New Page At Cider Says – Review Terminology

A new page is now up here at Cider Says, Review Terminology, which defines the various terms I use in reviews.  On a more general note, Cider Tasting Terminology 101 defines some common cider tasting vocabulary.

Also check out the other pages on this blog:

About is about this blog and myself.

Ciders I’ve Tried is an ongoing list of ciders I’ve tried, including links to those with reviews.  This list has proved helpful several times when I couldn’t remember if I had tried a cider.

Cider Wish List is an ongoing list of ciders I want to find and try.

Hard Cider Info is a page covering some general information about cider.

FlavorActiV Cider Sensory Kit Series One

This is a unique review…not of a cider, but of FlavorActiV’s Cider Sensory Kit Series One.  Kits like this are used in cider sensory analysis classes (such as at CiderCon – see this great post at Along Came a Cider, or for cider certification courses such as USACM CCP or NACM), at cideries for cidermaker education, for judge preparation at a cider competition, etc.  It enables the taster to identify the scent and flavor of specific individual compounds (typically faults) which may occur in cider.  I heard about it through CiderGuide, and was intrigued enough to contact the company.

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About: This kit was developed specifically for the cider industry in conjunction with one of their global beer/cider customers.  They are currently developing a Series Two kit, and are interested to get industry feedback on it.  They will also soon launch an open cider taster proficiency scheme (see here for more information) so that cider producers can regularly train and test themselves.  FlavorActiV offers over 125 flavor standards, including kits for beer, wine, and coffee.  Here is info on the individual cider flavor standards they sell in addition to this kit of 10 standards.

>>This is a review of a sample kit provided to Cider Says by FlavorActiV.  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 review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Samples included: Sour, Musty, Earthy, Barnyard, Phenolic, Acetaldehyde (Acetal), Sulphitic, Indole, Metallic, Mercaptan

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Cost: 120 pounds ($170 USD), with free worldwide shipping.  Note that one kit makes approximately 1.2 liters (40.6 oz) of each sample, and a 100 ml (3.4 oz) sample is recommended for each taster, so one kit is recommended for 12 tasters (and can probably be used for even more with smaller sample sizes).

How to order: Through their website or by e-mailing cider@flavoractiv.com.  For more information, to provide feedback, or to purchase, their e-mail is cider@flavoractiv.com.  I received this within a few days even though it traveled from the UK to Seattle WA USA.

Packaging: Bubble mailer, with the samples in capsules individually packaged in a booklet, padded with cardboard so they couldn’t be crushed.

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In the box:

  • 10 capsules in a booklet, labeled by type, with descriptions
  • Instructions
  • Flavour Wheel of tastes and odors
  • Handout of the 20 year history of FlavorActiV Flavor Standards
  • Brochure on their technical taste panel training and management products

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Instructions:

  • Empty the powder in each capsule into 200 ml (6.8 oz) of cider, then swirl the container to release the flavor.
  • Top off the container with 1 liter (33.8 oz) of cider to reach the recommended tasting concentration.
  • Pour a 100ml (3.4 oz) sample for each taster.
  • (Therefore as-directed, you would need 12 liters of cider to mix the powder into, but it would be for 12 people.)

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Supplies I used:

  • three 12oz cans of cider
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) measuring cup (x2)
  • 11 tasting glasses which held at least 4oz (one for each sample plus a control)
  • butter knife to stir with
  • index cards
  • pencil

My experience:

  • I purchased 2 Towns OutCider, which I consider to be fairly neutral, and is cost effective as it comes in a multi pack (plus I like it).  Oddly enough I didn’t have any suitable cider in the house as the only ciders I had more than 1 bottle/can of were flavored.
  • To use less cider, I ratioed down the powder to make a smaller sample size, as it was just me.
  • I ended up emptying out each capsule onto an index card, taking a pinch of the powder and putting it into a glass (estimating 1/12), then adding 100ml of cider.
    • It worked out fairly well, and I could add cider or add powder to change the ratio if needed.  I ended up only adding more powder, not cider.
  • Of the 10 capsules, one was difficult to open so I cut it open and one had a bit of powder left in it (slight bit of moisture).  Overall they were fairly easy to use.
  • I used all the tasting glasses I had in the house.  I think small clear plastic disposable cups would be ideal, especially for a group, as ideally you want to prepare all the samples at once, instead of one by one.  The instructions call for a pitcher to mix it in, but the way I did it, I didn’t need one.  I found the powder easily dissolved, so I didn’t really need to add a bit of cider, stir, then add more, like they recommended.
  • The recommended 100ml was a good sample size when doing it individually as it was enough to stir.  For a group when mixing it in a pitcher, an even smaller sample size could probably be used.  I only had a couple sips of most of them as the only flavor I actually enjoyed was sour (this is a learning exercise, not a pleasant tasting experience).

