Since we won’t have apples of our own for another three years while our trees mature, we’ve taken to buying them by the bushel from a local orchard. Even though it was the last week in January, there were still plenty left in cold storage to run through the press.
We had some friends over who are also cider/homebrew geeks (even more so than us, so I should say we had some mentors over) to help with the pressing and fermentation experiments. We started out with 12 bushels of apples, which ultimately yielded 22 gallons of juice. Not bad for fruit that was picked 3+ months ago.
Last time, we used Hefeweizen yeast are were very pleased with the results. Will also left two carboys out for natural fermentation, and while he loved the “local” brew (he’s a geuze guy), it was a bit too funky for me. This time our friends picked up Trappist, Belgium White Ale and English Ale yeast.
There’s just something so satisfying about making your own alcohol. Unfortunately, while the juice is bubbling its way towards hard cider in the relatively temperature-controlled environs of my downstairs bathroom, the house smells a bit like an apple farted. For the next month, we’ll be able to blame it on the yeast.