A Sobering Love Story of an Asexual Fungus and It’s Wanton Sugar Desires

Posted on:

Our story begins with a sex-craved hungry little critter looking for dinner. Its full name is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but all its friends call it yeast. Yeast is a better fit because its full name is a misnomer. Saccharomyces implies that yeast is a sugar-mold (sacchar=sugar, myces= mold). But no…the hero of our story is actually a single-cell fungus with a strong yearning for glucose. Perhaps yeasts’ parent did not realize it produced a direct clone of itself and named its exact replica after a fling it wished to have. You see, sadly, yeast reproduce all alone by “budding” or by each cell dividing into two, then two into four, etc…they are unable to feel the joy of …

Sorry about that, sitting down to write on a specific topic often demands embellishment. Lists are difficult for me, so much info in so little space=boring… Reading Tom Robbins doesn’t help. I’ll start over.

Cider, Mead, and Their Production

Hard cider is an alcoholic beverage produced by the fermentation of apple juice, while mead is from the fermentation of honey. Fermentation is the anaerobic process of breaking down carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids. This process is performed by yeast. Yeast eats sugar and excretes alcohol and co2. So beer, cider, mead, and wine all contain a small percentage of yeast urine. Bread rises due to yeast flatulence.

The science of fermentation is known as zymology or zymurgy. Our job as a zymologist is to provide the perfect environment for yeast to do its job, IE…eat/excrete. This includes ensuring the correct number of yeast cells per ml, temperature, ph and titratable acid, initial O2 in solution, and nutrients in the form of FAN (free amino nitrogen) are all at the proper levels for a happy yeast life.

Hard Cider production process:

  1. Apples are harvested/collected upon complete ripeness.
  2. Apples are crushed into a pomace similar to a slightly chunky apple sauce.
  3. The apples are then pressed under pressure to separate the juice from the solids.
  4. The juice or “must” is then tested for sugar content, acid, and ph, nutrients and o2.
  5. Adjustments are made and the proper quantity of yeast is added to the solution.
  6. The must is left to ferment for a minimum of 1 week.
  7. After the ferment is complete, the roughly 12% sugar in solution will have been eaten by the yeast and there is now very low to no sugar and 6 to 6.5% Alcohol by volume.
  8. The hard cider is now decanted or racked or siphoned into another container, leaving the yeast, proteins and other sediments behind.
  9. At this point you can sweeten, spice, flavor, carbonate, or just package the cider.

Hard Cider production tools:

  • Orchard picking/collection containers
  • apple rinser
  • apple crusher
  • cider press
  • hydrometer and refractometer – to measure the sugar content
  • Ph meter and titration kit – to measure Ph and lactic acid
  • oxygen or air pump – to oxygenate the must
  • tubing, hoses, liquid pump – to transfer must and finished cider
  • fermenter – large airtight container to hold all the liquid for fermentation
  • Brite tank – to allow for sedimentation (self-clearing) and serving

Mead production is a similar process, minus the crushing/pressing.

There are many beverages we plan on producing at the Ciderhouse, they include:

  • Hard Sweetened Carbonated Cider
  • Hard Dry Carbonated Cider
  • Hard Dry Still Cider
  • Hard Dry Oak -Aged Cider
  • Peary – A Hard Dry Carbonated Cider made from Pears
  • Meads of all types with all these same variables and some with fruit and/or spices

We will have two stainless steel 120-gallon fermenters visible along with 5 or so five-gallon glass fermenters and two 15 gal glass fermenters within sight of all patrons.

There will be a full bar with 12 beers and ciders on tap.

Note: This blog post originally appeared on the website of Dancing Tree Distillery, which became Fifth Element Spirits, and has now become West End Ciderworks & Distillery.

More Blog Posts