Apple Harvest- What to do?

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CortneyD

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Hi All!
I'm looking for a bit of input because it looks like (knock on wood) we are going to get a great apple harvest this year. Since I'm so new to wine making, apple wine isn't something I've made OR tasted yet. My husband and I really enjoy dry ciders and we have access to some tart/cider/crabapple varieties in addition to what we have on the property.

My question to you all is, if you had a great harvest of apples, which would you make? Does a dry apple wine taste remotely like cider profiles? Is cider making markedly more work than wine making? Is apple wine flavorful and crisp or a more muted profile? Have you made both and what is your preference? Is there a recipe for one or the other that you've had good success with?

I know all of this boils down to our taste, but since I have no tasting experience with apple wine, only ciders, I'm hoping y'all can weigh in with your thoughts and preferences. Thanks!
 

FlamingoEmporium

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I just went to fly creek cider mill outside cooperstown. They had some great wines we sampled that were blends of apple wine. Apple/Raspberry Apple/cranberry Apple/black currant (yum) and plain apple.

experiment and make several different kinds.
some were dry, and some were semi sweet. Depends on how you like your wine and how you make it.
 

VinesnBines

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I like cider much better than apple wine. I like English/Cornish cloudy ciders; I like slightly carbonated ciders; apple wine is just bland in comparison. Go buy a bottle of good apple wine (someone else will have to recommend) and see what you think. Everyone can give you an opinion but you have to decide for your tastes.
 

CortneyD

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I just went to fly creek cider mill outside cooperstown. They had some great wines we sampled that were blends of apple wine. Apple/Raspberry Apple/cranberry Apple/black currant (yum) and plain apple.

experiment and make several different kinds.
some were dry, and some were semi sweet. Depends on how you like your wine and how you make it.
If we get a good enough harvest I think I will try doing some experimenting with both wine and cider since I'll have the carboys to accommodate it.

How did you like the plain apple compared to the blends? Did it have a similar flavor profile to a hard cider?
 

CortneyD

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I like cider much better than apple wine. I like English/Cornish cloudy ciders; I like slightly carbonated ciders; apple wine is just bland in comparison. Go buy a bottle of good apple wine (someone else will have to recommend) and see what you think. Everyone can give you an opinion but you have to decide for your tastes.
I like the same ciders as you, so I'm thinking ciders are the way forward for us. I will take your recommendation about the apple wine... and I'll happily take recommendations for a good one from anyone willing to share.
 

Raptor99

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Make cider! It is much like making wine, except the need to crush and press the apples. You might be able to find a local homebrew shop where you can rent an apple press for a day.

What variety of apples do you have? The key to good cider is to have a blend of sweet/tart/bitter apples. Read through some of the posts on the cider forum for ideas.
 

CortneyD

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Make cider! It is much like making wine, except the need to crush and press the apples. You might be able to find a local homebrew shop where you can rent an apple press for a day.

What variety of apples do you have? The key to good cider is to have a blend of sweet/tart/bitter apples. Read through some of the posts on the cider forum for ideas.
I have a Whitney Crab, McIntosh, Wealthy, Cortland, and Pewaukee, but I do have some local orchards where I can get a few lbs. of something extra tart. I'll look into renting the apple press, IDK if our local guy has one for rent, but there might be some local options. Would it be possible to use a less conventional method like a food processor and a mesh bag???
 

VinesnBines

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Good cider almost requires a cider mill. I have two in pieces. I would love to have time to refurbish and still have apples to crush. Maybe someday I'll replant the orchard.
 

CortneyD

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What about apfelwein? Anyone made that recently? I scoured the forum for past stuff, but I haven't seen anything recent...
 

Rice_Guy

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* cider and wine are on the same map, this is a legal definition on how much tax exists.
* several apples I recognize on your list are table apples, I would like to sample the Whitney crab you can get, ,,, cider frequently has tannic varieties mixed in. The tannin provides long lasting flavor notes and counter balances the sweet flavors
* taste the crabs, if the tannin is high they are worth the while, otherwise why bother? The crabs I use are a decorative Prairie Fire which are fairly dry/ pulpy, sweet (1.095) and nice tannins. Tannin will change as the crab ripens, more green should be more astringent flavor. I wind up steeping them like grape skins to get the tannins out. 5% gets close to commercial/ European cider tannin levels
* I like bouchet (carmelized honey) in my apple. To increase the apple aroma back sweeten with frozen concentrate.
* to me if ten gallons or less freeze the apple then press with an ordinary basket press. If over 50 gallons a grinder is nice. A grinder will not touch decorative like Prairie Fire
* I can buy acid from a bottle, I don’t go out of my way for acid varieties! I d look for aromatics and tannin and pink flesh. Some ciders have malolactic run which again tends to say why look for high acid.
* apples are easy to graft and scion wood is inexpensive
* this year I put in one cinnamon stick per ten gallons that turned out to be more than a hint of cinnamon,,, ;(
* cranberry goes well, it provides long flavor notes and lots of acid.
* I think you were on the western side of the state, PM me if you would like to have some cyser and bouchet. I have come south out of the cable lake area a few vacations.
 
