Cyder Production (Now)
The principle of cider making today is the same as in Norman times; we still need to mill the apples to extract juice for fermentation so we do that now with large Swiss hydraulic apple presses. Where things have really changed is how we handle the juice once it is off the presses. No longer do we rely on the yeast of the apple; spontaneous fermentations can produce wonderful cyders, but also some stinkers! We add a Champagne yeast to all of our fermentations to efficiently ferment sugar to alcohol and ensure all the natural aroma and flavour of the apple shines through. Our fermentations are also a bit quicker, but we make sure they don’t ferment too quickly – otherwise the alcohol can be quite rough tasting and the yeast can stress at high temperature. We control this in large stainless steel vats akin to wine makers.
We can now process as much fruit in a day as we would have in a season a century ago.
Once fermentation is complete, we allow the yeast to settle and then pump the cider in to a clean vessel where it is held at 10ºC or below until required for blending. Blending is where the artistry comes in, and is one aspect of Aspall cyder making that hasn't changed. The human eye, nose and tongue take centre stage. All our base cyders are tasted on a weekly basis before final blending, and every batch produced is tasted by our cider tasting team before being bottled or kegged.