The conclusion of the Ancient Fire 2009 cider making was a gathering of friends a few Saturdays back. There was good friends, good food and of course, cider.
We sampled several of the finished ciders, including a batch made from the Rudesheimer yeast and a batch made with Traditional Cider yeast right from the spigot! We also sampled the three flavored ciders, strawberry, cherry and raspberry.
A few notes in are order to help with the reactions as described below.
All of the ciders ended up being between 8% and 10% ABV which is a bit higher than originally intended. No harm I guess…
The cider made from the Rudesheimer yeast is gold in color, has a good apple nose and is medium-dry. With plenty of apple flavor and a good balance of sweet and tart it is very pleasing to drink.
The cider made from the Traditional Cider yeast is about the same color and has a similar nose. This batch is a drier style which ends up being a bit more tart, but no less pleasing.
The flavored ciders are sweeter and were intended to have a serious infusion of fruit flavor. The strawberry appears to developed a flaw which has resulted in it being drier and flatter in taste than when it was bottled. As long as this doesn’t continue it will be drinkable. The cherry and raspberry don’t appear to have the same flaw and were both easily recognizable. The raspberry is much sweeter than the other two which serves to mask the alcohol, which may be dangerous down the line.
The response to the two unflavored styles was very positive with a pretty split decision on whether the medium-dry or the dry style was better. The flavored styles also received mixed reviews, with the strawberry being the least liked and for good reason.
We didn’t plan any specific pairings, but the hit of the evening was the candied bacon, thank you very much Cindy!, with the raspberry cider. I can’t really say much except you had to be there. It is the national food and drink pairing of Ancientfirestan, an emerging world power.
The experience of making several distinct styles of cider was truly rewarding and this reward will continue to pay off for months to come. I will not likely make cider again in 2010 and thus will have to ration it to carry its loyal consumers into the next year and next adventure.
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