Moonlight Meadery Thirteen 5

Review of Moonlight Meadery’s Thirteen 5.  This appears to be their ‘How Do You Like Them Apples’ with a new name, plus apparently it is now aged in new oak instead of whiskey barrels.  I assume Thirteen 5 refers to this being 13.5% ABV.  The name change is likely to differentiate it from their ‘How Do You Like Them Little Apples’, which is a lower ABV cider (instead of a higher ABV cyser like this).

I have previously tried How Do You Like Them Apples (canned), How Do You Like Them Little Apples (canned), and How Do You Like Them Little Apples (draft).  I’ve also tried a few other beverages from Moonlight Meadery:  Boys N BerriesLast Apple, and Crimes of Passion

Cider:  Thirteen 5
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry NH
ABV:  13.5%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft cyser (made from apple juice & honey), with brown sugar, barrel aged

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Availability:  Semi wide release, in the U.S., since January 2018.  In general Moonlight products are available in at least AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA, WA D.C., and WI, and Australia, China, and Japan.  They also have an online store.

Cider Description:  A New England Hard Cider, made from freshly pressed apple cider with a bit of natural sugar used to help reach the impressive strength, then we let it age in hand made American Foeders.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class meadery and cidery from Londonderry, New Hampshire that specializes in meads, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from honey, as well as hard ciders.  The diversity of our offerings often leave people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it from their local retailers.  Stop by and try the oldest fermented beverage to find out why “History never tasted so good”™.

They have been around since May 2010 and have a tasting room in Londonderry NH.

Price:  ~$6 / single can
Where Bought:   Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing; I was curious if this was a new or renamed product, and if they had fixed a previous issue I’ve noticed with their canned ciders turning sour/vinegary over time

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First Impression:  Medium amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells rich and apple & honey forward.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and tannins.  No bitterness or funk.  Hints of sourness, especially on the finish.  Notes of concentrated apple, honey, orange, oak, caramel, and brown sugar.  Moderate length finish, which is also the only time when the high ABV is noticeable.  Low oak/barrel influence.  Moderate to high apple and honey flavor.  Low sessionability.  High flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  At first I liked it.  However, same as I had experienced with previous canned batches of their ciders, with the finish, there were hints of sourness and vinegar.  So, it appears the issue hasn’t been fixed.  The longer these sit around, the worse they get (this batch said Dec 2017).  Unfortunately this makes it quite unlikely I’ll want to try any cans from them again, as now this is three different batches in a row spread out over time with apparently the same defect.

Most Similar to:  Ice cider and Moonlight Meadery Last Apple (although that one had more honey than apple flavor, in contrast to this one), which are both high ABV, sweet, and have concentrated rich flavor notes.

 

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery Thirteen 5?  What did you think?

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Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples

Review of Moonlight Meadery’s How Do You Like Them Little Apples, a whiskey barrel aged cider.  I have tried this cider a couple times previously on draft, but now it is available in cans.  I’ve also previously sampled their How Do You Like Them Apples, Boys N Berries, Last Apple, and Crimes of Passion.

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Cider:  How Do You Like Them Little Apples
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry NH
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider, aged in whiskey barrels

Availability:  Semi wide release, in the U.S. in AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA, WA D.C., and WI, and Australia, China, and Japan.  They also have an online store.

Cider Description:  This hard cider is made from the finest New Hampshire apples that are available to us, usually a blend of Cortland, McIntosh, Gala, and Red Delicious varieties. We blend the fresh-pressed cider with just a touch of  honey and natural sugar before we let it ferment and age in newly emptied rye whiskey barrels.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class meadery and cidery from Londonderry, New Hampshire that specializes in meads, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from honey, as well as hard ciders.  The diversity of our offerings often leave people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it from their local retailers.  Stop by and try the oldest fermented beverage to find out why “History never tasted so good” ™.

They have been around since May 2010 and have a tasting room in Londonderry NH.

Price:  $3 / single can
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  My husband bought it for me.

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First Impression:  Hazy medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells musty, of vinegar, honey, and whiskey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low sourness, funk, and bitterness.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of vinegar, honey, must, and lemon, plus hints of oak and whiskey.  Moderate length finish.  Very low barrel influence.  Low whiskey influence and apple flavor.  Moderate complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  This was very different than previous versions.  I didn’t really enjoy the odd vinegar flavor with sourness and funk.  Previously it was sweeter and richer, with more honey, oak, and whiskey.

