Millstone Cobbler

Review of Millstone Cellar’s “Cobbler” variety.  This is the first cider I’ve tried from Millstone Cellars, the first highly rustic cider, and I believe my first East Coast craft cider.  Lots of firsts this time around.  I love the bottle design and color with this one!

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Cider:  Cobbler
Cidery:  Millstone Cellars
Cidery Location:  Monkton MD
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied:  750ml clear glass resealable bottle (wax covered top)

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Availability:  MD, VA, DC, DE, NY, WA, and soon to be CA

From Kyle Sherrer, Owner/Fermentologist at Millstone:

The Cider:  The Cobbler was 8 barrels of peach wine fermented and aged in bourbon barrels using wild yeast for the fermentation and aging for 6 months.  The cider was 22 barrels blended in after oak barrel aging in nuetral oak for 6 months and consisted of Goldrush and York Imperial varietals.  We then bottle conditioned the cider using house made unfermented ice cider.  The cider has characteristics of peach skin and a lactic soft cheese like quality as well as a hint of vanilla from the bourbon barrel.  Like all of our ciders it is dry has high acid and a moderate helping of funk.

The Cidery:  We are a cidery that focuses solely on rustic ciders and by that I mean we do all unfiltered, unsulfited, unpastuerized naturally dry ciders that are all wild yeast influenced.  All of our ciders are fermented single varietal and then we blend varietals after aging (generally 6-8 months) for the final ciders.  All of our ciders are fermented and aged in oak aging Sur Lie (on top of the lee’s) the entire time which helps round out the flavor profile and encourage a natural malolactic fermentation for all of our ciders.  Lastly we source all of our ingredients within 150 miles of our cidery.

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Price:  $17
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing cider stuff on the internet, then I saw a post on Schilling’s Facebook that they carried this one, so I looked for it at the Cider House.  I love the idea of a barrel aged peach cider.

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First Impression:  Cloudy lemonade yellow color.  Significant yeast sediment, especially stuck inside the bottom of the bottle.  Mild carbonation.  Yeasty citrus scent.

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Opinion:  Dry.  Overwhelmingly mouth-puckering farmhouse funky tangy sour tartness.  I only detect citrus, not peach.  Very very long finish (oddly enough I couldn’t eliminate the taste for hours).  High tannin thick mouthfeel.  Heavy bodied.  I couldn’t detect any barrel influence as the other qualities were a bit overwhelming to the palate for me.  I had three other taste-testers, and all four of us agreed it was unfortunately undrinkable.  I don’t mind a dry & funky cider, but the mouth-puckering astringent tang was intolerable.

I hadn’t been expecting this style of cider from the description on the bottle & their website (it only mentioned cask aged cider, bourbon barrel aged rustic peach wine, & farmhouse style).  However, after I purchased the bottle, from the reviews and the information the cidery gave me, I discovered this is supposed to be a funky cider style.  I think I got a bit too excited about barrel aged & peach and didn’t do enough detailed research before buying this cider.  Millstone utilized wild yeast fermentation, bottle conditioning, and kept the cider unfiltered, all of which appear to make very unique funky ciders.  Although I wasn’t expecting a sweet cider, with a name like Cobbler and the addition of peach wine, I was expecting some significant peach flavor, but none was detectable.

Most Similar to:  Nothing I’ve had!  Apparently this is comparable to Basque or Austrian Spanish ciders, but the couple I’ve tried weren’t this polarizing.

Closing Notes:  This cider was unfortunately a big disappointment.  I just don’t think this style of cider is my cup of tea.  Its probably a love it or hate it thing.  However, if you enjoy a funky high acidic tart rustic cider, you may like ciders from Millstone…they are definitely unique!  It seems that plenty of folks do enjoy their ciders (see UNTAPPD and RateBeer), just not me.

Have you tried Millstone Cobbler?  What did you think?