Schilling Excelsior

Review of Schilling Excelsior.  I first tried this on draft (see here), but I wanted to do a full review of a bottle.  I’ve also tried Schilling’s Oak Aged, Gold, Grapefruit, ChaiderGingerHoppedSriracha LimeBarrel #1Barrel #2Mischief Maker Pom-CranGrumpy Bear Coffee NitroPineapple PassionLumberJack (Rhubarb)Blackberry PearDryKing’s ShillingVanilla CloveRaspberry SmoothiePeach Grapefruit HabaneroBailoutTrouble in ParadiseBlueberry CobblerFrench BittersweetPippinAfterglowRoad Trip (Peach Citra)Grapefruit & ChillBoysenberry PommeauCampfire, and Watermelon Mint,

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Cider:  Excelsior
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn (Seattle) WA
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (plus draft, and soon, six packs of 12oz cans)
Style:  American craft imperial-style cider from dessert & bittersweet cider apples

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Availability:  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this July 2018 release may have more limited distribution.  Also, it is unclear whether this is a limited release, seasonal release, or new year-round offering.

Cider Description:  Dear Earthlings, Schilling Cider has been on a lifelong quest to create a revolutionary cider.  We have dreamt of a world that offers an imperial canned cider that stays true to its roots, without any added nonsense.  Today, we introduce you to Excelsior, an Imperial Apple Cider that combined old world cider techniques with new world innovation.  We start with fresh-pressed Washington-grown apples, add heirloom cider fruit, then ferment with a hand-selected yeast strain.  This unique process highlights the apples’ aroma and tannin structure.  The addition of traditional cider apples builds complexity, adds depth, and creates a sessionable imperial cider.  Grab a bottle and get ready to blast off!

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.  Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried it on draft that day

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First Impression:  Medium golden hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells mild, apple-forward, with a hint of richness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of apple pomace (skin), caramel, orange, leather, lemon, and brown sugar.  Long tart tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  This has some great flavor.  The level of sweetness is perfect, as it helps cut the acidity and bitterness, and hides the higher ABV.

Most Similar to:  a cross between English, American heritage, and American modern ciders

Closing Notes:  Its really neat to see a very large craft cidery do a large release of a cider made even partially from cider apples.  Although others have done this, it wasn’t on as large of a scale.  Also, even though the cider apples were used in a blend, unlike most others I’ve tried, the bittersweet characteristics were still quite evident.  A big benefit of this being a large release and the cider apples being only part of the blend is the lower price, which at under $7 is in-line with most other ciders in 500ml bottles.

Have you tried any ciders made from bittersweet cider apples?  What did you think?

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Schilling Road Trip (Peach Citra)

Review of Schilling Cider’s Road Trip (Peach Citra), a cider with peach and Citra hops.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve previously sampled their Gold, Grapefruit, Oak AgedChaiderGingerHoppedSriracha LimeBarrel #1Barrel #2Mischief Maker Pom-CranGrumpy Bear Coffee NitroPineapple PassionLumberJack (Rhubarb)Blackberry PearDryKing’s ShillingVanilla CloveRaspberry SmoothiePeach Grapefruit HabaneroBailoutTrouble in ParadiseBlueberry CobblerFrench BittersweetPippin, and Afterglow ciders.

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Cider:  Road Trip (Peach Citra)
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA
ABV:  6.6%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles and draft
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with peach and CItra hops

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Availability:  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a summer seasonal release (July-September) and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  Sweet and juicy peach and farm fresh citra hops.

Cidery Description:  We capture the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating hard ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold, and flavor forward. 

Price:  $6.99
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.

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First Impression:  Light peach amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly hopped and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  No tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of peach, tropical fruit, hops, and citrus.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low hops influence.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Refreshing, with peach and citrus.  Nice level of sweetness and balanced flavor.

Most Similar to:  Other cider which were both fruity and hopped, such as 2 Towns Hop & Stalk, Incline Lemongrass LureReverend Nat’s Hallelujah Hopricot, and Ratel Cider Dry Hopped

Closing Notes:  Schilling has really stepped up their game since they started out.  My favorite cider from them however remains King’s Shilling, a brandy barrel aged cider which is also an excellent value (as low as $4.50 / 22oz).

