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Score -- Kingston Black apples!

I picked a peck of Kingston Black! So now I can finally find out what all the fuss is about. It’s a delicious tasting apple to eat out of hand, actually – not terribly tannic as I was expecting, but just a good balance of sweet and tart and low tannin, with a very pleasant appley flavor. I’ll eat a couple more then juice the rest. Actually I tasted 32 heritage apple varieties today, picked up 3 pecks total of 6 favorites, including the Kingston Black, with which I shall juice and make a very small batch of single varietal hard cider, English style. The others included Ellison’s Orange, Golden Noble, Wynoochee Early, Atlas, and Washington Strawberry. Some are good eaters, some will go to cider. I think I’ll be making 3 different kinds of cider this season… first Kingston Black, also a mixture of various other apples for another, and finally one with straight Ada Rainbow Orchard cider, as they make the best tasting unpasteurized cider on this planet. All small 1-2 gallon batches. That should do it for this season’s experimentation. For the Kingston, I’ll pick up some sort of English cider yeast, haven’t decided yet. For the others, good old reliable Cote des Blancs is the only way to go.

What are the rest of you cider geeks up to? I know there’s one or two of you out there… Newbs need not reply (although there’s nothing stopping you…).

I on top of my normal cider blend I am also running seperate batches of Kingston Blk, JonaGold, and Akansas Blk.

I figured you’d be up to something like that, Baratone. I’m guessing Jonagold and Arkansas Black should make some great single varietals.

I finally planted 4 apple trees this spring. But for now, I’m scrounging apples to make another huge batch of cider. We’re trying to dry and sauce as many as we can for winter fruit, but the rest will go to cider. It just amazes me to see how many apple tree owners don’t use the fruit.

I did a bunch of 5 gallon batches back in 2008, and we’re just now finishing up the last bottles of it. I’ve done a couple batches in the past few years and kegged them, which is much nicer IMO, because it’s easy to backsweeten.

From my experience, I’d agree that Cote des Blancs is the way to go for simplicity. I’ve been curious about how a true cider yeast would work out though. Either way, I’m excited to be doing some more pressing. This year, I want to try out a few ‘graf’ type recipes.

Dave - your apple smoked ale recipe looks pretty killer. I plan to do the one from HBD too. As a big Dark Tower fan, I couldn’t NOT make some graf! :cheers:

I’m a newbie to the hard cider, but been pressing sweet for a while. I’ve got an old orchard with Northern Spy, Russet & some Macs. Playing around with the mix makes suprising differences. Generally I like to sweat the spy’s and macs for a week for ⅔ of the batch and then do ⅓ off-the-tree russets. The result is crisp, dry cider, not too sweet tasting but more drinkable than if I sweat the whole pick. Specific gravity around 1.045. Hopefully my hard cider attempt works out!

Lucky score, they are so hard to find. Maiden ROck Apples has some great varieties but they use them for their own cider. I haven’t made cider in a couple years but plan on 2 batches this year, depending on availability. Let us know how the Kingstons turn out.

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