Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented

Review of Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented cider.  A wild fermented (wild yeast) cider uses the yeast naturally present on the apples and in the environment, in contrast to most ciders which destroy any natural yeast and add their own known strain.  A wild fermented cider is typically more unpredictable and difficult to make than typical ciders.  I’ve also tried Dragon’s Head Traditional cider, and also have a bottle of their Kingston Black cider in my collection.

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Cider:  Wild Fermented
Cidery:  Dragon’s Head
Cidery Location:  Vashon Island WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round in WA and OR.  See their list of locations.

Cider Description:  This is the Dragon’s Head Cider version of a farmhouse cider. Rather than carefully selecting a yeast strain for the fermentation, we allowed the wild yeast present on the skin of the apples to ferment the cider. It’s a bit of a fun gamble, but one we believe is worth taking.

Cidery Description:  From apple to bottle, all right here on our farm.  At Dragon’s Head Cider, we take a traditional approach to cider making. Our focus is on the apple varieties that we use and the quality of the fruit. We love the story that apples alone can tell through cider, altering the flavor by changing the blend of apple varieties that we carefully select. The process is simple and the ingredients list is short. Perhaps we’re a little old fashioned.

Dragon’s Head has a tasting room.

Price:  ~$15
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Slightly hazy pale straw yellow.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of sour citrus, acidity, funk, yeast, and honey.

Opinion:  I perceived it as completely dry, but it has 7 grams  of sugar per liter. Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild sourness and funk.  No bitterness.  Moderate length finish.  Light bodied and crisp.  Honey, citrus, pear, oak, yeast, earthy, and slightly herbal & floral notes.  The flavors remain rather mild yet complex.  Best enjoyed chilled.

Most Similar to:  Wild fermented ciders, Sidra, sour ciders, Farmhouse-style ciders, etc.  This very much reminded me of WildCraft ciders, especially the Pioneer Perry for some reason, probably as I had this the day after trying the Pioneer Perry.

Closing Notes:   I wasn’t really a fan.  Since buying this I’ve found that I’m not a fan of ciders of this style, so knowing what I now know, I wouldn’t have bought it.  Its still always nice to try new ciders though, and I was able to share it with a friend who liked it a bit more than I did.  I’d suggest this for folks who don’t mind this style of cider–dry, sour, and funky.  Its definitely unique and well-crafted.

Have you tried any ciders from Dragon’s Head?  What did you think?

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