Curtis Sherrer is barreling aging single variety apples at Millstone Cellars. An old grist mill dating back to the 1850s houses the Tasting Room.
“We will have 50 barrels and then settle on 15 to pick from to blend for that one cider that will be bottled”
“If you are looking to save money, all you need is a barrel. You don’t need chillers.”
Instead of pressing multiple apples and creating the sweet cider that will then be fermenting – Curt keeps apple varieties separate until he finds the perfect balance
At the “Old Grist Mill” they use a cloth press on site that dates back to 1850s.
Says Curt of the goal behind choosing to become a cidermaker, “Let’s take apple juice and see how close we can get to making a chardonnay”
“No one knows what the Jonathan apple variety can do at different maturity levels or what it can do on different yeasts. So we will have 20 barrels of Jonathan with different yeasts.
We used beer yeast, cider, wine, sherry yeast and now we have come down to four primary yeasts.”
Curt recommends looking at bending much like ones does with spices and ingredients: See what will make the most savory cider.
The learnings garnered from making cider from single variety apples, until the final blend are abundant. You will learn in this chat about:
- How maturity ( of the apple and cider) matters
- How does maceration change it? Maceration is what happens when you wait to press the pomace (crushed apples), letting the pomace sit for a bit, like 24 hours to 2 days or even longer.
- Learn the taste differences between free run apple juice where the pomace is barely pressed versus crushing and pressing immediately.
What can you expect at the Millstone Cellars Tasting Room?
- Up to and over 7 ciders, cysers ( cider fermented with honey) and meads.
- Ciders made with locally sourced hops, baby ginger, peaches, pears, cherries, and spice bush.
- Take a tour and have a tasting (only on weekends).
- Millstone serves their cider on tap making it a great stop to bring your lunch or early dinner and have a glass out on a picnic table.
Start up Cidery Tips:
- Put time into your Cider Name
- Package design
- Think Trade Marking your brand and your cider name.
3 Main Millstone Ciders – if you visit expect more ciders on hand as they have seasonals and new ciders they are working on continually.
- Farmgate – made with “pure apples” meaning nothing is added
- Hopvine – blend up base cider and then add hops and might add a bit of honey or cryo-cider (frozen cider)
- Gingeroot – made with organic baby ginger and local blueberry honey
Not so much what the winemaker or cidermaker does. It’s what kind of fruit comes into the door. If you are getting quality fruit coming in through the door, It’s yours to screw up.
Contact info for Millstone Cellars
- 2029 Monkton Road – Monkton, Maryland
- Zip Code/Postal Codes: 21111
- Telephone: 410-967-3463 3
- Follow on Twitter @MillstoneCellar
- Like Millstone Cellars on Facebook
Links mentioned in the episode
- Martha Stewart: Hard Cider Like You’ve Never Seen It Before: Millstone Cellars
- Edinburgh Cider Review a podcast hosted by two gents discussing ciders that they are drinking and more. No new episodes listed since September 2015
- Pennsylvania Cider Guild
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