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<I labeled each index card>

The samples:

  • Control (2 Towns OutCider): Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Slightly cloudy as it is less filtered than most ciders.  Smells mild, of only apples.  Low to moderate tartness & acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  I think this was a fairly good choice for a neutral cider (their Bright Cider would have probably been even better, but I like Out Cider much more).  As a bonus I have 3 cans of cider left.
  • Sour: Scent unchanged.  Flavor change was citric acid tartness, not a true “sourness” like sour beer.
  • Musty: Scent impacted.  Flavor was muted and the musty effect lingered on the palate.  Tasted like an antique shop.
  • Earthy: Scent greatly impacted, and it smelled exactly like fresh dirt.  Flavor wasn’t as impacted as smell.  This was a negative type of earthiness, not the pleasant type which I’ve found in some ciders with significant tannins.
  • Barnyard: Scent moderately impacted; it smelled of dirt plus “wild”.  Taste slightly impacted, mostly in the finish.
  • Phenolic: Scent slightly impacted.  I didn’t taste anything, so I added more powder.  Then I got some citrus scent and a slightly herbal & floral flavor.  Overall I found it very mild, even when I tripled the amount of powder.
  • Acetaldehyde (Acetal): Scent impacted, smelling of chemicals like paint.  Flavor impacted, and it overall just tasted “off”.  Really difficult to describe.
  • Sulphitic: Scent not impacted.  Slight sulfur flavor and flatness.  I added more powder and it became more of a chemical flavor.
  • Indole: Scent and flavor not impacted, so I added more powder.  I only smelled and tasted a bit of floral.  Overall very mild.
  • Metallic: Scent not impacted.  I didn’t taste anything either, so I added more powder.  Then I picked up a flatness and dulling of the flavor.  Overall very mild.
  • Mercaptan: Scent very strongly impacted, of sulphur.  Disgusting strong sulphur sewer type flavor.

My comments:

  • This is great for a large group/class, but the kit isn’t sized for one person.  I would have needed 12 liters of cider to make as directed.  However, it was definitely doable to scale it down without too much effort.  The powder to cider ratio doesn’t need to be exact, and it can be adjusted with more powder or cider if necessary.
    • In fact, I liked having extra powder left as there were a few samples I couldn’t detect, so I was able to keep adding powder until I tasted them.
    • I think the only easier way to do it would be to have the samples as drops, but I’m not sure if that is a stable way to store them.
  • Some other samples I would have liked to see, which I assume may be included in Series 2 (and some of which they currently offer individually):
    • Diacetyl, a buttery off-flavor formed by yeast; its something I’ve thought I’ve tasted a couple times, but wasn’t sure about
    • True sour, like sour beer, often from wild fermentation…very different from tart
    • Acetic, a vinegar-like flavor often found in Spanish cider
  • Sensory analysis such as this is really helpful to help you detect certain scents and flavors in cider, much more than just a description of that scent/flavor.  Everyone experiences these differently too (for example, with a few samples I barely detected anything)

In closing: I’m glad I got the opportunity to test out this kit.  I haven’t yet attended a cider sensory course, so this was a great introduction!  It was educational, easy to use, well-packaged, and a good value when using it for a group.  I look forward to seeing what else they come out with (such as the Series Two kit).

I should note that other companies make flavor standards which I haven’t tried/compared to FlavorActiV.  However, the only other company I found online which seemed to have samples geared specifically for cider was Aroxa.

Book Review #7, Cider Made Simple by Jeff Alworth

For the seventh book review here at Cider Says (see here for the first six):  “Cider Made Simple – All About Your New Favorite Drink”, by Jeff Alworth with illustrations by Lydia Nichols, published September 2015, with a suggested price of $19.95 ($13.28 on Amazon).  Jeff Alworth is best known for his writings on beer (online and in print), and lives in Portland Oregon.  For this book he traveled to France, England, Spain, Canada, and around the United States for interviews.

