First timer with small orchard seeking advice on cider

Help Support The HomeBrew Forum:

Rick1964

New Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
10
I did read on this forum that one member used to chop up their apples and then put them in poly bags and freeze them. They then defrosted them and pressed them. They reckoned the juice yield was higher than scratting. I haven’t tried myself.

With regard to au natural fermentation I’ve had mixed results. My pears always produced vinegar. I’ve had apples turn out superb, sweet with stuck fermentation that I couldn’t bottle carbonate and some that I threw away.

In other words it’s a bit hit and miss. If you have enough apples I would try a small batch, and sulphite the rest. It will give you a heads up for next year,
I tried the freezing method. I have to say it definitely produces a lot more juice. You do have to wait for the apples to defrost tho before pulping.
 

Rigsby666

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
60
Reaction score
26
Monk fruit is my go to sweetener, natural, no tang or aftertaste.
The main criticisms of Monk Fruit seem to be based on it not being that easy to get hold of, it's expensive and people complain that is does have an aftertaste. What's your experience with these points?
 

Rigsby666

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
60
Reaction score
26
When making cider, I have always found that I get better results (more character), if I use wild yeast fermentations rather than using a cultured yeast.
It's also a massive bonus if you can manage to get hold of at least a percentage of 'proper' cider apples, rather than using 100% culinary or desert fruit, as you will then almost certainly end up with a cider with much more body of flavour. Often eaters or cookers can give you a very thin, almost wine-like cider, which some may enjoy but is not always close to the "real" cider that other may be trying to achieve. If you are going to add other fruit flavours to the end cider, then it becomes very much less important as to what apples or yeast you use.
You may also find that the use of Campden Tablets at the beginning of fermentation may actually stall and almost certainly will delay the start of fermentation. I've personally never found a need to use a sulfite at this stage and really wouldn't want it impinging on the wild yeasts starting and becoming established.
Finally, and this is the hard part, patience is a very good quality to acquire. Sometime the lack of it can involve unnecessary effort and cost, and ultimately could spoil your end results.
I hope that helps. Cheers and remember, one of the most important factors to include is that of enjoyment. :-)
 
Last edited:

Shirley Bassett

Regular.
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
266
Reaction score
233
One of my neighbours moved to a farm a few miles away from here. She text me a few weeks ago saying that she had apple trees around the farmhouse of which two had a small amount of fruit on them.

I got the apples, scrat them and pressed out the juice, and as they were a new source of apples to me, and I only got 4 litres of each I wild fermented them.

I’ve just tipped both demijohn contents away as I have 8 litres of vinegar that won’t clear.

As I’ve previously written, you win some you lose some with wild yeast.
 

Rigsby666

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
60
Reaction score
26
I’ve just tipped both demijohn contents away as I have 8 litres of vinegar that won’t clear.
Dependant on which actual varieties of apples it was that you used, some can produce a cider that is EXTREMELY acidic, and consequently is incredibly sharp when tasted, even to the point that in it's native state it is undrinkable to all but those with Kamikaze palate. But if it has actually become acetic and is/has turned to vinegar, then this is normally due in some way to an ingress of air into the fermentation vessel that has unfortunately bought with it Acetobacter, which then happily converts the alcohol into acetic acid and eventually turns the cider onto vinegar. If you are careful, this can fairly easily be avoided. In 12 years of making cider using wild fermentations, I have yet to produce even an acetic cider, let alone vinegar.
Having said that, there is something to be said for producing cider vinegar, and that is it can glean a higher value per litre than good quality cider can!! :-)
 
Last edited:

Rigsby666

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
60
Reaction score
26
Producing modest abv alcoholic beveragers and vinegar in the SAME premises is asking for it
Totally agree. Always take the vinegar production off-site or remove the results of an infection and dispose of it off-site. You really don't want Acetobacter 'mother' anywhere near your proper cider. It is that serious.
 

johncrobinson

Landlord.
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,098
Reaction score
1,058
Location
Highlands
Thank God you agree.
I have been heavly critisised in the past for suggesting the two activites dont really go together.
 

Rigsby666

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
60
Reaction score
26
Thank God you agree.
I have been heavly critisised in the past for suggesting the two activites dont really go together.
I guess it depends on how much value your put on your cider. If it means little to a person, then I can understand there being little care or worry about losing it. On the contrary, if you produce cider for your living, then the prospect of loosing it all to a vinegar infection is horrifying, akin to a farmer loosing his crop to fire. I suspect most people will fall somewhere in between the two extremes.

I guess with real care, you could keep a production of vinegar in strict isolation, but I certainly wouldn't personally want to be bothered with that or take that risk. Other might feel less concerned, well that is for them to decide and not my worry. :-)

I guess it also depends on what your priorities are to produce. Vinegar maybe the more important and cider not important and little risk. Unlikely.
 
Last edited:

Shirley Bassett

Regular.
Joined
Aug 15, 2018
Messages
266
Reaction score
233
When I first started making cider from fruit in my first attempts I made single fruit varieties some sulphited some not. Any excess juice was just bunged in all together. I learnt that the mixed juice was far nicer as an end product.

