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Apple processing - Day 1

Started by willk, September 14, 2017, 06:43:51 pm

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willk

Some will recall that I grow my own apples for craft cider.  The desserts were picked and matured early this year and I processed yesterday.  The cider and cooker varieties will follow in a few weeks, depending on when the apples begin to fall.  The 160kg realised about 100L of juice, so I was quite pleased.  I'm aiming for a blend of approx. 70% cider variety juice, so hope the trees deliver.  I'm using a pinch of metabisulphite overnight before adding sugar (the dessert fruit need it), pectolase, nutrients and this year, Gervin cider yeast that I have started in a 10% sugar solution.  Target is 5%ABV.

https://youtu.be/biy1MWWrCjo

johnrm

Fantastic setup Will.
Have you looked into Keeving?

willk

Thanks.  I'm saving Keeving experiments for another couple of years - basically when I can afford to waste 30L+ of juice.  The focus up until now has been on producing a clear sparkling cider with decent flavours.  I think I'm quite close to being able to do that reliably.  The logistics of the "orchard", processing and bottling have probably been the big challenge so far, and I'm nearly on top of that.  I'm looking forward to more time experimenting with the fermentation and blending side of things. 

Will_D

if the keeve doesn't happen then nothing is wasted - you just rack of as usual.

Been there done it!
Remember: The Nationals are just round the corner - time to get brewing

willk

I was lucky and had the crop picked well before Ophelia struck.  Looks like about another 340kg of fruit - of reasonable quality I think.  I have a new apple for the mix this year - Ashmead's Kernel, an old spicy fibrous dessert russet.  I have no idea what it will ferment like so I will make a 30L drum in isolation.  Hopefully it will be the equal of the Katys for blending.

BTW, a bottle of home crafted cider made it's way to me from Sligo, via a somewhat circuitous route.  Anyone here send 330ml bottles of homer cider to Donegal this year?  I suspect it was made with cookers....  ;)

willk

Things are cooling down very quickly here now that winter has arrived.  Mrs willk insisted that my fermentations be banished to the shed this year (there was some unhappiness last winter about sulphurous whiffs) so I made a controlled environment for the late juice.  I had an old CO2 monitor that I found on ebay and was delighted to find it going into full evac mode after a coupla hours in the box.  I'm aiming to hold the fermentation at around 15 degrees for the duration.  I found the process was very prolonged in previous winters, maybe not the best plan when using plastic drums that are a touch oxygen permeable?

I hope to bottle in mid February, rather than May.  The big question is when the malolactic will occur...

guest1906

Hi Willk

I'm impressed with your video clip and like myself have the time to pulp and press the apples to get juice. I have a press similar to yours but built it myself, but wonder where I can buy the dividers to go in between the cheeses.  I'm a gardener by profession and get many varieties from work, and my third year making cider and this year I master making a sweet cider for the first time. I got advice from others on this site, but I don't agree with there method of purchasing commercial juice to make their cider.

The machine you use to pulp the apples, what is it called?


fishjam45 (Colin)

3 years making cider and you don't know what a scratter is?
Garden County Brewers

https://gcbrewers.wordpress.com/

willk

Quote from: JamMan on December 20, 2017, 11:19:18 pmbut wonder where I can buy the dividers to go in between the cheeses.

You can purchase wooden racks from companies like Vigo Presses - but they are VERY expensive (£35 each - you'll need 6-7).  I made a set for my previous home-made press using Ash wood laths from a local woodwork shop.  You'll need a very great deal of timber and fixings that don't react with acid.  Worth the time to buy stainless pins or tacks.  Finish with a couple of coats of durable floor "varnish".
Quote from: JamMan on December 20, 2017, 11:19:18 pm
The machine you use to pulp the apples, what is it called?

The machine in question is a Speidel Electric 2.2kW Apple Mill.  Previously I used a hand crusher for several harvests (when I had far less apples) but they are soul and shoulder destroying imps of Satan.  They give less juice too! The Speidel is a very efficient machine and mine has been completely reliable for six or so seasons.  They are expensive and cheaper versions are available.  Be careful to buy something designed for hard fruit - there are a lot of grape crushers about that will struggle with apples - look out for caveats that warn about loading a limited quantity at a time.  The Spiedel can mill faster than you can load it :-)

willk

Quote from: fishjam45 (Colin) on December 21, 2017, 06:53:16 am
3 years making cider and you don't know what a scratter is?


Did he "p" you off a bit?  :D

Remember, for our perspective, when you buy juice and then "make" cider, it's the equivalent of me going up to St. James Gate and buying a bucket of wort, fermenting it and calling myself an "all grain craft brewer".  There's going to be nothing wrong with Davy Uprichard's juice - but he is largely responsible for the quality of the cider, not whoever ferments it.  Someone on here recently said that brewers are engineers and cidermakers are farmers.  I'd agree.  I was in a vineyard in Rioja in September and the owner commented that good wines are born in the vineyard, not the winery.

molc

Of course, if possible wed all grow and work with our own apples. However it's a lot harder for us to source all the varieties of apples and be able to pick them at the right time, whereas qe can buy bags of grain that keep for a period of time much more easily.

I'd probably say it's more like the difference between extract and all grain myself. Both will make a fine end product but the purists want to control every aspect of the process.

Also I'd disagree that Davy is largely responsable for the quality of the end product; Brewing still has a lot to do with it. I've had some truly vile cider made from apples and pre bought juice over the years.
Fermenting: IPA, Lambic, Mead
Conditioning: Lambic, Cider, RIS, Ole Ale, Saison
On Tap: IPA, Helles, Best Bitter

willk

Quote from: molc on December 21, 2017, 01:57:37 pmI'd probably say it's more like the difference between extract and all grain myself. Both will make a fine end product but the purists want to control every aspect of the process.

Also I'd disagree that Davy is largely responsable for the quality of the end product; Brewing still has a lot to do with it. I've had some truly vile cider made from apples and pre bought juice over the years.

We're almost in agreement here - my point was really that good cider must come from good juice that has to come from "good" apples.  I'm living proof that it's easy to b@lls up good juice in the fermenting ;)  What I can't do is make good cider from bad juice - so I think I'm saying the main battle is fought in the Orchard and the final victory dance will be in the cidery.

Anyhoo - there's this lad down the valley grows barley and I was wondering....

irish_goat

Other big advantage a cider maker has is that they can blend batches. A lot harder for us to do that.

guest1906

Thank you Willk for the info and answering my questions. Also NO, smart-asses like Fishjam45 I just ignore as I have been making cider for three years and I have that equipment. It just happens that I have not seen and electric one, which could speed up my process and wondered what the device is called and see if I can buy one on the WISH app.

Of all the people I have met or come across on this site, some guys are decent and helpful which you and Molc have been. Then you get the smart-asses which I ignore and the guys I don't bother with who are here for their Egos.

I have no interest in making beer as I don't have the space in my apartment to do so.

Those who tell me that they don't have access to an orchard, I cringe. If your living in a city, town or village suburbia you are currently living in and orchard. There are plenty of gardens in suburbia that have apple/pear trees. Get to know your neighbours, if they get a good crop they be happy to share the apples with you. Most of my clients share their crop with me and if they're not my clients I knock on there door and ask if I could have some of there apples.

Molc I'll see yo in April when my sweet cider is ready to sample


guest1906

I too have made cider that is unfit for consumption, but is ideal for cooking with. And going to cook the ham tonight for Christmas dinner, once cooked leaving in the cider for 72 hours to soak up the juices to have a moist ham and have a hint of apple through the meat as you eat it on Christmas day.