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I suggested that my local library add this book to their collection, and they bought it for me to borrow!  I think libraries are great to check out a book to see if you may want to purchase it.  And, this is one I think I do want my own copy of (same with World’s Best Ciders, which is an awesome coffee table book on cider).  In fact, Cider Made Simple is my favorite general cider book so far.  Unlike most books on cider, it doesn’t have a cider-making focus, so its great for a cider drinking enthusiast who doesn’t necessarily have an interest in making cider.  While a quick read, I also found it quite detailed, and learned a lot new information.

Chapters:

Cider Basics: Don’t Call It Hard (info on cider apples, tasting, properties, regions, and types)

A is for Apple (history, growing, and orchards)

Sweating, Grinding, and Fermenting (cider apple types, back-sweetening, flavor enhancers, and how its made)

Proper English Cider (traditions, industrialization, small farms, producers)

Cider Under Cork (French cider, terroir, producers, and Calvados & Pommeau)

Breaking the Cider (Spanish cider, characteristics, producers, throwing the cider, sourness, and regions)

The American Cider Renaissance (Farnum Hill, EZ Orchards, Reverend Nat’s, and traditionalists vs. modernists vs. experimentalists)

Winter Harvest in Quebec (ice cider)

The writing style was spot-on, the book was well-organized, and the language was easy to understand.  I think anyone from a cider newbie to someone with a bit more experience would get something from this book.  It filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge.  I liked that it didn’t go as much into the history of cider, but into other details that aren’t covered in many other books (or at least not in this way).  There wasn’t really a single portion of the book I didn’t enjoy or think wasn’t helpful.

I especially enjoyed the portions on cider tasting, and all his stories from his travels to visit different cideries and cider regions around the world (I’m jealous!).  I was a bit apprehensive learning the author mostly had beer experience, but it wasn’t apparent.  My only complaint is the cover shows a glass of beer, not cider…note all the foam and the hue (oops).  Highly recommended!

Book Review #6, Craft Cider – How to Turn Apples into Alcohol

For the sixth book review here at Cider Says (see here for the first five):  “Craft Cider – How to Turn Apples Into Alcohol”, by Jeff Smith, published September 2015, with a suggested price of $17.95.  Jeff Smith is the one who started Bushwhacker Cider in Portland OR, a cider bar and cidery.  I suggested that my local library add this book to their collection, and they bought it for me to borrow!  I think libraries are great to check out a book to see if you may want to purchase it.

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I always like reading about cider, and this was a nice quick weekend vacation read.

This book includes the following Chapters:

  • The World of Cider (the cider industry & some cider history)
  • Styles of Cider (English, Spanish, French, American, German, Irish, Scandinavian, Ice, & Pommeau)
  • Sourcing Fruit and Juice (Farmer’s Markets, Local Orchards, Grocery Stores, Juice, Neighbors, What Makes a Cider Apple Different?, and Apple Varieties)
  • A Cider Maker’s Necessary Equipment (Fermentation Vessel, Sourcing and Using Wood Barrels, Hydrometer, Wine Thief, Thermometer, pH Meter and pH Strips, Airlocks and Bungs, Cleaning Chemicals, Sanitizer, Siphons, Bottling Equipment, Kegging Equipment, More About Kegging)
  • Step by Step (process of making cider)
  • So You Want to Press Your Own Apples? (Presses, Basic Overview)
  • Recipes (Basic Dry, Bushwhacker Smoked, New England Style, Lingonberry, Local Cyser, Scrumpy, Cherry, Ginger, Pear Cider and Perry, Dry Oaked, Spanish-Style, Cranberry, High Gravity, Bushwhacker Italian Plum, Spiced, Sweet, Bushwhacker Alice, Forgotten Trail)
  • How to Taste Cider (Tasting at Home, Setting up a Tasting, Cellaring Ciders, Terms)
  • Cooking with Cider (Bushwhacker Cider Vinaigrette, Apple Coleslaw, Pulled Pork Butt, Cider House Fondue)
  • Cider Cocktails (Pommeau Manhattan, Bushwhacker G&T, Apply Brandy “Cide-Car”, Cherry 88, Cider Mule, Forgetful Rob, Basque-Tini, Cider Dark & Stormy, Cider Julep, Apple Cosmo, Big Apple Iced Tea)
  • Resources (Blogs, Organizations, Events, Country-Specific Cider Terms, Cider-Making Terms)

My favorite parts were those which were unique to this book, such as about using wood barrels, pros & cons of kegging, and cellaring cider.

