Cider with Rosie

One of my favourite novels, by one of my favourite writers (Laurie Lee). It’s just unfortunate that I don’t know anyone called Rosie, because I am currently making some more cider and the opportunity to use the Cider With Rosie gag would not be wasted, as it has been here. My daughters’ middle names are Rose but given that they’re still at junior school, it would be considered irresponsible in most countries to give them cider.

I decided to make another cider, and in the process clear out the freezer of the remainder of last season’s juice. There was more than I thought (20L) so I only put

Cloudy with a chance of crushed earwigs

Cloudy apple juice

15 in the fermenter and decided to drink the rest. It is absolutely delicious! It’s amazing how sweet the juice from mainly cooking apples can taste – it’s very murky, but it tastes better than anything you can buy. It’s just the right balance of sweet/tart and I’ve drunk at least 2L myself in the last two days. I’m guessing that because it’s 100% organic, with no preservatives or additional sugar, it won’t last as long as shop-bought juice. I do not want to waste any of this stuff! I also gave a couple of bottles to my elderly neighbours. There is the distinct chance that there are crushed bugs in there too but my marketing people have told me not to release that information unless absolutely necessary. The kids would definitely not look at another glass of fruit juice ever again.

So, after the customary 48hr wait for the Campden tablets to do their thang, and remove all traces of natural yeast and fungal beasties, it’s time to get this shit working. The SG comes out at around 1.060 which is certainly not unhealthy, but I remain unconvinced that it is an accurate measure when using thick, almost pulpy juice. So, just to be on the safe side I raid the pantry for additional sugar. I really don’t know if there is much difference (in fermentation terms) between brown and white sugar, but I much prefer the taste of brown so we’ll go with that. I melt 250g of soft brown sugar into warm water, and by my calculations (which I got off a website ages ago, that I can no longer find), this will increase the SG by some. Just a bit of insurance really.

This time, before pitching the yeast I’ve done a decent aeration job on the must (ie pour back and forth into another container a couple of times),  something I’ve never before bothered with for cider. And on to the top of this lot goes a sachet of Mad Millie’s Cider Yeast (9g). I have no idea why it says not to hydrate it first like you do with the Safe-Ale stuff, maybe I’ll try that one day. And on goes the lid of the fermenter, and into the fermentation chamber.

Note – this is the OLD fermentation chamber, the fridge/heat mat/STC1000 combo. The much-heralded incubator is still sitting up in the garage. More on that another time.

This is going to be a plain old medium-dry apple cider (sweetened with lactose), no fucking about with ginger or lemon zest. Let’s hope it is ready to drink by Christmas – my sister is coming from the UK and it would be nice for her to taste some (last time I saw her I hadn’t started making alcohol).


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