Have you tried Schilling Road Trip?  What did you think?

Schilling Trouble in Paradise (Passionfruit Pineapple)

Review of Schilling Cider’s Trouble in Paradise, a passionfruit pineapple cider.  I’ve tried a lot of their ciders before (see here).

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Cider:  Trouble in Paradise (Passionfruit Pineapple)
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with pineapple and passionfruit juices

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Availability:  June-September.  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a seasonal release and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  YOU ASKED, WE ANSWERED! Introducing our unscheduled surprise seasonal, Trouble in Paradise! This pineapple passionfruit hard cider is a tropical paradise and a bit of trouble in a bottle!

Cidery Description:  We capture the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating hard ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold, and flavor forward. 

Price:  $7
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I tried in on tap awhile back and thought it would be a nice summer cider to get a bottle of.

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First Impression:  Hazy yellow orange hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of pineapple juice with a hint of passionfruit.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, sourness, or funk.  Notes of pineapple, orange, passionfruit, and peach.  Moderate length tart finish.  No apple flavor.  Low complexity.  Moderate to strong flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  A tropical vacation in a glass.  However, this is very juice-like, and I couldn’t really taste any alcohol (or apple influence).  It was more like juice with vodka or something neutral.  I imagine it would make an awesome slushee.  It had more orange flavor, was slightly sweeter, and more juice-like than I remembered it having on tap.  Its curious they didn’t carbonate it.

Most Similar to:  Other tropical/pineapple ciders, such as Ace Pineapple, Jester & Judge Pineapple Express, and Portland Cider Pineapple.

Closing Notes:   I’ve been enjoying Schilling’s seasonal and special release ciders (especially King’s Shilling), although I don’t find their regular line of ciders too interesting (albeit better than they used to be).

Have you tried Schilling Trouble in Paradise?  What did you think?

Schilling Bailout (Lemongrass Agave)

Review of Schilling’s new seasonal release, Bailout, made with lemongrass and agave nectar.  I’ve tried a number of their ciders; see here.

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Cider:  Bailout
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn (Seattle) WA
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  22oz clear glass bottles and kegs
Style:  American craft cider made from dessert apples, with lemongrass and agave nectar

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Availability:  May-August (seasonal, although this is the first year).  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a special release and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  Sometimes you just need to Bail Out! This summer chiller is highly refreshing and perfectly balanced with subtle herbal notes and a kiss of agave nectar.

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.

Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  $6
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Fremont (Seattle) WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Almost no carbonation upon pouring.  Smells mild, of apple, citrus, and what I assume is agave nectar (a tart sweetness).

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Still.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No sourness, bitterness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of lemon, agave nectar, pineapple, and a bit of herbalness.  Quick finish.  Low flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked this cider, but didn’t love it.  I prefer a bit more intense of a flavor.  Also not sure if I liked the slight herbal flavor.

Most Similar to:  Light spring/summer type ciders with citrus notes.  I looked it up online and see that Two Rivers also offers an agave cider.

Closing Notes:   I imagine this will sell well, but I prefer their Pineapple Passion / Trouble in Paradise (which is coming out in bottles very soon).

Have you tried any ciders from Schilling?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider King’s Shilling

Review of Schilling Cider’s King’s Shilling, an apple brandy barrel aged & fortified cider.  This was released at the very end of January, and will be a February-April seasonal for them.

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Cider:  King’s Shilling
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn WA (Seattle area)
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  22oz bottles (and draft)
Style:  American apple brandy barrel aged & fortified craft cider from dessert apples

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Availability:  February-April (seasonal, although this is the first year).  Schilling Cider is sold at least in AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA, but this is a special release and is therefore likely to have more limited distribution.

Cider Description:  King’s Shilling is a special collaboration with Mischief Distilling, using apple brandy they made from our cider, and then aged in their Mischief Bourbon barrels. Fortified to perfection, in this cider, you will find barrel notes of smoke, cinnamon, and vanilla, along with the slight sweetness of apple brandy. 

THE STORY OF KING’S SHILLING: When drinking with scallywags, check your glass before you bottoms up. Finding a shilling in your glass means you are under contract to crew a pirate’s ship? You may unwittingly find yourself swabbing the decks… Never to return. 

