Number 12 Black Currant Dry

Review of Number 12 Ciderhouse’s Black Currant Dry.  I tried their Chestnut Semi-Dry and Sparkling Dry earlier this week.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Number 12.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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Cider:  Black Currant Dry
Cidery:  Number 12 Ciderhouse
Cidery Location:  Buffalo, Minnesota
ABV:  7.4%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from Minnesota apples, with black currant

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Availability:  Number 12 ciders are sold in these locations in Minnesota.

Cider Description:  Number 12 Black Currant Dry begins with aromatic notes of jam and rich black currant followed by a crisp, dry cider finish. Once considered the “forbidden fruit” due to a 100 year ban, the black currant is now experiencing a resurgence in America’s conscience. It pairs beautifully with locally grown apples by providing a tannic structure needed for depth and complexity. This is the cider that will change your perspective.

I didn’t know that black currant was actually banned–wow!  I read up a bit more, and learned they were thought to help spread a fungus that threatened the timber industry, so black and red currants were federally banned in 1911.  By 1966, disease-resistant varieties were developed, and the government left it up to the states as to whether to keep them banned.  Although most states eventually lifted the ban (some quite recently), black and red currant is still banned in some states.

Cidery Description:  Balance is everything . . . In life, and in great ciders.  Number 12 is no different.  We are continuously experimenting to achieve a perfect balance.  Number 12 gets its namesake from the 12th recipe developed in 2011.  It became our first award winner and the beginning of our recognition from the cider community.  Since then, it has become more of a concept, our ideal if you will.  Number 12 represents the idea that greatness in cider is out there somewhere . . . To strive for, to create, to perfect!

They have a tap room in Buffalo Minnesota.

Price:  n/a (retails for $11)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Deep purple-red hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of sour black currant and cherry.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate astringency.  Low bitterness and funk.  Low to moderate sourness.  Notes of black currant, cherry, red wine, blackberry, lemon, mineral, and sharp crabapples.  Moderate length finish.  No apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity, complexity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked the jam-like black currant flavor, but it was a bit too sour, dry, and acidic for my personal tastes.  However, it is well-made and unique.  It had a lot of black currant flavor for how dry it is.

Most Similar to:  Virtue Cider Cherry Mitten.  I found Black Currant Dry to have almost as much cherry flavor as black currant.  Black currant is a popular flavor addition for cider (especially here in the PNW), and I’ve tried a number of them, although none that were of this style (they have all been sweeter and tart but not sour): 2 Towns Dark Currant, Finnriver Black Currant & Lavender Black Currant & Oak Aged Crew Selection Black Currant & Black Currant Brandywine, Carlton Black Currant Scrumpy, Moonlight Meadery Crimes of Passion, and Reverend Nat’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant.

Closing Notes:   To be honest, I didn’t really care for any of the three ciders I tried from Number 12, although the Chestnut Semi-Dry was probably my favorite (and the most approachable).  However, fans of dry farmhouse-style ciders with a bit of sourness & funk likely will enjoy them.  Everyone doesn’t like every cider, and there are styles which appeal to each person.  They are a great value too, at $11-$13 for a 750ml bottle.  Side note – Number 12 uses malolactic fermentation in their secondary fermentation stage (see here), which converts lactic acid to carbon dioxide, reducing acid and smoothing out the flavor, but this process also adds a bit of sourness.  Many people really enjoy that flavor in their cider (or beer or wine), but some like me haven’t yet acquired the taste for it.

Have you tried Number 12 Ciders?  What did you think?

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