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Maybe We Shouldn’t Have Tried This At Home – Friday April 27th, 2007

July 26, 2008
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Well you think that a vintner has it easy. You think that you can do it better. Try again. These guys are not amateurs and work really hard.


As you know TSO and I endeavored to make cider last weekend. Well was it easy? Was it fun? Am I a budding Cider maven? Well it was hard work, was kinda fun, was educational and wasn't too easy.


I had made beer for years then stopped when I moved to Toronto. I was rather good at it, but grain and hops are a lot easier to deal with than fruit. Be it apples, grapes, watermelon it doesn't matter these things are tough. We bought 3 bushels of apples from Simpson Orchards which they mixed to give me a good cider(if I managed to get it right). Well that helped as I had no idea what the English equivalents are, so they did it for me. I appreciated that and when we finally got there they we just waiting for us to load up. I give them kudos and if you want to destroy your kitchen burn up a fine German appliance and test its grounding, go see them, they are really nice.


We took them to Tso's and got on our way. I am too 'cost effective' to buy a press so we used a juicer I had found at my mother's. It worked rather well, but I think we may have killed it. We filled the carboy after 2 bushels, so we stopped until I could get another carboy from my mum's. That was Wednesday and the juicer started to spark after a ½ bushel or so(maybe it had to do with the water/juice mixture all over the counter…maybe I should have cleaned it up, but the juicer is grounded) and finally blew the breaker with about 10 apples left. Well hopefully the poor thing survives the next batch as it worked rather well. I found a part source on the web,( so I can 'improve it' ) but on top of this I found it interesting that the model # was very close to the famous German machine gun from ww2 and this juicer was made in Germany…..what did they make during the war??????? “I know nothiiiing”…


Then I checked the specific gravity(no way was I going to get to 1.007 which is ~ 15% of potential alcohol…bloody English drunks cos that is where I was supposed to get to…maybe if I added 50lbs of sugar) but my wonderful hydrometer is almost unreadable and I really think the amount of pulp affected the reading. Well I am looking at ~ 5% so that should be good. Why can't they make a hydrometer which is readable?????????????? I want the digital one….yup that would help me. All I can say is that it tasted really good as cider and with some alcohol and carbonation it could be killer. I don't expect Woodchuck quality, maybe Scrumpy.


Well Monday I got a frantic call from Tso. The pulp had risen to the top (beer doesn't do this) and she was afraid that it was about to explode the carboy. Oi, it was going thru the air lock thus not allowing the CO2 to escape thus pressurizing the carboy. As I was in a meeting, she made an executive decision and removed the pulp…she said it tasted good….it looked awful as she saved it to show me… saved. It looks good but………..


I really don't know how one does mega batches…cleaning is a pain, its hard work and it makes a real mess. Remember, I'm an old beer maker and I get Mt. Cidersuvious. What did I learn from this life experience???? I know nothing about making fruit stuff and its way tougher than making beer. I also got was a deeper respect for what these winemakers go thru. Will I do it again……HELL YEAH!!

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