Varieties for Sweet Cider

daemon2525(5)July 16, 2012

Does anyone have a recomendation for Sweet Cider?

I have searched the net and most "recipes" are for hard cider. I bought some at the U-Pick last fall and it was delicious.

I just built a cider press and had to test it with walmart red-delicious apples. The juice was terrible!

I have 10 trees already and room for a few more. I will order the trees next spring.

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myk1(5 IL)

Arkansas Black (from Stark because there are different varieties) makes a cider that everyone tells me is the best they've ever had.
McIntosh is a pretty standard apple you'll get simply because of how many are grown and the lack of keeping ability.
Cortland is very aromatic.

I like a blend of those three but ripening dates usually don't allow it except for grabbing a taste on the way to the fermenter.

I just got a Winesap figuring it will be a good one.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

A friend gave me some honey crisp cider that was real tasty.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:09PM
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The slight winey flavor that Russet types impart to cider is hard to beat. I always buy the one which has some in the mix. At any rate, you will have to have some tart/complex apples in the mix, Arkansas Black is a good idea too, as would be (depending on where you are) Northern Spy, Goldrush and others.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 2:31PM
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Thanks, It sounds like I may be in pretty good shape as it is. I just couldn't find any recipes. All the web sites talk about the old European varities and I thought that I might have to plant some.

I'll add Arkansas Black as I was probably going to order from Stark anyway.

It will be a couple years before mine are making apples.

I have ..

I'd still like a recipe if anyone can let me know something that they like. I'd rather have a chance at making something good to drink rather than experimenting too much.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 2:47PM
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myk1(5 IL)

Cortland is good on its own, although if you're fast it can be kind of pale because of the ability to fight off oxidizing. With 3 trees it would make a good base.
I'm thawing out an old jug of Cortland right now.

Newtown Pippen is one that some highly rated professional company uses. I've used some suspected Newtown Pippens in a mix and they weren't bad. I have grafts from the suspected tree going and a known Newtown Pippen planted but none of bearing age to get an idea of how they taste on their own as cider.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Golden Russet can get syrupy sweet with a great flavor, supposed to be great for cider. I like dense apples and love it for fresh eating.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 2:16AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

The old european varieties are for hard cider but in small quantities they also add to the complexity of sweet cider. The Distillery Ciderworks here in Maryland does that. Their base for their sweet cider is often Roxbury Russet, another excellent apple for sweet cider.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Oh Daemon looking at your list I would say you may need more sour apples. Sweet cider without enough acid is cloying. By sour apples I don't mean sour and not sweet, I mean sweet and sour. Cortland and Goldrush are good somewhat sour apples, the rest of your apples look like sweets. Roxbury Russet is good because it has good acid levels. Bramley is another classic apple used to add acid to cider.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 9:29AM
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Years ago I built a large cider press in woodshop class while in high school. We had a lot of large standard apple trees so we made a lot of cider.

A friend let us pick up their windfall red delicious and we
made cider with them. Same results you got. Horrible!
The cider had a muddy/earthy flavor. Worst cider we ever made.

Years later, I worked at a commercial orchard and helped make cider every saturday in fall. 250 gallons each time.
The BEST cider comes from a mix of apple varieties. You want to blend both sweet and tart apples together when pressing.

That being said, I do find that using just McIntosh made a
decent cider. Of course I am partial to McINtosh.

I too have tried cider advertised as from "Honeycrisp". Sorry but I did not care for it nor the higher price it
commanded. Just my opinion on it. Others must like it
or nobody would be buying it.

One tip I will give you is to use warm apples when pressing. The juice flows better when warm than cold.
My home made press yielded about 2 gallons/bushel. A good
commercial press can usually yield 3-3.5 gallons per bushel. The difference depends on the grinding of the fruit. A commercial press will grind the fruit to a fine pulp, almost the consistency of applesauce. MY homemade press had a grinder that just chunked up the apples into
coarse pieces.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 11:31AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I have been wanting a Harrison for a while but don't have the room. Cummins lists it as good for both fresh or fermented cider.

Slow Foods lists it in the "Ark of Taste":

Oh what the heck, I can find room somewhere.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harrison

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 9:00PM
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alan haigh

Northern Spy can add some zing for you. I have a client who has a cider mill and grows his apples for the purpose. He charges a lot for his "gourmet" cider and uses a lot of N. Spy with Golden Russet along with smaller quantities of several other varieties. Golden Russet, while being a shy juice producer, is extremely high sugar and very rich- the Spy balances it out.

Unfortunately both varieties are slow to come into bearing and N. Spy is a challenge to train.

I have read of Golden Russet often being a major component of prize winning ciders.

The name of the Santa Cruz based cider company that uses Newtown Pippin escapes me, begins with an M. They used to brag that it was this apple that gave their cider special character. I think the variety probably does better in warmer climates than yours, however.

If I wanted to add tartness I'd use Siberian crab or some other productive crab apple in the mix. Crabs produce a very high brix and highly acid juice.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 5:57AM
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