering. Initial thoughts are it's not worth getting the press out. The orchards I scrump from are just as bare.
 

MattH1973

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i put the yeast in monday, but only after inserting it did i notice a distinct odour on the yeast. Hopefully it wont ruin those 15 litres.

Interesting other harvests are down, must be a late frost. Makes me glad I got what I did.
 

freester

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Just been in touch with my usual orchard. No apples. I have a feeling I won't be pressing this year 😥
 

DavieC

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Wonder if apple juice will increase in price?
 

johncrobinson

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It might well go up in price,!!!

I bought the last 4 cartons of apple juice on the shelf a MONTH ago at my local co-op for a wine.
Stock has STILL not been replaced.
 

Metman79

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Hey all, sorry to hear about things in South Devon/blighty and the lack of apples. Here in Jersey we had no issues with frost and our circa 45yr old tree of unknown heritage has been pretty productive, coupled with a bit of scrumping from some friends resulted in four big flexi-tubs worth of apples today. Hand chopped, hand scratted and then pressed this evening. From 2 23l buckets of pulp we managed three gallons of juice.

Last two years when we just used apples from out tree we've had some weird off flavours, might have been from naturally fermenting in the house, perhaps a touch warm. Not messing about and risking it this year so Mr Campden being added shortly before Mangrove Jack's cider yeast tomorrow evening. Will let you know on the OG when I check in a bit. Planning to ferment in the garage this year. @MattH1973 I'm well jelly of your electric fruit mill I think I need to invest in one next year plus a hydro press to take the 'ball ache' out of cider day, although I feel like I've just done an honest days work!
 

Metman79

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Hmm, 1045, so probably ~5% not great, but a lot of the apples have been early windfall. Ah well, it is what it is and I never add sugar so we'll see what we get. Be interested to hear about peoples experience with fermenting under warmer conditions as I've heard different things. Last year's definitely had a pretty horrible acetone edge to it.
 

ScrumpyRam

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Hmm, 1045, so probably ~5% not great, but a lot of the apples have been early windfall. Ah well, it is what it is and I never add sugar so we'll see what we get. Be interested to hear about peoples experience with fermenting under warmer conditions as I've heard different things. Last year's definitely had a pretty horrible acetone edge to it.
I had a similar disappointing outcome in 2018. I was given a sack of Dabinetts from an orchard in Somerset so was really excited and had high expectations. I persevered with a couple of bottles but the rest went down the sink.
 

ScrumpyRam

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Hey all, sorry to hear about things in South Devon/blighty and the lack of apples. Here in Jersey we had no issues with frost and our circa 45yr old tree of unknown heritage has been pretty productive, coupled with a bit of scrumping from some friends resulted in four big flexi-tubs worth of apples today. Hand chopped, hand scratted and then pressed this evening. From 2 23l buckets of pulp we managed three gallons of juice.

Last two years when we just used apples from out tree we've had some weird off flavours, might have been from naturally fermenting in the house, perhaps a touch warm. Not messing about and risking it this year so Mr Campden being added shortly before Mangrove Jack's cider yeast tomorrow evening. Will let you know on the OG when I check in a bit. Planning to ferment in the garage this year. @MattH1973 I'm well jelly of your electric fruit mill I think I need to invest in one next year plus a hydro press to take the 'ball ache' out of cider day, although I feel like I've just done an honest days work!
I used MJ MO2 cider yeast last year with good results. Hope yours turns out wellathumb..
 

Metman79

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I used MJ MO2 cider yeast last year with good results. Hope yours turns out wellathumb..
Thanks buddy, Campdend bombed it last night, pitched the yeast this evening, yeast had an interesting smell, my 5 yr old daughter said it smelt like rabbit food, fingers crossed and let's hope for bubblin' this time tomorrow!!
 

Bill W

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Hey all, sorry to hear about things in South Devon/blighty and the lack of apples. Here in Jersey we had no issues with frost and our circa 45yr old tree of unknown heritage has been pretty productive, coupled with a bit of scrumping from some friends resulted in four big flexi-tubs worth of apples today. Hand chopped, hand scratted and then pressed this evening. From 2 23l buckets of pulp we managed three gallons of juice.

