Cider Making 2023/24

Successful NCOG Cider Pressing for 2023

We had our annual Cider Club pressing on Sunday 26th Nov.

It took place at a new site. Mike Taylor’s place near Wigton and we were made very welcome by Mike and his family.

Eighteen people booked over the whole day – but there were also visitors and friends of NCOG who showed up to support the event. The weather was very kind the whole day. No rain and not too cold. A typical Cumbrian Autumn day.

A steady stream of people bringing apples for the community cider resulted in 180 litres of cider which will mature over the year for packaging next fall. This was well down on the 360 litres produced last year. This reflected most people’s experience of the apple growing year which, with some exceptions, was very poor due to early frosts and a very wet summer.

Technical Detail

We had some technical questions on the use of Campden tablets at the start of the brewing process which Mark was able to clarify when he turned up.

Campden tablets are used to kill off any strains of nasties in the juice which could get a jump on the yeast and interfere with the fermentation process.

Basically, you have a choice. If you add Campden tablets to the max recommended dosage then you need to wait 24 hours before adding yeast to allow it to take effect. However, if you decide to go for a wild fermentation use half the dosage (and obviously, no yeast is required).

Our two vats of cider (100L & 80L) had a ph readings of 3.10 & 3.07 which were judged to be so acidic that no nasties would prevail therefore no Campden tablets were used. We did add cultured yeast (Lalvin 71b) to the 80L vat and we’re going with natural wild yeast for the 100L. Now it’s just a question of waiting.

Report by John Nutley; Sunday, 26 November 2023

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