2015 Cider Extraviganza

As I pulled up to the farmer’s market, the rain began to fall on my windshield. The patter of rain combined with the rich smell of coffee from my thermos created a soothing environment; one which I was not willing to give up for the frigid rain and biting wind that waited for me outside of my vehicle. It was one of the first truly cold days of fall and with my winter clothes still in storage, I was poorly equipped for the weather in my cargo shorts and a t-shirt. With a grunt, and a final sip of my coffee, I got out of the car to make my cider purchase.

Mood's FarmMood’s Farm is located in South NJ, located far enough away from the major commerce areas to be considered rural, but not so far away that it’s a challenge to get to. The farm market where they sell their produce is a bit run down, but it’s age certainly gives the building character. If you are in the area, I certainly recommend checking out this local hub.

Among the home brew community, Mood’s is known¬† for one thing in particular… Cider. After pressing, they run their juice under a UV light, thus “cold pasteurizing” their cider. It allows for a preservation of taste but more importantly, it allows for fermentation without the interference of chemical preservatives. The juice that they create is primarily sweet, but it does have enough tannin and acidity to make it worth fermenting and acceptable as a hard cider without the need for chemical adjustments (although adding acidity brings this cider to a whole new level).

Cider from MoodsThis year I made a grand purchase of 20 gallons of Cider. 6 Gallons of that cider went to a class I taught at Keg and Barrel Home Brew Supplies, the remaining 14 gallons was mine to play with. I divided the cider up into 4 different projects: One Apple Wine, Once Hard Cider, and Two Apple Meads (Cysers). I’ve compiled my list of fermentations from this years cider, I will be updating them as the year goes on and the ciders reach completion.

The Cider Projects:

Mood’s Farm Applewine (2015)

This is one of the four fermentations that came from this years haul of cider from moods farm. My goal was to create a dry to off-dry wine that was high in fruity character. As I normally do with fruit wines, I threw in pectic enzyme to create a clear wine later down the road. I may bottle three gallons dry, back sweeten one gallon, and age one on bourbon soaked oak.

  • 5 Gallons Moods Farm Cider
  • 5 Lb Corn Sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 5 tsp Yeast Nutrient
  • 5 Campden Tablets
  • 6 1/2 tsp Wine Acid Blend
  • Yeast: Red Star Cote des Blanc (3 Packs)

Process: After sanitizing all equipment, I poured the cider and corn sugar into the fermenting carboy and mixed thoroughly. I then added my Pectic enzyme, Yeast Nutrient, and Campden Tablets. I then took an acid reading, finding that my acid level was between 0.3 to 0.4 titratable acid. In order to bring it up to roughly 0.6 titratable acid I added 6 1/2 tsp of acid blend to the mix. I then left the mixture covered with a paper towel and rubber bands. The next day I pitched 3 packs of Cote des Blanc yeast. I found that the wine started fermenting within an hour. (TO BE CONTINUED)