The next year I started to weigh out my apples and try to make a consistent blend of them, in an attempt to produce a reproducible end product, and have had about 8 years of success, but I used Campden tablets at a rate of 1 per 5 litres of juice. The remaining apples were just bunged in together and fermented unsulphited, and it was always this batch that was hit and miss.

I’ve now got 9 trees on a my plot, that should start and bear fruit in a couple of years.

There are 2 National Trust for Scotland Estates near where I live. Both have an orchard and walled garden with known apple varieties. I’ve asked both for some scion to graft on to rootstock next spring with a view to expanding my collection.

A previous neighbour of mine told me to label the scion, and then put it in the salad draw of your fridge for the winter, and then graft it on to rootstock in March, using the correct grafting tool.

So going back to the new fruit source from the farm my neighbour took on. As I mentioned, in my previous post, when ever I get a new source of fruit, and when it is in small quantities I ferment it as a single juice, to see how it tastes, unsulphited. It’s this that has turned to vinegar.

I’ve always had the similar problems with pears.

I’ve known pears to taste absolutely fantastic when initially fermented and up to 6 months after carbonation in a bottle, but another 6 months on the remaining bottles were foul.

So to be clear, the vinegar production was not intentional.

I aren’t dependent upon my cider production for a living, it’s just a hobby that got out of hand.
 

Rigsby666

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
60
Reaction score
26
The original poster Rick1964 mentioned that he used Campden Tablets after pressing the juice and that he had a stuck or delayed start to the fermentation, and in my view this was most likely due to his use of sulfites and I wouldn't personally use them at that stage. However, the use of sulfites after fermentation is incredibly useful, always use with care and it will help stop the spoiling of your cider/perry going forward.

….it’s just a hobby that got out of hand.
There are many of us out there that can sympathise with you due to having a similar tale. :-)
 

An Ankoù

Landlord.
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
6,190
Reaction score
4,844
Location
Brittany, France
Apart from leaving the cider to ferment with wild yeasts, something I haven't dared do yet (I use Young's cider yeast, but any other brand or even Champagne yeast would do) I endorse everything @Rigsby666 has said on the matter thus far especially not adding Campden tablets. Not only will this hold the yeast back (especially wild yeasts), but it will prevent the cider from colouring up to a nice, rich, amber colour.
As far as acetification is concerned, it doesn't matter how infected your juice is as long as you keep it out of contact with oxygen. Use an airlock and when you bottle the cider, keep the headspace to around 1-2 centimeters. Acetic acid bacteria cannot work, grow, multiply or ruin your cider without the presence of oxygen. All home pressed juice will contain some acetobacter since the apples will have picked it up from hanging on the same tree as rotting or damaged fruit. Don't fear it, control it.
 

johncrobinson

Landlord.
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
2,098
Reaction score
1,058
Location
Highlands
A good point An Ankou.
I think thats how they used to do it in the "old" days

Personally I dont think you can beat inoculatig with a ravionus ready to do the buisness starter

They will soon deal with the oxygen problem.

Cider used to be kept "going" with small additions of sugar to the barrel to keep a co2 blanket
Of course the point was eventually reached when it was apple wine not cider.
 
Last edited:

clyne

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
146
Reaction score
81
Well I had a crack at the weekend. Used around 10kg of apples, got around 4.5L of juice. I've left the remainder of the apples (probably around another 10kg) in the greenhouse to ripen a bit more as some of them were pretty tough (the food processor was getting stuck!). That said it's all pulped, pressed, filtered and now sitting in a demi-john with some cider yeast pitched and it's bubbling away nicely.

I'll be fascinated to see the colour change from the oxidised brown colour to (hopefully) a more golden colour of cider. Still, as long as it tastes OK I don't mind!
Quite enjoyed the whole process actually - chopping, pulping, pressing. Almost as good as making beer :beer1:
 

DavieC

Landlord.
Joined
Oct 4, 2018
Messages
639
Reaction score
385
Hi @clyne , be prepared for what may initially be quite a harsh tasting cider after fermentation. It will improve massively with conditioning ,in my case its months as opposed to weeks though its well worth waiting for.Did you take a SG reading?
 

An Ankoù

Landlord.
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
6,190
Reaction score
4,844
Location
Brittany, France
Cider used to be kept "going" with small additions of sugar to the barrel to keep a co2 blanket
Of course the point was eventually reached when it was apple wine not cider.
I remember having three pints of a cider kept this way in the Albion (now demolished) in Poole. I recall it was a moment of sheer joy and madness as I chased each one with a Woods rum. Did me no good at all as it happens, but made it home to tell the tale another day.
 

clyne

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
146
Reaction score
81
Hi @clyne , be prepared for what may initially be quite a harsh tasting cider after fermentation. It will improve massively with conditioning ,in my case its months as opposed to weeks though its well worth waiting for.Did you take a SG reading?
Thanks @DavieC, I'll probably try a wee drop post fermentation but my plan is to bottle it and store it, then get the next batch on the go. Stupidly no I forgot to take an SG reading :( I'll just have to go on taste and maybe not give any away to friends "just in case" it's a bit potent! :laugh8:
 
Top