Last two years when we just used apples from out tree we've had some weird off flavours, might have been from naturally fermenting in the house, perhaps a touch warm. Not messing about and risking it this year so Mr Campden being added shortly before Mangrove Jack's cider yeast tomorrow evening. Will let you know on the OG when I check in a bit. Planning to ferment in the garage this year. @MattH1973 I'm well jelly of your electric fruit mill I think I need to invest in one next year plus a hydro press to take the 'ball ache' out of cider day, although I feel like I've just done an honest days work!
Apple crop is way down here in Alderney, though the cookers seem to be less affected than the eaters. We might manage a small pressing of cookers and top up with shop bought juice, or we might just make pies and say sod the cider this year. :D
 

Metman79

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Hey @Bill W always nice to meet a fellow Channel Islander! Sorry to hear about your lack of apples too, rubbish news! Ah well, maybe pies it is then. Any particular reason why the apples are less productive this year your way? Beer bubbling away nicely in the FV in the garage now with cider hopefully starting to bubble away later today. Took some advice and bought Craft Cider Making by Andrew Lea and it's a pretty good read, offering some different advice from my other tow cider books.
 

Bill W

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Hey @Bill W always nice to meet a fellow Channel Islander! Sorry to hear about your lack of apples too, rubbish news! Ah well, maybe pies it is then. Any particular reason why the apples are less productive this year your way? Beer bubbling away nicely in the FV in the garage now with cider hopefully starting to bubble away later today. Took some advice and bought Craft Cider Making by Andrew Lea and it's a pretty good read, offering some different advice from my other tow cider books.
I'm guessing from your username that you might work for JerseyMet? That's my go-to weather forecast, except at hay-making time, when I need a more detailed 10-day forecast and use Weather Underground to look for "windows".

It's been a funny year for growing most things except weeds. Strawberries were poor. Plums virtually non-existent. Pears did OK. Poor yield on the spuds too.

I think the dry but cool spring we had, combined with sandy soil had a lot to do with it.

Thanks for the tips on the books.
 

Metman79

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I'm guessing from your username that you might work for JerseyMet? That's my go-to weather forecast, except at hay-making time, when I need a more detailed 10-day forecast and use Weather Underground to look for "windows".

It's been a funny year for growing most things except weeds. Strawberries were poor. Plums virtually non-existent. Pears did OK. Poor yield on the spuds too.

I think the dry but cool spring we had, combined with sandy soil had a lot to do with it.

Thanks for the tips on the books.
Ha ha, now that would be telling!!

Strange how certain things to better in certain places, someone we get apples from has fabulous damsons this year, I mean really, really tasty! Apples have been good, strawberries so so. But Le Mare vineyard have had an absolutely crap year with almost no crop.
 

MattH1973

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Glad to see some action happening in the UK.... allbeit the Southern extremes...responding on a few points....

- The Selections electric scratter is well worth the money. Not only does it save massive time, but it also increases yield due to perfect pulp consistency.
- I ferment in the cellar - as I have read that an even temp about about 12 degrees is perfect. My yeast batches have now stopped bubbling - I will leave them another few weeks to start clearing and then bottle. No action from the au naturels yet but i wouldnt expect that by now.
 

Metman79

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Glad to see some action happening in the UK.... allbeit the Southern extremes...responding on a few points....

- The Selections electric scratter is well worth the money. Not only does it save massive time, but it also increases yield due to perfect pulp consistency.
- I ferment in the cellar - as I have read that an even temp about about 12 degrees is perfect. My yeast batches have now stopped bubbling - I will leave them another few weeks to start clearing and then bottle. No action from the au naturels yet but i wouldnt expect that by now.
Yes I think I do need to invest in something else for next year, the manual scratter and press have been fun to use and do work, but.......takes so much time, even for 20-30kg, as you have to chop all the apples first before you can scrat them. I'll likely invest in a Fruit Shark or Speidel next year and couple it with either a rack and cloth press or hydro, not decided yet.

Did you sulphite your au naturels to a certain degree (dependant on pH) to reduce the nasties and allow the natural yeasts to take over? Or did you leave the completely au natural to do their thing? I've decent results historically doing this in Exeter, but bad results here in Jersey the last two years going with a natural ferment, hence pitching with the MJ cider yeast this year, which is smelling good and bubbling away nicely after around 12hrs or so.
 

jceg316

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I've started making cider now, I'm based in Kent. I collect from neighbours' trees who don't use them, some wild ones going and still gonna collect from a farmer who doesn't use his orchard. definitely less apples than last year, but last year was a great year for apples in the UK and apple trees do tend to be biennial. So far I have close to 50 litres and will be picking more.

I'm thinking of doing half with wine yeast and half with the natural yeasts. Was wondering if the WLP and Wyeast cider yeast strains are just sacc or do they contain the mix of bugs with a "wild" cider ferment.

I need a new press. I'd like a rack and cloth one as they are more efficient than a basket one but they're expensive and I'm not good at building things. My current one is a basket press, the base snapped in half.
 

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