Overall this book isn’t a bad choice for a newbie to cider, especially one who wants to get into making their own cider, but for others like me, they may not get much out of it.  I also didn’t like how often the book mentioned the author’s cider bar & cidery, Bushwhacker (it literally seemed like almost every page), and its language was almost too informal (didn’t seem like it had much editing).  I’m glad I got to get it from the library, but its not something I see the need to buy for my own collection.

Craft vs. Commercial Cider – What Are The Differences?

Do you know the difference between craft and commercial cider?  The subject is open to interpretation, but here is what I think.

Commercial Cider:

  • Made in large batches
  • May use apple juice concentrate (which needs to be watered down to be re-constituted), which is often imported
  • May add additional sweeteners to aid in fermentation
    • As it is assumed that any added sugars will be fully fermented, companies need only call the finished product “hard cider” on the ingredient list, without mention of what they use, which could even include HFCS
    • It has been confirmed that Angry Orchard uses HFCS, but it is unclear whether many other large cideries use it
      • Statement from Angry Orchard, 11/12/2015, correcting the info from 2012:  “There is no HFCS in Angry Orchard ciders. The main ingredients in our ciders are bittersweet and culinary apple juices, and we choose which apple varieties based on the specific flavor profile we’re looking for. Sometimes that means that we need to add a little sweetness back into the cider to achieve the balanced taste we’re looking for. We do that by adding things like non-fermented apple juice, cane sugar and honey.”
      • Additional information from Angry Orchard, 11/16/2015: “To answer your question, we started changing our recipes in 2014 to use cane sugar instead, as we’ve found it does a better job of achieving the flavor profile and balanced sweetness we’re looking for. All our cider recipes were transitioned earlier this year.”
  • May add artificial colors & flavors
  • Will have more consistency batch-to-batch
  • Often shipped long distances to consumers
  • Often made by big beer companies which have a large advertising budget

Craft Cider:

  • Made in smaller batches
  • Uses fresh-pressed apple juice
  • Minimizes the use of sugar as a fermentation aid, and if used, it is table sugar
  • Does not use any additives (besides yeast, sorbates, any spices/hops/juice, etc)
  • May be inconsistent batch-to-batch
  • Often only available locally/regionally
  • Typically does not have a significant advertising budget

Some cider folks believe that craft cider may have another sub-category, Artisan, which could be defined by cideries using apples they grow in their own orchards.  Many craft cider companies don’t have their own orchards, and either buy apples to press themselves or buy the juice.

On this note, I thought I would point out that there are some “ciders” on the market which aren’t actually cider at all…in that they aren’t even made from fermented apple juice!  They instead rely on water, juice, sugar, and flavoring, and should be considered “Alcopop”, not cider.  For example, Rekorderlig and Kopparberg.

Although I am quite pro-craft cider, I’m not particularly anti-commercial cider.  I think commercial cider is a gateway to craft cider, and is definitely more widely available for a lot of folks in areas without craft cider.  I will drink commercial cider; sometimes I just want something sweeter, easy drinking, and affordable (I haven’t found too many entry level craft ciders I like)  Woodchuck for example will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first cider I tried, and I was one of the winners of their 2014 contest to attend Ciderbration, celebrating the opening of their new cidery.  That said, I try to support craft cider as I believe in its ideals.  I wish there were better commercial cider options out there that didn’t add all the artificial stuff.

I think the main point I’m trying to make with this writeup is that its important for consumers to know what goes into what they are drinking.  I hope better labeling is required sometime soon, as currently it is difficult to know what really went into what we are drinking.

References:
Compass Cider – What Exactly is Craft Cider
Cider Journal – American Hard Cider and the Meaning of “CRAFT”
ATLAS – Hard Cider History
Ciderplex – Rekorderlig and Kopparberg Are NOT Cider
Pete Brown’s Blog – Alcopop: The Drink That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Where Did My Cider Come From? (Major Cider Regions in the United States)

Lately I’ve been curious to learn more about the major cider regions in the U.S.  The Pacific Northwest (WA & OR), NY, and MI (Great Lakes / Finger Lakes) come to mind.  I was also surprised to learn that CA is a major cider producer, and PA is a major apple producer.