Most Similar to:  Spanish Sidra

Closing Notes:  This was disappointing.  Previous versions (like this) were much more enjoyable.  Hopefully this was a one-time error or something, but it puts me off from wanting to buy it again and taking the chance it’ll happen again.  I have heard that can liners sometimes don’t stand up to acidic cider, so over time the cider can turn vinegary.  The second can was just as bad.

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery’s How Do You Like Them Little Apples?  What did you think?

Moonlight Meadery Last Apple Cyser

Review of Moonlight Meadery’s Last Apple, a cyser (made from apples and honey).  I tried this previously on tap (see here), and have also previously tried some ciders, meads, and cysers from Moonlight Meadery (see here).

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Cider:  Last Apple
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry New Hampshire
ABV:  16.0%
How Supplied:  375ml bottles (and kegs)
Style:  American craft cyser (made from apple juice and honey), barrel aged

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Availability:  AL, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, MD, ME, MI, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, and WA D.C. in the USA (see here), plus Australia, China, Japan, and through their online shop (shipped to 36/50 states)

Cider Description:  We took the very last New Hampshire apples that were available to us and had them fresh pressed into apple cider. We then blended it with True Source Honey and let it ferment and age in freshly emptied Jim Beam barrels for over 6 months.  The end result is nothing short of heavenly. It is unlike any of the other honey apple meads that we make, that’s why we felt it deserved its own unique label design.  Take your time with this precious liquid and allow its complexities to dance along your palate.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class meadery and cidery from Londonderry, New Hampshire that specializes in meads, the world’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from honey, as well as hard ciders.  The diversity of our offerings often leave people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it from their local retailers.  Stop by and try the oldest fermented beverage to find out why “History never tasted so good”™.

Price:  $26.99
Where Bought:  The Cave in Kirkland WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I tried this previously at the Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA and remembered loving it, and didn’t even know bottles were available (I picked this up awhile back and haven’t seen it since), so I decided to jump on it, despite the high price tag.

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First Impression:  Light to medium amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells boozy, of honey and caramel.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Full bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, sweet ripe apples, caramel, oak, and coffee.  Long warming finish.  Low apple influence.  Low barrel influence.  Moderate to high honey influence.  Very low sessionability.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this, but I think the batch I tried awhile back which was kegged was far superior; it didn’t have the coffee notes, had more oak flavor, was sweeter & fuller bodied, and was more complex.  In this price range, I think I’d prefer an ice cider from Eden (see here).  This reinforces how much I like cider bars, especially for high end ciders, as a sample can be had for $2-$5, vs. spending a good deal on an entire bottle.

Most Similar to:  This is more mead than cider, both in flavor and its high ABV.  It has more honey notes and a higher ABV than most cysers, such as the ones I’ve tried from Finnriver (Cyser Cider),  Eaglemount (Cyser), and Sea Cider (Birds and the Bees).  Its even higher ABV than the meads I’ve tried, such as Skyriver Solas (see here) and Superstition Honey Highway (see here), yet is smooth and easy to drink.

Closing Notes:   I look forward to continuing to try more ciders, meads, and cysers from Moonlight Meadery; they offer quite a large selection.

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery Last Apple?  What did you think?

Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples Cider

Review of “How Do You Like Them Little Apples”, a cider from Moonlight Meadery.  Note that they also offer “How Do You Like Them Apples” (without “Little”), which is quite a different cider, mostly as it has a significantly higher ABV, 13.5% instead of 6.9%.  I’ve also tried that one (at Cider Summit Seattle 2015; tasting notes here).

Cider:  How Do You Like Them Little Apples
Cidery:  Moonlight Meadery
Cidery Location:  Londonderry NH
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  draft-only (I got a half growler, 32 oz)

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Side Note:  This is the first time I’ve got a growler fill of cider!  I’ve always decided against it as 64 oz of cider is way too much for just me to drink in a short period of time, but my husband came home with a half growler of beer recently.  These half growlers (and even quarter growlers, only 16 oz) seem to be a newer thing.  Two pints of cider is more easily doable.  The place where I got it filled (see below) actually only sells half growlers, although I’m sure if you brought in a full size one they would fill it for double the cost.  Also, check out my new cider glass!

