[NAFEX] Cider Making

Claude Jolicoeur cjoli at gmc.ulaval.ca
Tue Feb 19 12:34:08 EST 2008

At 11:54 2008-02-19, you wrote:
>Does anyone have any resources on types of apples to grow for great
>cider making?  After reading several things I am pretty much confused,
>bitters, sharps, bittersharps, sweets, bittersweets........
>I am trying to make some decisions on what to grow and now I don't
>know.  I just planted several Arkansas Blacks on a dwarving rootstock.
>Oh btw, I am in Arkansas.  Zone 7a-7b.

My first suggestion is to become member of the Cider Digest. This is a 
great place to get information on cider - like the equivalent of this list, 
but oriented on cider only. It comes in digest form, about once a week.
>Send ONLY articles for the digest to cider at talisman.com.
>Use cider-request at talisman.com for subscribe/unsubscribe/admin requests.
>     When subscribing, please include your name and a good address in the
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>Archives of the Digest are available at www.talisman.com/cider

To answer more directly to your question, I would say your best cider 
apples will be those that grow well and mature to their best at your place. 
I make excellent cider with Cortland apples, but don't try it, Cortland 
doesn't make good cider down South in warmer climate.

The best cider will generally come from old unfertilised standard trees, 
small and scabby apples, late maturing apples that contain high level of 
sugar (aim for a gravity of 1.060 or better). You need to think differently 
when you grow apples for cider.

True cider apples, bittersweets in particular, are nice and, for me, bring 
some welcomed diversity in aroma and taste - however, I don't find them 
essential for making an excellent cider. In my cold climate, the English 
cider apples have a hard time to mature properly. Actually, I get better 
results with a chance seedling that I found which is a mild bittersweet - I 
call it the "Douce de Charlevoix" (could be translated as Charlevoix 
Sweet). This is to say that if you look around you, you might find a better 
cider apple for your site than any of the official cider apples.

Good luck!

Claude Jolicoeur

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