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Apples are grown commercially in 32/50 states in the U.S.  It all started on the East Coast in colonial times.  The top ten apple producing states in the U.S. are WA, NY, MI, PA, CA, VA, NC, OR, OH, and ID.

Here is some information about the top five apple producing states:

Washington – Apples primarily grown in the Yakima valley, while the majority of the cideries are in the greater Seattle area.

New York – Apples grown primarily in the Hudson and Champlain valleys, while many of the cideries are in the Hudson valley.

Michigan – Apples grown primarily in the Northwest corner of the Northern Lower Peninsula and the lower half of the state, same as the cideries.

Pennsylvania – Apples grown throughout the state, but comparatively there are few cideries.

California – Apples primarily grown in the San Joaquin Valley, while many of the cideries in contrast are in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

When it comes to which state has the most cideries, the statistics get a bit murky.  However, its pretty clear the top five in some order are NY, WA, OR, MI, and CA.  The stats are further complicated as some wineries, breweries, and even meaderies make cider.

Here are examples of some well-known craft cideries in each of those states:

New York – Eve’s, Aaron Burr, Bad Seed, Bellwhether, Nine Pin, Slyboro

Washington – Finnriver, Snowdrift, Tieton, Alpenfire, Whitewood, Westcott Bay, Dragon’s Head

Oregon – E.Z. Orchards, 2 Towns, Reverend Nat’s, Blue Mountain, Wandering Aengus

Michigan – Virtue, J.K.’s Scrumpy, Uncle John’s, Tandem, Vander Mill

California – Sonoma Cider, Tilted Shed, Julian Hard Cider

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Thats not to say cider isn’t available from cideries in other states.  Many have numerous cideries.  PA, CO, VT, NC, MA, NH, and VA come to mind.  Its also difficult to look at it by state as the populations & landmasses vary so much.  However, demand for cider is definitely skyrocketing, and new cideries are opening every week.  Cider grew 70% each of the last two years!

Cydermarket is a very cool website with a directory of cideries by state.

Sources:
World’s Best Ciders book (Bill Bradshaw & Pete Brown)
http://ciderjournal.com/top-five-cider-producing-states-u-s/
http://www.ciderguide.com/cider-maps/united-states/
https://cydermarket.com
http://www.usapple.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=179&Itemid=285
http://growlermag.com/cider2015/
http://www.statista.com/statistics/300851/us-number-of-cider-manufacturers-by-state/
http://www.orangepippin.com/orchards/united-states

Book Review #5, Apples to Cider – How to Make Cider at Home

For the fifth book review here at Cider Says (see here for the first four):  “Apples to Cider – How to Make Cider at Home”, by April White, with Stephen Wood of Farnum Hill Ciders, published February 2015.  It is currently $18.72 on Amazon.

This is a review of a book provided to Cider Says by Farnum Hill Ciders.  Thanks Farnum Hill!  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 review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.

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<front & back covers; click to biggify>

Unlike some of the other books in the earlier four part series of books from my library, I read this one cover to cover.  It was a fairly quick read, and I was lucky enough to be on an airplane, so I read it in one sitting.  It was written by April White (not associated with Farnum Hill), but it appears she spent extensive time with the Farnum Hill folks, and there are some subsections written by Steve Wood from Farnum Hill.

Although the main focus of this book is presenting a cider making method for amateur home cidermakers to follow, there is a great amount of information which would appear to anyone who has an interest in cider.  I especially liked some of the history of Farnum Hill Cider / Poverty Lane Orchards, cider styles & regions, cidermaking methods, extensive cider apple variety descriptions, and the terminology & glossary sections.  They also included some information on the cidermaking methods used at Eden Ice Cider (Ice Cider, VT), E.Z. Orchards (French Cidre, OR), and Eve’s Cidery (Methode Champenoise, NY) in addition to Farnum Hill (NH).

Pros:

  • Very well laid out and easy to read.
  • Lots of beautiful and helpful photos!
  • Although I didn’t test out the cidermaking instructions, they were very clear, including specific equipment lists, timelines, methods, measurements, etc, in a way I haven’t noticed in the other cidermaking books I’ve seen.