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.

Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  $6.00
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  They posted about it on their Facebook page, and it sounded awesome, so I bought a bottle at my next visit.

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First Impression:  Lemon-Honey straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation with a few medium sized bubbles.  Smells of must, sourness, oak, honey, spice, and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Between semi-dry and semi-sweet.  Low to moderate acidity.  Low tartness.  Hints of sourness and bitterness.  Medium bodied.  Nearly still (low carbonation).  Notes of honey and citrus, with hints of maple syrup, oak, and spice.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple influence.  Low barrel influence.  Low spirit influence.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Tasty!  I think this was a great value too…typically craft cider and especially craft barrel aged cider is more expensive than $6.00 / 22oz.  The musty scent was off-putting at first, but I got past it once I tasted the cider.  I was surprised how citrus-forward it was, but I like citrus notes in a cider.  I was also surprised with the description that said its brandy fortified; if so, its not much, as the ABV remains fairly average at 6.5%.

Most Similar to:  The honey notes remind me of Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples, Crispin 15 Men, 2 Towns The Bad Apple, and Finnriver Honey Meadow.

Closing Notes:   This is my favorite cider from Schilling so far (my others are Pineapple Passion and Barrel #2, which is more of a spirit than a cider).  So far I think their new cider lineup is better than it previously was.

Have you tried King’s Shilling?  What did you think?

Schilling Cider House Visit 11 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my eleventh visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Check out my past posts here.  I was there mostly as I wanted to pick up a couple bottles (Schilling’s new seasonal King’s Shilling brandy barrel aged & fortified cider and this year’s version of Two Towns’ Pommeau), but this isn’t exactly the kind of place where I can stop in without having some cider!

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I got there after work, around 4pm, and started with a flight of five ciders (I had tried everything else so skipped out on #6).  I brought some take out food I picked up from PCC (the Caprese sandwich went well with 101 Cider House Piña Mint).

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<left to right:  Schilling Blackberry Pear, Schilling London Dry, Sonoma Cider Dry Fuji, Original Sin Northern Spy, and 101 Cider House Piña Menta>

Schilling Blackberry Pear (Auburn WA), 5.5%:  This is a new draft-only release.  I believe it is apple cider with blackberry and pear juice infused after fermentation (vs. being a blackberry flavored perry).  Semi-sweet.  Full flavored with blackberry and a hint of pear.  Fruity, refreshing, and flavorful without being over the top sweet.  The apple remains pretty well hidden.  Medium bodied.  This was pretty good (and I’m usually not a big berry cider fan), although maybe I was just underwhelmed with most of the rest of the flight.  It reminded me of Atlas Blackberry (although less tart) and Crispin Blackberry Pear (although sweeter).

Schilling London Dry (Auburn WA), 6.5%:  Described as an English pub style cider, sold in four packs of 16oz cans and kegs.  Somehow I had never tried this one even though its been out awhile.  Dry.  High acidity.  Moderarate tartness.  Light bodied.  It was lacking the richness of English cider, likely as I doubt they used high tannin cider apples.  I thought this was a pretty average cider, but many people ordered pints of it while I was there (although maybe because it was the most inexpensive drier cider by far?).

Sonoma Cider Dry Fuji (Healdsburg CA), 6.5%:  This is a reserve series release from Sonoma Cider, an organic Fuji apple single varietal, oak barrel aged, sold in 22oz paper wrapped bottles and kegs.  Nearly clear hue.  Completely Dry (0 residual sugar).  High acidity.  Moderate sourness.  Mild tartness.  Light bodied.  Kinda Sidra-like due to the sourness, although it also reminded me of white grape wine.  Mildly flavored.  I wasn’t a fan at all, mostly due to the sourness.

Original Sin Northern Spy (York NY), 6.9%:  This Northern Spy single varietal is part of Original Sin’s Heirloom series.  This appears to be tap-only at this time (although they had similar heirloom series releases in 750ml bottles, like Newtown Pippin).  Semi-dry.  Low acidity.  Low tartness.  A hint of sourness.  Citrus notes.  Light bodied.  Overall mildly flavored.  Average.

