If you missed part I of this chat (episode 90) with Eve’s Cidery, you’ll want to go back and listen as we tour the orchard with Autumn Stoscheck and Ezra Sherman and talk about where their ciders begin. In part II of this chat, we move down to the ciderhouse to talk about:
- the champagne method
- what it takes to run a small cidery
- and Autumn shares some tips for home cidermakers.
Disgorgement is often regarded as an art. In removing the closure of a bottle, the pressure built up in the bottle pushes out the yeast that has settled at the top, but it also pushes out some cider. The art is in timing the turning upright of the bottle with the removal of the closure so that, as Ezra explains, the pressure can do its job removing the yeast, but gravity can act to keep the cider in the bottle. Obviously, the goal is to waste as little cider as possible and it takes practice to master this.
Thankfully, there is a video to show exactly how this is done to accompany Ezra’s explanation.
Follow this link, where you’ll also have the opportunity to sign up to receive free shipping on orders from Eve’s for the month of August.
Of note, is Autumn’s analysis of the cider industry and the value of a bottle of cider produced using their methods. I think it speaks to the passion that most small cidermakers have about what they’re doing. They aren’t doing it for the money, that’s for sure. That point is often lost on the consumer who might balk at a $15-$20 bottle of cider. The equivalent methods used in winemaking in the production of high quality wines of place would fetch many times the price just by virtue of the fact that wine culture and the market is older and more developed.
The cidermaking tips shared towards the end of this episode are really valuable and go beyond basic issues of making cider. It highlights the dynamic nature of cider microbiology and the techniques that can be used to maximize your cidermaking success. Some of them are:
- Monitor your primary for off flavors and aromas
- Aerate the must if you smell sulfur compounds
- Once primary is finished, immediately chill the cider to limit microbial activity
- Maturing cider on the lees (if they’re clean), stirring the lees acts as an antioxidant
- Drink it! Don’t wait around for it to develop off flavors unless you think you have achieved microbiological stability in the bottle. Some things that help this happen is having very low levels of nutrients in the must, high acidity, low to no residual sugar, and higher alcohol content.
Bâtonnage defined is simply stirring the lees periodically. This technique can be used in cidermaking and is done after the initial vigorous fermentation is complete.
The lees is brown slurry that settles to the bottom of carboy, stainless steel tanks or barrels. It is comprised of dead yeast cells and heavy particles that were initially floating in the solution.
There are two different types of lees
Gross Lees – the first drop of heavy precipitants that float to the bottom.
Fine Lees – the slurry that can form on the bottom of your carboy after the first racking.
If you leave the lees on the bottom of your cidermaking vessels there is a risk of the lees consuming all the oxygen and causing hydrogen sulfide to form as the cider goes through the process of reduction. (Yes, lees consumes oxygen). The result can leave an off smell such as rotten eggs.
Contact Eve’s Cidery
308 Beckhorn Hollow Rd
Van Etten, NY 14889
Ask for the following 9 #CiderGoingUP Campaign supporters – By supporting these cider makers, you in turn help Ciderville.
- Kurant Cider – Pennsylvania : listen to Joe Getz on episode 14
- Big Apple Hard Cider – NYC : listen to Danielle von Scheiner on episode 35
- Oliver’s Cider and Perry – Herefordshire/UK ; listen to Tom Oliver on episode 29
- Santa Cruz Cider Company – California : listen to Nicole Todd on episode 60
- The Cider Project aka EthicCider– California
- Albermale CiderWorks : listen to Chuck Shelton on episode 56
- Cider Summit : listen to Alan Shapiro founder of this cider fest on episode 75.
- Ramborn Cider Co. Luxembourg.
- Big Fish Cider Company Monterey, Virginia
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