Cons:

  • They used some terminology without defining it.  After a bit I realized there was a glossary, so that would mostly solve that issue for the true beginner cider reader.
    • The only term I don’t think was very well defined is tannin, which can be difficult to describe and understand.  They only defined it as “A substance present in apples that provides the structure, astringency, and bitterness in cider.”  Maybe there was some assumption of a wine background?  I think information such that they contribute to bitterness and astringency, can cause a mouth-puckering taste, and in excess can dry the mouth, would be helpful.
  • The book left me wanting more (which could also be a good thing)

Chapters:

Introduction (including Farnum Hill Ciders Story and Farnum Hill Ciders Philosophy)

What is Cider? (including History, Perry, Science, Styles, Methods, Tastes, Terms, Trends, and Farnum Hill Ciders Style)

Tasting Cider (including Preparing, Process, Resetting Sense of Smell, Training Your Nose, Vocabulary, Defining What You Like, and Other People’s Cider)

Starting with Apples (including In The Orchard, The Apple, A Sampling of Apples, Turning Apples into Juice, Sources for Juice, and An Apple Grower and His Apple Trees)

Your Cider Room (including Where to Make Cider, Equipment, Ingredients, Best Practices for Sanitation, and A Commercial Cider Room)

Your First Batch of Cider (including Adding Sulfur Dioxide, Testing, Pitching the Yeast, Waiting, Moving the Carboy, Adding the Bored Bung, Adding the Airlock, Feeding the Yeast, Waiting, Testing, Racking, Tasting, Maturing, Bottling, and Our First Ciders)

Your Second Batch of Cider (including Excess Hydrogen Sulfide, Unintended Malolactic Fermentation, Acetic Fermentation, Other Potential Flaws, I Don’t Love It, and Don’t Fear the Stink)

Your Third Batch of Cider and Beyond (including Blending, Carbonation, Returning Sugar, Methode Champenoise, Cidre (French), Ice Cider, and Respecting the Apple)

Conclusion, Glossary, Resources, The People Behind Farnum Hill Ciders, About April White, Photographer Credits, Acknowledgements, Index

Some Quotes of Interest:

  • When blended and fermented, the most celebrated cider apples — often called inedible — reveal flavors such as apricot, black tea, honey, and pine.
  • A cidermaker’s responsibility is to coax the best from the fruit without unnecessary additives or techniques that would obscure the apple.
  • Cider, like wine, is an agricultural product and each batch you make will be unique.
  • The sugar is the food for the yeast, which will convert it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
  • A cidermaker’s choice of apples has the biggest impact on the cider produced.
  • A geographic style develops over decades, or perhaps centuries, as cidermakers in a specific region, working with similar types of apples grown in similar conditions learn from and influence each other.
  • You can learn the most from your cider tasting if you develop a procedure and a vocabulary for tasting that controls as many variables as possible and allows for consistent and objective evaluation of each batch of cider.
  • And don’t taste with food, which will change your perception of smell, taste, and sensation.
  • The ideal tasting temperature is about 60 deg F…the aromas, tastes, and sensations of a cider are stronger and any flaws are more noticeable,
  • The tongue can only perceive acid, bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and savory flavors.  Your sense of “taste” is truly your nose at work again, perceiving the changing aromas of a food in your mouth.
  • Tasting is really noting more than an effort to objectify characteristics that are essentially subjective.
  • During the fermentation process, the carbon dioxide produced by the yeast forms a protective layer over the developing cider, preventing the cider from coming into contact with oxygen.
  • Typically, over time, the tannins in the cider round out, becoming less astringent, and acids soften, becoming less harsh.
  • There’s one piece of advice every would be cidermaker needs:  It’s all about the apple.

In summary, it is a well-written book which is a great addition to anyone’s cider library.  I’d recommend it for folks interested in making their own cider at home as well as those who just want further information on cider, how it is made, cider apples, cider styles/regions/methods, Farnum Hill Ciders, etc.

About half of the book was specific to cidermaking, but I even found that interesting despite no current plans to get into cidermaking.  In case you are curious, I don’t want to put a lot of effort into something and be disappointed, I don’t like to start something without the time to truly devote myself to it (I tend to get a bit obsessive so everything else gets ignored), and there is so much awesome cider in my area that is ready to drink already!