Friday 18 June 2010

What’s in 146Cider (2009)

As with last years cider (which was never really seen out ‘in public’ although was a perfect gift for builders and friends etc.) I really like the idea that anyone drinking a bottle of 146 can look up what went in to their drink. In a way, I think its encouraging for anyone who wants to have a go at making cider themselves. However, in the commercial environment where producers and manufacturers are so frightened to declare what they use to produce their products us cider makers should be proud of the low food miles, minimal energy, absence of artificial flavours and preservatives and (quite simply) the simplicity of our businesses!

Craft cider is almost entirely made from apple juice. I say almost entirely – there is nearly always some water in there. The process of keeping things clean means rinsing and washing down – and some of this will get into the end product (don’t worry – it’s always clean/boiled water). And then there are sulphites. This is added to clean the juice prior to fermentation (kill any unwanted bugs), and then to protect cider that is in storage. If you have a bottle in front of you, it will say ‘trace’, so the quantity is tiny.

The 2009 season saw an increase in the amount of Bittersweet cider fruit available, and this shows in the finished product. I also used more specific sharp varieties, including some cider sharps. This has given a dual tone to the cider. So (if you are interested in my own tasting notes), I believe that the 2009 146Cider has both tannin and acid – which can both be tasted as being separate from each other in the mouth. I am pleased to say that, once again, the cider is neither west country nor is it Eastern style – something I am keen on maintaining.

So, what is in your pint?

Once again, the entire fruit came from the Fruitwise Orchard. This is a good relationship to have, and my hope is that 146Cider going ‘commercial’ will reward both them as well as 146. I have already documented the pressing previously – although it produced a total of 900 litres of cider.

The 146 blend is made up of the following:
• Desert Fruit – 48%
• Cider Fruit – 44%
• Sharp (Culinary) Fruit – 8%

This came from the following varieties:

• Ashmeads Kernel
• Bramley
• Dabinett
• Egremont Russet
• Harry Masters Jersey
• John Downie Crab
• Kidds Orange Red
• Kingston Black
• Laxtons Epicure
• Le Bret
• Ribston Pippin
• Spartan
• Sunset
• Sturmer Pippin
• Tremletts Bitter
• Winter King
• Yarlington Mill

As this season will be more commercially available than ever before, I do hope that people find this information interesting – after all, making craft cider really is nothing like the latest Magners adverts would have you believe (although the idea of driving a truck through a golf course actually is rather appealing:-)

As ever, any feedback is welcome.


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