All posts tagged: cider production

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:

Preparation

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.

Pulping

Apples are then mashed, either mechanically using a scratter, or by hand – to create a pulp which is put into the cider press.

Pressing

The cider press extracts the juice from the apples, which then goes directly into plastic fermentation barrels.

Fermentation:

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:

Assessing

All Cider Makers rely on their own ability to taste the fermenting ciders to measure the fermentation process.

Blending

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.

Further links

Recommended Reading about Cider making and enjoying everything related to apples.

Golden Fire: The Story of Cider Until now no one has attempted to unravel the many myths, legends, and misconceptions that surround its origins and development to present a factual narrative history.

Is cider, as legend has it, the oldest alcoholic drink of them all, or is it in fact a comparatively recent introduction? Did it come to Britain with the Celts, the Romans, or the Normans? Were medieval babies really baptised in it?

Golden Fire: The Story of Cider takes a long, cool, refreshing look at the evolution of one of Britain’s favourite beverages and answers all those questions.


A Somerset Pomona: The Cider Apples of Somerset A book on Somerset apples with colour photos of all 80 varieties still grown in Somerset today.

There are drawings of every apple, showing size and shape, together with descriptive notes on their origns for cider making.

80 pages paperback.


Real Cider Making on a Small Scale A comprehensive and practical cider making book for the small scale producer.

The authors combine years of experience and expertise to produce clear and accessible text.

136 pages paperback.


Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider An American book of interest to all cider and apple juice makers.

Includes chapters on making cider, apple varieties, vinegar and brandy.

200 page paperback.


Cider: The Forgotten Miracle A witty and energetic investigation into the history of farmhouse cider.

The story set against the backdrop of 17th and 18th Century England is told by poet James Crowden with humour and clarity.

119 pages paperback.


Growing Fruit (Royal Horticultural Society’s Encyclopaedia of Practical Gardening) An excellent comprehensive guide to all the key techniques for the successful growing of soft, tree and warm temperature fruits from apples and strawberries to nuts and currants.

Includes over 320 easy to follow step-by-step drawings to guide you through a wide range of essential gardening projects.


CAMRA’s Good Cider Guide Have some fun hunting out some of these cider outlets!

For a simple guide it’s really well presented, the layout is very clean and easy to use.

There are a couple of features on the heritage and production of cider, in this book that break up the guide book element and make it a genuinely good read.


Cider This book showcases the best of the British craft cider revolution.

With features on some of the characters involved in cider – and perry-making and articles on the history of cider and perry, noteworthy cider pubs, making your own cider, cooking with cider, cider’s place in British folklore and foreign ciders.

Recommended.


Common Ground Book of Orchards: Community, Conservation and Culture An inspiring and informative large book format exploring how orchards continue to shape local culture from custom to kitchen.

Includes 50 specially commissioned photographs.

222 page paperback.


Craft Cider Making book coverCraft Cider Making – This book is for anyone who wants to grow and to make good cider, apple juice or even cider vinegar.

Whether you have a back garden with a couple of apple trees, several acres of orchard deep in the countryside, or you’re just ‘scrumping’ apples from friends and neighbours every autumn, this book is for you.