We're finally able to imbibe in the fruits of our labor. Nine months after beginning our hard-cider making, Michaela and I bottled the lovely nectar.
We were, naturally, sampling as we mixed the various varieties together during our bottling process, and over the course of the evening, I verified, without a doubt, that it indeed has alcohol. Quite a bit in fact. I'm guessing 8 -9%. (We were aiming, originally, for somewhere in the 5% range. Oh well.)
We are so very pleased with how it turned out -- thrilled, in fact. We're very impressed with our newly discovered skills as BREWMASTERS. It's crisp, complex, and very Spanish (we even named one of the blends Contador, after the famed Spanish cyclist). In short, you wouldn't be able to purchase any American-style cider that even comes close. It's not very sweet, and any man could feel proud drinking it.
A quick recap of our process:
We picked around 700 pounds of apples back in September.
And finally, covered her parents' garage, her mom's exercise equipment, and ourselves in the concoction as we attempted to figure out our kegging carbonation method during the bottling process.
I learned that I am incapable of spelling the last name "Gyllenhaal" while drinking (we named one of the blends after the husky actor -- his name grew to 10 syllables, I believe, at one point).
Next time I'll request that Michaela choose a simpler moniker, such as, oh, I don't, know, "Adam"?*
So what's next? Well, in July, we'll hunt down a Gravenstein orchard and begin the process of attempting a sour cider, with Brett yeast. We're hoping to ramp up production significantly, for our next season, because 8 cases, shared, is simply not enough to get us through a nine-month stretch.
*Entirely coincidental that that also happens to be my boyfriend's name. I'm sure there are plenty of actors/attractive men who share that first name.