This is where we take all the different barrels that we’ve pressed from all the different gardens and orchards, and blend them into a product that matches what we’ve made in previous years. In this case, we need to replicate Craft, Golden Valley and Ethical Director. For those who don’t how we do this, it’s basically to blend a good quality full juice traditional cider – about 800 litres, and to take half of that, and that is Craft. There is nothing added to this. It’s cider that was created by fermenting apples and nothing else. It’s quite strong, at almost 6% ABV. We then add to the remaining 400 litres of this using other barrels until we have a total of 1000 litres. That is then split in half. The first half is let back slightly to reduce the alcohol from about 6% to 4.5% ABV. That makes Golden Valley. The second half is sweetened with fresh apple juice and that makes Ethical Director, also about 4.5% ABV.
What makes this complicated, in this context, is because our Apple – 5135-286 – went into the first 800 litres. This means he was moved a 10th time to get him into the IBC for blending purposes.
Of course then he was moved out of the IBC and into the Craft barrels (11th move)
But here’s the complication. A part of him stayed in the IBC and was included in the blend for Golden Valley and Ethical Director. So a part of him has also been moved to the GV IBC and to the ED IBC. So is that move 12 and 13? Or is that all part of move 11?
The Craft barrels and the Golden Valley and Ethical Director IBCs will sit and marry for a week before the IBCs go to Miles to be bottled. That will be move 12 (or 14).
What we can now be sure of however, is that Apple 5135-286 will have a presence in every bottle of cider we sell. In every litre of loose Craft that is sold, in every bottle of Golden Valley and in every bottle of Ethical Director.
Today we racked all the cider. This is the next part of the process after fermentation, where all the cloudiness has dropped out of the fermented apple juice. The ‘lees’ all falls to the bottom of the barrel, and we take the clear cider from over the lees, and pump it into a new clean barrel. In fact, we do take a small amount of the cloud too, as we like our ciders to be slightly cloudy, if that’s what you want. It’s why there’s always a small sediment in the bottle. If you want cloudy cider, shake it first. The cloudiness is apple and yeast, and perfectly good to drink.
This is Apple 5135-286’s 9th lift, although in this case, it was mostly done by the pump. We did have to shift the 100ltr barrel he was in though.
Every barrel we had was racked today. This process is, clean a new barrel. Move the cider from the old barrel to the new one. Clean the old barrel. Repeat.
Nailsea Transition Town and Nailsea Cider once again teamed up together to bring Nailsea Apple Day 2015 to the good folk of Nailsea. Between 1pm and 4pm (well, 5pm really) we pressed apples from all comers, and also some that had been collected by the Transition Group. People brought along their own apples, we pressed them, and they took away the juice (or some of it). There was also Coffee and Apple Cakes available and some Live music provided by Dave Francis.
We had made cider from last year’s pressing which was available to buy by the glass, and could also be bought in 3l Bag in Boxes just along the road at our friends at the Ring o’ Bells.
We’re very excited that several varieties of old cider apples were picked up from Charlton Farm, where the Childrens’ Hospice are.
A good day, and all in all we pressed over 200ltrs of juice.
Pressing apples is not so straight forward as pressing, say, grapes. You get grapes, squash them in a press and juice comes out. Apples have attitude. You take a kilo of apples, shove them in the press and squash them, you’ll get a kilo of bruised and battered apples but little juice. Continue reading