2016 was very successful. The Craft and Golden Valley were both very popular. Different ciders for different markets, but both well received. What we did learn though was that keeping up with demand was difficult when blending on the scales we were. 200 ltrs is just not enough. So for 2017 we made a decision on the Golden Valley. Firstly, we bought a larger blending vessel.
This is a 1000 ltr IBC which will be used for blending Craft and Golden Valley.
Mike, assisted by Phil also renovated the trailer, which now looks like this
Finally, all of this needs some place to live!
For 2016 we decided that there needed to be more consistency, and that we wanted to have some variety. In 2015 and 2014 we pressed our apples, and we fermented the juice, an then we bottled it, or put it in BiBs. This meant that although it was all very good, that 20 ltr BiB you had wasn’t the same as this one.
So, firstly in 2016 we bought a 200 ltr container to blend in. This means that if you buy a pint in the Ring of Bells tonight, and one there in 2 months time – they’ll be the same cider.
On the top shelf, containers that hold 30 ltrs each. On the bottom shelf the very small looking ones hold 60 ltrs. The one to the left is our 200 ltr blending container. What you see there, is 200 ltrs of Nailsea Cider – Craft. To its right, 60 ltrs of Stockway Lament.
The top shelf has 90 ltrs that will go into Golden Valley. Golden Valley will be lightly sparkling and will be 4% rather than 6% ABV. It will also be sweeter than Craft, and less appley. This brings us to the next new bit of kit. Keg, gas and regulator.
Cider in keg, gas in keg (30 PSI mind), keg in fridge. A week later, Cider in bottles. Of course, this isn’t a massive scale. It will take several weeks to produce the hundred or so ltrs of Golden Valley we plan.
All this cider needs moving about. Blending 200 ltrs means taking 30 or 60 ltr barrels and adding to the 200. After blending, the blended cider needs putting back into the smaller barrels. Time consuming. A pump was needed. This moves up to 20 ltrs of cider per minute.
So, three new bits of kit, and consistency and a new sparkling product.