One bushel (48 lbs.) fresh picked tart and sweet apples, 4 Campden tablets lbs. 2 teaspoons pectic enzyme, 4 gallons Musselman’s fresh pressed apple juice, 7 ½ teaspoons Fermax yeast nutrient, and Safcider dry yeast
We were given about a bushel (maybe a little more) of fresh picked apples. The exact varieties were unknown but the green apples tasted similar to a granny smith apple and the red apples tasted similar to a braeburn apple.
We did not have a press, so we blended each batch of cored apples with a small bit of store bought Musselman’s brand apple juice into a pulp. We later ran the pulp through a strainer and kept only the juice. A juice press would have been more efficient and the yield would probably have been better, but this process worked. Using 1.5 gallons of Musselman’s brand apple juice and our supply of apples we yielded 4 gallons of cider. We added 4 Campden tablets and 2 teaspoons of pectic enzyme (the standard ratios per gallon) and left covered with a towel overnight. We created a yeast starter using the remaining half-gallon of Musselman’s apple juice and the Safecider dry yeast. After 24 hours we topped off with 2 gallons of Musselman’s apple juice and pitched the yeast. Before sealing we added the yeast nutrient and aerated by stirring vigorously. Before bottling we combined half of a cup of Splenda with 1 cup of water, brought it to a boil, let cool, and then added (5/8th cups of the sweetener solution) to taste to back sweeten before adding the priming sugar.
The Safecider did not show signs of heavy activity in the starter and the yeast did seem to be a slow starter, but it was working. Transferred to secondary after 2 weeks.
The cider was very fresh and well balanced. The taste started sweet and ended tart with a little bite. At times the cider almost tasted spiced, even though it isn’t. At secondary the cider has a wonderful sweet and tart smell with a hint of a vanilla body to it. The taste starts tart and ends sweetly sour, but has a lacking watery body to it in between. I think with some carbonation and maybe a little sweetening this could be something I might crave. After a few more sips it grows on you. Before sweetening during bottling it had continue to fine out into a very smooth wine, however the acid was still high and gave a puckering effect on the cheeks for the first sip.