My first trial batch of hard apple cider has finished primary fermentation and has been moved to an empty wine bottle to start aging and mellowing. “Primary fermentation” is the period while the yeast are still actively converting sugar to alcohol and the mixture is producing bubbles. This batch was an extremely simple mixture: A bottle of apple cider, some Ale yeast, and nothing else. I tasted it after primary fermentation, as I was transferring it to the new bottle, and it’s pretty good. It has a lot of tangy ale flavor, as would be expected from the choice of yeast used, but it also has a decent apple background. The alcohol content isn’t too high, but then again I didn’t add any extra sugar so there’s a limit to how high it could have gotten.
I’ve opted for a “still” cider for my first batch, as opposed to a “sparkling” one. The difference, of course, is carbonation. This first batch is more like an apple wine than a commercial apple cider or any sort of malt beverage, and I think I like it that way.
I’ve been told that these things get even better with age, so I’m going to let it sit for a while. In the mean time, I’ve got a second batch started that I’ll write about soon.