One of the things I like best about belonging to multiple homebrew clubs is that it has given me the opportunity to do things that I wouldn't have done on my own, such as fermenting fresh from the orchard cider.
Last year Shawn arranged for a group of us to travel to Oak Glen to collect fresh cider to turn into hard cider. He even called ahead to have one of them, Law's, press from unfiltered or preserved cider just for us to use. This is the best type of cider to use when making hard cider as it is free from anything, you can even leave it be and it will self ferment.
I had a great time last year and enjoyed the first cider I made so for the second year in a row Bonnie and I got in the car and took the girls up to Oak Glen to get more cider. Bonnie's anniversary party for work had prevented us from joining Shawn's group but he had picked me up a couple of gallons from Law's that I could let go wild.
We left mid Sunday morning for hour and a half drive up to Oak Glen. We ended up having pretty bad luck weather wise and it was cold and rainy when we arrived, in fact it even snowed a couple of times.
|Bonnie and Sydnie staying dry|
Our first stop was at Law's where I picked up an additional 2 gallons of cider as Bonnie had read that one of the mills, Riley's at Los Rios Rancho was closed. Law's cider is said to be some of the best on the mountain and they still had a couple of gallons left over from the week before.
Our next stop was at one of our favorite places on the mountain, Snowline... unfortunately we weren't able to really enjoy it as there was snow on the ground and in the air. The first thing I did was grab a fresh dozen of thier awesome mini doughnuts and walk around the store. After grabbing a gallon of apple cider for myself and a gallon each of the fruit blends for Eric, Bonnie and I bundled up and took the girls for a little walk. It didn't last long as we decided it was too cold and wet to stay out so we grabbed another dozen doughnuts and headed over to Riley's at Los Rios Rancho to see if it was really closed.
It wasn't. Having already acquired 5 gallons of cider (2 Wild from Law's via Shawn, 2 unfiltered from Law's and a gallon from Snowline) I didn't need anymore so I just grabbed a tri-tip sandwich to split with Bonnie before heading back down the mountain. I believe the closed issue might have been Riley's Farm and not Riley's at Los Rios Rancho, oh well better luck next year.
|Snow at Snow-Line|
Upon returning I sanitized a carboy and combined in it the 3 tame gallons along with 3 campden tablets to kill off anything present in the cider. The cider sat overnight so that the campden could do it's work. The next day I feed it some nutrient and hit it with O2 before pitching WLP775 English Cider Yeast.
To date I've been feeding it and the wild gallons nutrient every few days. I even built a special airlock system for the wild gallons that will come in handy later for mead. It should be ready in a few months.
|Snow-Line's line up|
|Ingredients for this years blend|
|Tucked away with the wild cider|
|Airlock system for the wild gallons|