All right, I’m finally back to finish up The Ugly Apple Cider Company post. I know, you’ve all been on the edge of your seat for weeks, just waiting for this moment.
As promised, I’ve gotten the hard apple cider recipe (WAH! I know, it’s a PDF! get over it and download). The recipe was provided to him by Reed Antis of Saratoga Zymurgist, and I’m not sure where he got it or if he created it himself. Regardless, Reed was very helpful to my family throughout this process- so props to Reed and a sincere “thank you” from my family.
In the end, my dad made two batches of hard cider. One was a true “ugly apple” version, which used the wild apples from my parents house. The other was still a home-made cider, but the cider used in the fermentation process was purchased (from Borden’s Farm in Schaghticoke, NY). After the fermentation process produced a nice clear cider (takes about 30 days usually, sometimes more) of each, they were ready for bottling- but more importantly, ready for tasting.
I should mention here that cider can be fermented with different kinds of yeast. Some yeasts produce a more hard cider beer, while others produce more of a sparkling wine taste. My family went the sparkling wine route.
Moving on…my parents held a little get together with the friends that supplied the apple press for the first round of tasting. A blind test was conducted to see who preferred the true Ugly Apple Cider VS store-bought cider. Of the four, three preferred The Ugly Apple Cider and surprisingly, the oddball out was my dad, who preferred the store-bought (though everyone still liked both).
I was able to experience the taste test on my own short after this. I was given two glasses of cider with the two varieties. Visually, one cider was much lighter than the other, and of the two this lighter one also had a much more dry taste. The dark cider was more reminiscent of apples and was sweeter. I preferred the darker and sweeter cider, which turned out to be of The Ugly Apple variety. That being said, they are both tasty and can go down smooth (maybe a little too much).
Like myself with wine making, my dad has now had the experience of making his own alcoholic beverage and is eager to make more. He is exploring the thought of a pear cider next. The process of cider making and wine making appear to be quite similar and also is not as technically complicated as beer making. For any of the three, once the initial investment is made into the equipment, the entire process becomes very cost-effective. Plus, if you plan it right you can give out whatever you produce as a unique gift.
(I apologize for the lack of pictures…Mom, can you help me out with that?)