- 75 trees. 18 bushel. 2.5gal/bushel. 45 gal. year 6. 17.3 P. small dry picked late. Nov 18
2021 75 trees. 40 bushel. 3.4gal/bushel. 135 gal. year 7. 13.6 P. small picked early. Sept 13
2021 75 trees. 135 gal. 40 bushel. 14.5P. Nov 5 harvest
The Athens West End Ciderhouse started its first official ferment of local SE Ohio Apples in the fall of 2013. Initially we worked with two orchards buying 50 bushel at a time with little choice or knowledge of variety, we went with whatever was available at the time. Oftentimes, we would take mostly seconds after the sorting for market apples, which we still do. The blend usually has a nice variety of apples to make a very pleasing soft and hard cider.
In short order our tastes and knowledge of hard cider became more refined, Deanna and I started searching for apple varieties that had additional qualities that could supply the additional flavor profiles we wanted to create.
Ohio has pretty much fallen into the rut of only growing apples that are use specific to eating, fresh cider and baking. This is not all a bad thing, it makes economic sense for the orchard to go to market with the pretty apples, press the seconds, feed the hogs, cattle, and deer with the rest. It has kept small family orchards in existence.
We started playing with single varietal ferments in 2014, Granny Smith was our first single. We liked it. We also tried Goldrush and we liked that even more. Enterprise was soon to follow. One of our friends who owns Hugus Fruit Farm in Rushville, OH asked early on what varieties we would like to have that he does not grow. From my list he ended up planting 75 Kingston Black and 75 Roxbury Russet. We had a handshake deal that the Ciderhouse would buy all the apples, eliminating any worry he may have about trying sell a bittersharp apple in an eating apple world.
2021 was year 6 for these trees and that bought their first harvest. Low yields both in fruit and juice volume but high sugar was the hallmark of the first production harvest. And the flavors!
Rich, full, tannic, herbal, spicey, Oh My! Even the color is vibrant. Complex is the thing one can surely say. The 2022 harvest has come in for the Kingston Blacks, we harvested a little early in hopes to make the pressing easier, (2.5gal/bushel in ‘21 from golf ball apples at 17.3 brix. This year we hit 3.4gal/bushel at 13.6 brix with double the volume of apples and a bit larger). Maybe not the right choice to pick early? I’ll know when the ferment is complete.
The 2022 harvest of the Roxbury Russet aren’t in yet this year, but if last year was a teaser, it’s gonna be pretty awesome! In 2021 we picked 40 bushel from 75 trees and ended with 135 gallons of juice at 14.5 brix. Crisp, bright, just beautiful.
This year, 2022, we are playing with a couple additional single variety ciders. These include Cortland and Gala. Look for these on draft and in bottles next year!More Blog Posts