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I’ve been wanting to buy some real cider glasses for awhile, and picked up three (see above, with one of my usual cider glasses on the right for reference) at World Market, each between $2 and $4.  They are officially a goblet, brandy snifter (pictured with cider above), and sangria glass (curved).  I think the brandy one is my favorite as it isn’t as large/tall as the other two, although similar to wine glasses, none of these would be filled up all the way.

Availability:  Regional.  See the list on Moonlight Meadery’s website.

Cider Description:  A hard cider, made with the finest New Hampshire apples that were available to us, which we had fresh pressed into apple cider. This fresh cider was delivered the day it was pressed to our Meadery, where we blended it with just a touch of honey, and some brown sugar and let it ferment, then we let it age in freshly emptied rye whiskey barrels, for a minimum of 3 months.  This is a DRAFT only release.

Cidery Description:  We are a world class, cidery and meadery from Londonderry New Hampshire, specializing in meads: wines made from honey, and ciders. The diversity of the offerings often leaves people speechless, while the flavors have them asking for it at their local stores. Stop by to find out why “History never tasted so good”™. Try the oldest fermented beverage, “Romance By the Glass”®. Distributed nationwide both here in the United States, and Australia.  It all started back in 1995, when Michael, our founder and head mead maker, tried a cyser (apple and honey mead) for the first time.

Since that first sip Michael has developed a passion, and a masterful skill at making international award winning meads. Michael Fairbrother has started Moonlight Meadery®, with a mission to bring ultra premium meads to the market place.  It is more than a product and it is more than a process, it’s our obsession.  Our meads will be unique, and unlike anything you have ever tried, you will find it incredible!   We are going to embrace the unique nature of natural honey as minimally processed as possible.  Since starting production in May of 2010, we have grown beyond our wildest dreams. We hope you will stop by to hear our story and try our meads, and tell your friends.

Moonlight has a tasting room in Londonderry NH, and an online store selling their products which ships to 20 states (WA not included unfortunately).  We get a few of their bottled meads in the Seattle area, but nowhere near the full lineup.

Price:  $10 / 32 ounce half growler
Where Bought:  Around the Table Game Pub in Lynnwood WA.  This is a great option for draft craft cider in the greater Seattle area by the way, as they typically have 3 ciders and 1 mead on tap (and 8 beers, a coffee, and a soda).  Although its not really my type of atmosphere (gamer types), the cider selection is pretty awesome.  Special Brews up the street has more taps but less cider on tap (although they have a bottle shop).
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried this for the first time at the Schilling Cider House (see my post here).  Schilling Cider House has Moonlight Meadery’s ciders & cysers on tap pretty often.  When I saw this cider was on tap at Around the Table, I went out of my way to get a half growler of it!  Very reasonably priced too.  I’m doing a full review of it now vs. my previous one which was only a quick writeup.  I typically only do tasting notes when sampling ciders away from home as its tough to get a full picture of a cider when doing a quick tasting, and especially when trying it with other ciders.

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First Impression:  Shiney straw yellow champagne-like hue.  Large bubbles.  Complex rich sweet apple scent with a hint of oak wood.

Opinion:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Rich ripe apple, honey, oak, brown sugar, and floral notes.  The slightest hint of whiskey from the barrel in addition to the oak flavor from the barrel itself (which is on the mild side).  Complex flavor, but low acidity, tannins, tartness, astringency, bitterness, etc.  No funk (clean).  Very low carbonation.  Medium to full bodied.  Longer finish, which is where some mild tarrtness and bitterness presents.  Very smooth.  I’d guess it was a higher ABV (maybe due to how full bodied it is), but its not really booze-forward.

Most Similar to:  Not too much.  Most barrel aged ciders don’t also have other flavors (honey & brown sugar in this case), and there aren’t too many barrel aged ciders that are this sweet (although Thistly Cross Whisky Cask comes to mind).

Closing Notes:   Awesome!  One of my favorite ciders.  Even my friend who is very new to hard cider and whose tastes haven’t extended beyond very plain sweet juice-like commercial ciders enjoyed it (I thought she might be put off by the barrel notes).  So, I can recommend this as a good introduction to barrel aged ciders (vs. some others that are very dry, strong barrel influence, lots of spirit notes, etc).  I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve tried from Moonlight Meadery so far (a few ciders, a cyser, and a mead)!

Have you tried Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples?  What did you think?