Cider making has long been a traditional countryside craft, that involves years of experience to get the correct blend of apples for a great tasting cider
The production process for making real cider is simple, and has remained unchanged for centuries:
Select apples, press them, ferment slowly in barrels over the winter and by early summer you will have dry, still, refreshing real cider!
However, here is the basic simplified process that cider producers follow to make real cider:
Apples arrive from the orchards in October, they are washed (surface sterilsed) and sorted to remove rotten apples. All leaves, twigs and other orchard debris is removed to leave just the fruit that meets the standard.
Apples are then mashed, either mechanically using a scratter, or by hand – to create a pulp which is put into the cider press.
The cider press extracts the juice from the apples, which then goes directly into plastic fermentation barrels.
No yeast is added as it occurs naturally on the skin and in the flesh of the apple. The fermentation is a slow process due to the low temperatures over winter. However, early summer you can check whether the cider is ready by the following methods: clarity, taste and specific gravity (% ABV).
Larger producers also use these steps to make the cider taste great:
All Cider Makers rely on their own ability to taste the fermenting ciders to measure the fermentation process.
On a large scale, once fermented, the cider is transferred to a maturation vessel, usually a very large oak barrel where matured ciders from previous seasons are combined and blended as the cider maker completes the finished product.
Of course, you don’t need to be a farm producer to enjoy making real cider. You can do this at home with the basic equipment for cider making. The links below provide more information on how to get started.