101 Cider House Piña Menta (Los Angeles CA), 6.9%:  This is a new 101 Cider House release, a pineapple mint cider.  Smells of citrus and mint.  On the sweeter side of Dry.  A hint of sourness.  Citrus and mint notes.  I didn’t really pick up pineapple?  Moderately flavored.  Light bodied.  Unique with the mint flavor, but overall I thought it was average.

They also put Honey Moon CiderHead Quince on tap while I was there.

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Honey Moon CiderHead Quince (Bellingham WA), 8.3%:  This is described as their Quince mead with cider, so that would make it a cyser.  Semi-dry.  Mild tannins, tartness, and acidity.  Mildly fruity.  Light and refreshing.  Mild to moderate flavored.  Tropical notes, passion fruit and pineapple.  This was good, but I prefer Eaglemount Quince, which was more complex and flavorful.

I wanted a little something else, but didn’t feel the need for another pint, so I bought a bottle of Celt for $3 and drank it there.  The Cider House is pretty awesome as they don’t charge extra to drink their bottled cider there (vs. taking it home).  An awesome cider for an awesome price!  Its the only French cider I’ve seen that comes in a multipack (4 bottles).  Check out my previous review here.  I had forgotten how I much I enjoy this cider, and picked up a couple more bottles to take home.

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I’m excited to compare the last two years of Two Towns’ Pommeau in a vertical pour, now that I have a bottle of each.  I highly recommend it by the way, and if anyone is in the Seattle area, at $25 for an amazing 375ml bottle of 19% ABV Pommeau at the Schilling Cider House, its also a good buy.  I also spotted it at The Cave in Kirkland.

Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says!  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

Schilling Cider LumberJack (Rhubarb)

Review of Schilling Cider LumberJack, their Rhubarb variety, from Seattle Washington.

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Cider:  LumberJack (Rhubarb)
Cidery:  Schilling Cider
Cidery Location:  Auburn Washington (Seattle area)
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  boxed six pack of 12oz cans (and kegs)
Style:  American craft fruit-infused canned cider
Ingredients:  fresh pressed apple juice, pear, rhubarb, yeast

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Availability:  At least AK, AZ, CA, CT, ID, MN, NC, NV, OR, SC, VA, and WA.

Cider Description:  This axe-swinging Lumberjack will make you want to get lost in the woods! He’s earthy, rugged, and just the right amount of dry. But, underneath all of that rough and tough, he’s as sweet as an early autumn pear.

Cidery Description:  In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco. He brought pure, natural, spices to everyone, at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, we carry August’s core values forward and pair them with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality, complex, hard ciders.

Based in Seattle, Washington, Schilling Cider captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest by creating ciders that are deliberately innovative, bold and flavor forward. Never back-sweetened, we use only 100% fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients and individually hand select yeast strains to create a cider experience that is truly unique.

Price:  I’ve seen it sold anywhere from $10.99 to $13.50 / six pack
Where Bought:  n/a (a fellow customer at the cider house shared a can with me from the six pack he bought – thanks John!).
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing the Schilling Cider House

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First Impression:  Light pink-peach hue.  Low carbonation (large bubbles) and foam.  Smells lightly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry (2 Brix).  Moderate tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or tannins.  Notes of rhubarb, pear, tropical fruit, peach, and honey.  Light bodied with a smooth buttery texture.  A bit champagne-like although not nearly as bubbly (only low carbonation).  Moderate finish length.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Tasty and refreshing.  I think this one would be a great summer cider.  However, its a tad on the tart side for my liking, and overall fruity ciders aren’t my favorite.  I also don’t know if I would have been able to specifically identify rhubarb as the flavor.

Most Similar to:  Other semi-dry fruity ciders.  The only other rhubarb cider I’ve had is 2 Towns Rhubarbarian, and I’d say Schilling’s LumberJack is more flavorful.

Closing Notes:   This is part of Schilling Cider’s re-launch.  I’m curious to see what else they will come up with.  They discontinued their Hopped and Oak Aged ciders, and have had a number of new releases in their cider lineup lately.

Have you tried Schilling LumberJack (Rhubarb)?  What did you think?