NWR Cider-pages.... The process has been started.

So the juice is in, but now the options really kick in.
The guy who had the press seems to be in favour of using the wild yeast, but the home brew shop guy reckons zap teh bugs with Campden tablets and use a commercial yeast. He also seemed perfectly relaxed about using apples from the ground, not all of which were quite pristine. I suppose Campden tablets should deal with any bugs.
How long to leave post fermentation is an interesting one - maybe 3 months, maybe a year?
Press guy also says he's not keen on flat. I think that I may be able to add a little dosage to one bottle (preferably plastic?!) to try that, while I'll leave mine flat.
Suggestions invited!

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Thanks for the photos Alex. I pick apples locally for a guy who makes cider in Southfields. He makes them sparkling but bone dry. I normally get six bottles in recompense for my labours. We pick fruit in local gardens that would otherwise go to waste. The cider maker has a similar set of kit although your masher looks a little heavier duty than his.
 
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It's a Vigo press - I think they make presses for wine too.

On the subject of wild vs cultured, I've read that if you have a mixture of wild and cultured it still counts as natural. Might try that in part of the brew.
 
Blimey. You’re early. I make mine at the end of Oct!

I do use apples from the ground but cut out any rot/damage before putting through the scratter.

Natural yeast for me.

I dose about half of our bottles but tend to bottle while there is still a tiny bit of fermentation to go. So the zero dosage bottles are very much petillant. A hydrometer is money well spent.

I did rack some into a demi john last year after fermentation and then left that for a few months before bottling. I’ve not tried one yet though. Still drinking 2020.
 
I would rack it, and controversially it seems, campden then specific brewers yeast. A few years ago I made a colossal quantity, enough to try a few different methods, and the “cleaned” product was far superior. I had one or two demijohns that cleared naturally, and some others that I added pectin to take it over the threshold. There is benefit to aging on lees like wine, but 6 months is more than enough.

I sit in the camp that thinks cloudy cider is actually faulty, but I’m quite extremist about country pursuits like this!
 
I tend to agree. The few batches I've made have cleared naturally without any encouragement.
I'm hoping for this. We shall see!
One thing that I'm wondering about (and need to come to a decision soon) is whether to bother measuring OG. The instructions say that I have to throw away the sample used to do the test!
Some interesting comments here:
I was wondering about a pet nat and was thinking that adding just a moderate amount of raw juice (instead of sugar) might be a way to do it. Comments?
 
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The instructions say that I have to throw away the sample used to do the test!

Bo**ocks. I just put a sterile hydrometer in the fermentation vessel...far easier. But if you use a separate tube then as long as you sterilise it, no harm in then pouring it back. Definitely worth taking the OG...as it helps understand how your fermentation is going and it's no bad thing to know how strong your cider is.

I was wondering about a pet nat and was thinking that adding just a moderate amount of raw juice (instead of sugar) might be a way to do it. Comments?

That would work (but hard to control, unless you know the OG of the juice). Or just bottle slightly before the gravity gets to 1.000. I do a long, cool fermentation (in a garage in Oct/Nov/Dec) and the lower temp means the cider retains quite a lot of dissolved CO2 anyway.
 
I’d be amazed if the gravity has moved meaningfully in 24hrs. I’m also amazed your apples are that ripe this early. What sort of apples are they? Doubt I’d hit 2.5% if I harvested now!
 
I’d be amazed if the gravity has moved meaningfully in 24hrs. I’m also amazed your apples are that ripe this early. What sort of apples are they? Doubt I’d hit 2.5% if I harvested now!
That's what I was assuming.
No idea what kind of apples. We did discuss this. What we do know is that the tree is about 100 years old.
However, there are lots of trees around here that are shedding their fruit. One is known to be some kind of cox.
 
Yes - it’s amazing how much it varies. My mate always makes cider on the last Saturday of October and all the apples need picking - very few on the ground.
 
9 days on the "natural" cuvée is still gently bubbling in the demijohn, although the froth from top seems to have disappeared. The cultured cuvee is in a bucket with a sealed lid, but has a very modest froth on top, and there's not been any bubbling through the airlock. It smells appley. I was wondering if the campden tablet was still active when I added the yeast, so it's struggling a bit? Or maybe the bucket seal isn't so good and the expansion is leaking out somewhere rather than forcing the water to bubble. I added some more yeast today to eliminate the first possibility.

In search of benchmark ciders, we visited the Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink festival today. There was a cider stall there - and they said that they used Bramleys in their driest cider. This is odd, because the cooking apples we looked at were far less juicy than the eaters. They said that their 100 year old tree is an usual variant of Bramley - and has a red skinned fruit.

Hoping to do a 2nd batch when our more local apples are ripe/available in more quantity.
 
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