The first tasting

Quite nervous, actually. Don’t want this effort, not to mention a hundred bucks on equipment, to be a complete waste of time. After 3 weeks in the bottle, it’s time to taste my wares. On a Friday night, after the children are out of the picture, I reach into the fridge and remove the bottle I placed there that morning. There is quite a bit of tautness to the bottle, meaning that the contents are definitely under some pressure now – the yeasties have been hard at work consuming the priming sugar. I nervously unscrew the cap and there is a very satisfying pssssssss, as the carbon dioxide escapes. I pour it gently into a tall glass, and it looks clear. No cloudiness at all, just a lovely amber clear liquid. Really clean and fizzy like proper cider that you buy in a shop. It smells dry, not sweet. So how does it taste?

Taylor's Old Bastard cider, made in Maori Hill

First bottle opened for tasting

It’s very dry, almost tart. The complete antithesis of Rekorderlig and the other ‘ladies’ ciders that are so prevalent. Possibly a little drier than I would have wanted, but definitely a success! Bloody hell, it’s possible to make drinkable, really quite impressive cider from little more than apples and yeast. Nature is fucking cool, it has to be said. I’m pretty sure there are no off-tastes due to contamination or anything, it just needs a little more sweetness. I think next time, seeing as these are cooking apples, we need additional sugars for sweetness, not just for the yeastie’s dinner. I’m quite drunk after half a bottle – this stuff is at least as strong as the 6.5% I calculated on the final gravity (and there’s every likelihood that it gained another half a percent in the bottle as it was carbonating).

I must now come up with a name for this creation, and after a bit of umming and aahing, I decide to go with ‘Taylor’s Old Bastard’. This must be said in a West Country aaaccent or it doesn’t have the desired effect. I quickly knock up a label in Photoshop and put a couple more bottles in the fridge. This stuff is not going to last too long, shame I wasn’t able to get more than 10L together. Next year we’ll have to make sure we get ALL the fruit.

First cider is a SUCCESS!


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