I just recently tapped my latest offering of my annual cider project. This is the 2010 apples. This is a blend of Cortland, Macintosh, and Golden Russet apples. Unfortunately, because of my travel schedule and the weather in 2010, I missed any crab apples this year. I also did not get a chance to ferment these separately, so they were blended, and fermented in one carboy, producing about 4.5 gallons. I did sulphite and ferment with Cotes du Blanc yeast. Some of my notes are missing, but the OG of the cider was 1.060. The FG was 1.000, meaning this cider clocks in at 7.8% ABV. To help account for the lack of tannins, I added 1/4 oz of medium toast American Oak chips in secondary, and let this sit for 10 months, before racking it to a keg, and force carbonating it. There was no clarifying agents added to this, just good old fashion time.
Tasting — Crystal clear, well carbonated. The aroma has a round apple aroma followed by a toasty oak. The taste is at first very apply, followed by some vanilla, and then the oak. It is very dry and crisp, with a mild astringency from tannins, but not much acidic bite. It has a fairly full mouth feel, and coats the mouth well.
Critique — Ok, I like the crispness, and the roundness/fullness. However, it does not have the strong apple nose my prior cider had. The oak I think adds a roundness to the cider that I enjoy, but I can see that it may detract a bit from the apple. However, I do like how it rounds out the cider, and will likely oak my ciders in the future. The clarity is the result of the long term aging. Always fun to make, these ciders will continue to be a tradition.