I have been making cider and cyser in small batches since 2008. During that time, I have kept notes haphazardly, and stored them in semi-random, inconvenient files on my computer. This blog is a way to organize those notes a bit, and to share the things that I have learned by doing – especially since my mostly hands-off and natural style of cider making seems to be fairly unusual. I have done a lot of research about cider, mead and wine making over the years and I find that I disagree with a lot of the published material. I constantly run across “recipes” that involve ingredients like “acid blend” and maltodextrin. Cider making isn’t about chemicals, it’s about fruit, dammit! A cider “recipe” should be more about doing things than mixing things.
I make a serious effort to avoid chemicals in this entire process. I collect fruit from trees that have not been sprayed. Some of the trees are barely maintained at all, although we do try to trim ours and the nearby neighbors trees ever year or two. Beyond that basic care, we don’t do anything to the trees. We don’t thin the fruit. We don’t keep the deer and horses from eating the low hanging fruit. We just let them be and they do their thing.
Recently (2012) I have started making straight mead as well. Not only do I find that I really enjoy drinking dry, still mead, but I find that having a happy bubbler or two in the house makes me happy. I can only make cider in the fall, when the fruit is ready, but honey keeps well. I can make mead year round, and that means I can keep a happy bubbler in the house most of the time.