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SueMc

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We’re cider fans too. We have a press and a lot of fruit so make our own from a pretty good variety of apples. I’ve never had apple wine that I prefer to cider.
 

heatherd

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I'd make sparkling cider if I had access to apples. I've made it before and the process is fairly easy if you're making it dry. You have to use heavier-duty bottles like the flip-lid Grolsch bottles. I agree with @Rice_Guy about using tarter apples. Here's a link to a process that works: How To Make Sparkling Cider with Just 2 Ingredients
 

BigDaveK

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I made cider for years. Started making apple wine last year and I like it better only because it's the new kid on the block. Forced to use almost all Granny Smith and, as it turns out, I will definitely continue to do so.

A crusher and press are a necessity for wine and cider. And it's work, but worth it. As I recall a 5 gallon batch of cider needed about 110 lbs of apples. Letting it rest overnight before using will get a fair amount of sediment. And yellow jackets will show up to help while pressing. They're more interested in the apples, never been stung.

If you make wine I suggest using 100% juice.

Experiment and have fun!
 

CortneyD

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I made cider for years. Started making apple wine last year and I like it better only because it's the new kid on the block. Forced to use almost all Granny Smith and, as it turns out, I will definitely continue to do so.

A crusher and press are a necessity for wine and cider. And it's work, but worth it. As I recall a 5 gallon batch of cider needed about 110 lbs of apples. Letting it rest overnight before using will get a fair amount of sediment. And yellow jackets will show up to help while pressing. They're more interested in the apples, never been stung.

If you make wine I suggest using 100% juice.

Experiment and have fun!
So, if I'm using 100% juice for the wine, I'd still need a crusher & press if I mean to use my own apples... so that isn't any different than the work/expense of cider. I'm leaning towards just eating them and buying some local cider for booze making experiments. I'm reticent to get another big piece of equipment and my local supply guy doesn't do rentals.

When you did your 5 gallon batch using 110 lbs apples, how many trees did you have to get to that 110 lbs? We have 3 that will be good producers, but I'm not sure we can get up to 110 lbs. A crusher & press would hardly be worth it for a 1 or 3 gallon batch...
 

Rice_Guy

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I do not have a crusher (yet) and wouldn’t see the point for my ten gallons. My press is more for raspberries and goose berries and even 5 gallons of grapes (6” PVC pipe/ bar clamp). A simple apple press is a bag/ filter cloth of pulp squashed (held with threaded rod) between two pieces of plywood. (or tensioned with four bar clamps)

Yield per tree is variable is is it a standard (30’) or a dwarf (12’) or a semi and the is it irrigated or dry and sprayed or not etc. When I have visited the orchard for deer apples at $7 a bushel I have made five gallons with part of the bag. Juice quality Apples have been easy to find in Wisconsin.
 

BigDaveK

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So, if I'm using 100% juice for the wine, I'd still need a crusher & press if I mean to use my own apples... so that isn't any different than the work/expense of cider. I'm leaning towards just eating them and buying some local cider for booze making experiments. I'm reticent to get another big piece of equipment and my local supply guy doesn't do rentals.

When you did your 5 gallon batch using 110 lbs apples, how many trees did you have to get to that 110 lbs? We have 3 that will be good producers, but I'm not sure we can get up to 110 lbs. A crusher & press would hardly be worth it for a 1 or 3 gallon batch...
Exactly. The up front work is the same for both, deciding which to make at the last second.

If you have patience just regularly check places like Craig's list. And one of the few reasons I go on Facebook is to check the marketplace. And like @Rice_Guy pretty much said, if you're handy you can make something to do the job.

Also like @Rice_Guy said, yields are variable and sometimes there's nothing you can do about it. Seems like the trees take a rest every few years. And a late cold snap will devastate the blossoms.

I get most of my apples from 1 tree, a Granny Smith that I use for everything. It's about 12 years old and big! Also, a fruit picker basket is really useful. I put mine on an extendable painters pole.


Apples are heavy. I think 110 lbs filled 7-8 kitty litter buckets. The only reason I weighed them was because I was curious how many apples I would need to buy to do the same thing.

Once your trees mature a bit you'll have a boatload of apples!
 
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I put 8kg of unwashed apples through a blender (3 liter blender, 5 loads, adding minimal water for the blending to work). Added brown sugar and pectinase in each load. Dumped the mush in a mesh bag and from there into primary fermenter.

After a week I pulled out the bag and squeezed it by hand.

I let it sit for two days to settle and then moved 5.5 liters into a secondary fermentation vessel.

The dregs were absolutely awesome. Ultra sour (3.5 pH per my paper test strip) and strong apple flavor.

In a few weeks I will bottle.
 

Hazelemere

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use bentonite to control protein haze not pctin 6 days into active ferment. rack the wine into a primary and sir in 2 tbsp bentonite 2 cups boiling water in a blender for 2 minutes then add to the wine with stirring. rack the wine back into the carboy when it stops foaming. you'll need to resulphite the wine when you rack it since bentonite strips sulphite
 
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