CRAFT cider making is perhaps at about the same stage as craft brewing was 25 years ago.
To get the best out of craft cidermaking you need to get a grasp of the following basic subjects
Cider making history
You can't understand where you are unless you know where you're coming from and craft cider has a long and interesting tradition.
Selection of craft cider making equipment
Choose wisely or make your own cider press, scratter, pumps and craft cider containers.
Choice of fruit trees, their cultivation and orchard management
Getting the right balance of cider fruit trees for blending and to counteract biennialism is crucial.
Techniques of juicing and fermentation including the use of yeast
Whether to use added yeast or wild yeasts.
Blending, techniques for producing sparkling cider including carbonation, bottle conditioning and the champagne method, cask conditioning and the production of sweet ciders including the French and English tradition of keeving.
When things go wrong
Problem identification and problem solutions including what to do with 'stuck' fermentations, 'off' flavours, hazes & deposits and information about fining and filtration.
Apple juice making, preservation and storage
Cider vinegar production
Setting out to make cider that is destined to become a craft cider vinegar.
Differences between craft cider making and perry.
Composition of apple juice
It's not just apples, oh no.
Vintage cider apple cultivars and their properties
So called vintage cider apples are those which have a combination of properties that make them a premium choice for carft cider making.
Sugar content specific gravity and potential alcohol
Measure and adjust to get it right.
Addition of sulphur dioxide / Campden tablets
An optional route to go down is the addition of sulphur which must be indicated by law.
CO2 pressure & bottling advice
We don't want any dangerous explosions so the important thing is to measure the sugar content remaining in your craft cider. Don't bottle at more than 1.005 Specific Gravity unless you have proper champagne bottles and don't add sugar to try and create sparlking craft cider unless you can calculate exatly the maximum potential pressure.
Cider fining with bentonite & gelatin
Now we are getting away from the concept of craft cider and heading more in the direction of Industrial cider making.
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