Finnriver Oak and Apple

Review of Finnriver’s Oak and Apple, an oak aged semi-dry cider.  Its been awhile since I tried this cider, and had only tried it on draft, so I was curious to give it another go.  I’ve previously tried many Finnriver ciders (see here).

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Cider:  Oak and Apple
Cidery:  Finnriver
Cidery Location:  Chimacum WA, near Port Townsend
ABV:  6.5%
Specific Gravity: 1.005
BRIX: 1.3
How Supplied:  500ml bottles and draft
Style:  American craft cider from Organic Washington dessert apple varieties, aged in rye whiskey barrels

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Availability:  In general, Finnriver ciders are sold in WA, OR, CA, AZ, NV, TX, IL, CO, and Alberta & BC Canada (detailed info here).  They also have an online store (which can ship to WA, OR, CA, AK, CO, MN, FL, & WA D.C.).  However, this cider might have slightly less availability than some of their more common ones.

Cider Description:  A foundation of bright citrus in this cider is layered with a smooth whiskey depth and spicy rye spirit. A fine, craft cider that showcases American oak, Northwest rye whiskey, and Washington organic apples. Woody astringency balances the acidity, and then finishes with lovely toasted oak and vanilla notes.

Fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures to capture the full ester profile of the apples. Once fermentation is complete, this cider is then aged for 12 to 16 weeks in rye whiskey barrels from High West Distillery in Park City, Utah. The oak gives the cider a liquid gold color. Sweetened with organic cane sugar.

This is part of their new Traditional line of ciders, along with Farmstead, Apple Abbey, and Sidra.

Cidery Description:  At Finnriver we gather and ferment the flavors of the land to offer you farmcrafted hard ciders and spirited fruit wines. We are inspired by the allure of the fruit, the ancient history of the craft of fermentation and the lively traditions we now seek to revive.  Our mission is to inspire a deeper connection to the land that sustains us….Some of these ciders are small-batch, seasonal and labor-intensive. Others are produced with contemporary methods and more readily available year-round…Finnriver grows over twenty varieties of traditional and heirloom apples in our organic orchard, to feature in our traditional and specialty ciders.

Price:  $10
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, acidic, and of oak with a hint of whiskey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied, very smooth.  Low tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of honey, lemon, oak, mineral, almond, and hints of whiskey & vanilla.  Moderate to long finish length, slightly warming.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Low barrel influence.  Low spirit influence.  Moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  However, this is on the mild and easy drinking side of oak aged ciders.  I’d love to see them do a special version of this barrel aged much much longer.  Side note – I had fun with this cider and tried some of it with a bit of my husband’s Peat Monster scotch, which oddly mellowed out the flavor even more.

Most Similar to:  Schilling Oak Aged, especially earlier versions of it (now discontinued).  Both ciders are mild and on the sessionable side for an oak aged cider.  Schilling’s was aged on oak chips, while Finnriver’s was aged in rye whiskey barrels.  I think Finnriver’s is better done however.

My favorite example of a heavily oak aged cider (and one of my favorite ciders ever and also an excellent value) is Sheppy’s Oak Matured.  An example of a great moderately oak aged cider is Liberty Ciderworks Stonewall.

Closing Notes:   I think this is a great cider.  It would be a good introduction to whiskey barrel aged cider, as it isn’t overly boozy, harsh, dry, etc.  Finnriver continues to not disappoint.

Have you tried Finnriver Oak and Apple?  What did you think?

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