All posts tagged: making cider

Cider making goes back centuries, to 1204 AD to be precise (more in Cider History).

From Roman, to Victorian times when many orchards were planted in and around farm estates. Many cider makers look for ways to supplement the income from their tennanted farming. This was the case for Henry Weston in the village of Much Marcle, Herefordshire in 1878. Henry started using his own farm orchards fruit to make cider and perry, quickly gaining customers and building a reputation for quality, which ensure modest yet steady growth.

The efforts and teachings are invaluable to all they passed their skills and knowledge on to. Ensuring that cider quality and the essence of the core principles and heritage remain. For example, the skill of creating ciders using blends of bittersweet and bittersharp cider apples (more in cider apple varieties), rather than a single variety. Believing that it’s the blend of apples that gives a cider its distinctive taste when compared to others made in different parts of the UK.

Nothing much has changed in the way in which real cider is made today: you take the apples, press them, extract the juice, ferment it, then let it settle to allow it to run clear (more in how is cider made?).

So much of the flavour depends on the distinctive taste of cider products through blending apple varieties, much in the same way chefs will blend their ingredients.

It’s also a craft which can’t be rushed, and the careful fermentation and conditioning is what makes ciders so unique in the current drinks market. The apple juices once pressed are blended and allowed to develop a deep flavour where they can ferment together in oak casks which not only impart flavour, but also their full character:

  • the balance of sugars – dryness, sweetness
  • tannin levels – the colour, golden, light, dark
  • acidities levels

This approach helps to explain the popularity of cider from old to recent times. The Real Cider web site is proud to be  supporting real cider and championing the founders of cider making who have successfully passed on their skills to their grandchildren, like Westons.

Here is a list of the basic equipment for Cider Making, you can get these items from any good home-brew shop or even ebay for a job lot.

  • Sterilising and cleaning: Sodium metabisulphite and nylon long handled bottle brush
  • Washing: Plastic tub or dustbin – to wash apples
  • Scratting: Sturdy plastic bucket and timber for crushing apples
  • Pressing: Cider press with medium mesh nylon bag
  • Fermentation: 1 gallon demijohns or 5 gallon plastic vessels
  • Fermentation: Fermentation locks, ‘bubbler’ type
  • Fermentation: Hydrometer
  • Racking off: 2 metre clear plastic tubing