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Has anybody experimented with blending different varieties of apple for "hard cider"?

Locally I have an apple variety called "Blenheim Orange" and also an unidentified cider apple. Using just the cider apple produces a very vigorous fermentation even at 20°C but the result is pretty bland. The B.O. apple ferments much slower and unpredictably but produces a more interesting flavour.

I'm trying a blend of the two this year and just wondering what success others may have had in blending eating / cooking apples for cider making?

Thanks.

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I once bought ready to ferment juice from an Orchard, and they mixed 3 different variety of apples to make the juice. I think it is common practice.

The goal is to get a balance of acidity and taste. Since sugar is fermented, the acidity of the apple remains and becomes stronger, so mixing different types helps to balance this.

I think you really need to try it to know what works best. If you can split your batch into 2 or 3 small fermenters, you can try different proportion of each variety of apples (50%/50% or 75%/25%).

Other options

Some people also add some dry malt to their cider and even some hops. You might consider these options as well.

Addendum

I remember using 2 fermenters with the same juice using different yeast in each (one dry, one liquid). And the results where slightly different. So yes, the yeast also has an impact on the final result. The liquid yeast (I think it was WYEAST 4766 for Cider) produced a more mellow cider, better in my opinion.

  • Hi Philippe, I guess my issue is not helped by trying to use the natural yeast on the apple rather than add a commercial sachet of yeast, so I can get massive variation in fermentation between different barrels of the same juice. For instance I have 4no. 5 gallon barrels fermenting currently. Two are behaving and bubbling nicely, one is noticeably slower and the final one is not fermenting at all after 10 days. All 4 were from apples pressed at the same time with the same general mix of varieties. None of this is a problem but shows the variation one can get for no apparent reason. – chris221 Sep 19 '18 at 13:26
  • Yes, yeast can have an impact on the final result as well. I edited my answer. – Philippe Sep 19 '18 at 14:02
  • I guess it's part of the fun....a bit of science and a bit of magic! – chris221 Sep 19 '18 at 15:27
  • And don't forget more bitter apples. – chthon Sep 19 '18 at 17:35

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