Friday, 20 November 2009

What’s in 146? [2008 cider]

Due to various business trips and commitments, cider has not been top priority over the last couple of weeks (shock, horror!!) However, this does create the space for reporting on last years cider – which shall hopefully find a home for retail sales as soon as I can get round to organising it!

A significant reason for starting this blog was to allow anyone drinking 146 cider to see where it came from. I guess it’s a part of being honest about where the cider came from… yeah, I know ingredients are included on the label – but “Apples, tiny bit of water and a trace of sulphite” is a bit too simple. I like the idea that people can see photo’s and information about what type of apples went in to the blend. At the scale I am operating at, I can easily do it. We shall see if its something that can continue! So:

146 Cider (Traditional) – 2008 blend

Pressed between September and November 2008 at both 146 Cider and at Fruitwise Orchard. This was blended initially in February 2009 and then finally in September 2009. It was mature in August 2009 and ready for bottling in October 2009.

Desert Apples 30%
Cider Apples 64%
Sharp (Cooking) Apples 6%

Varieties found in 146 Cider:

Ashmeads Kernel
Crimson King
Egremont Russett
Harry Masters Jersey
Kidds Orange Red
Kingston Black
Le Brett
Lord Lambourne
Orleans Reinette
Tom Putts
Tremletts Bitter
Winter King
Yarlington Mill

Sulphite was added (50ppm) prior to fermentation and then (50ppm) prior to maturing.

My hope in providing this information is that drinkers who care a little more about where their beverage comes from will look here to see. In the same way that line fishermen will tag the fish to show that it is humanely caught, 146 cider is produced in a traditional way, using no industrial equipment or additives, and travels no more than 10 miles from orchard to bottle (OK, if you factor in miles for purchase of equipment that total could be doubled…)

If you have tried 146 cider, do let us know what you think.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Pressing all done...

So, the last pressing for the 2009 cider is now done and ‘Stephen’, the #1 Spiedel tank, is bubbling away. So that is that… time to do the maths and the records ad pack everything away. No, it doesn’t mean ‘no more washing, sterilising and cleaning’ as it generally doesn’t at all. However, my target for this year was to double (again) the quantity of juice pressed, and I am happy to report that this has been achieved.

There are a number of reasons for ‘just’ doubling up and not rushing away with and pressing thousands of litres. The main reason is simply that I am not set up to produce lots of cider well. I don’t have the tankage, pressing ability, storage and most importantly the time. By increasing steadily (if you can call doubling up each year steady) things can be bought and introduced in a reasonable way. This year I am have the benefit of 2 Speidel tanks – which have proven themselves already. The Fruit Shark mill has made such light work of producing pomace from apples this year that I know it will do for a number of years to come. The press has come in to its own too this year, with a consistent 6-7 gallons of juice at each pressing taking just under 2 hours to achieve. Harmony, it would seem, has been achieved – shame it can’t last!

So, with 835 litres of juice fermenting, there should be now be much more time to organise things. I need to finish bottling up the 2008 season cider. It is now pretty much fully mature and I need to find a few buyers for it. I am hoping that this won’t be too much of a task – in any case it’s all on a VERY small scale!

Also, the next four months will be taken up by builders and buildings as we extend the house to provide better disabled facilities for my daughter. Not that I begrudge her this at all – it has been too long in coming!

All in all a good season. Time to start thinking about the next one!