Saturday, April 11, 2020

2020 Update

Hello!

A lot has changed since my last update.

To avoid getting into a "long story" situation, I will just say that I hit pause on the cidery when I moved my family to Wyoming for almost a year. It was an attempt to give full-time oilfield work a serious look while not having to be so far away from home. In the end, we decided that oilfield work was not a good fit for our family, and we moved back to Montana last summer.

I spent part of the 2019 fall working at a wonderful apple orchard on the shores of Flathead Lake.

Apple trees at Moss Farm with a view of Flathead Lake

Rows of Honeycrisp apple trees

Honeycrisp apples picked into bins


Beautiful and delicious Ruby Mac apples
It was a great opportunity to learn about growing and harvesting apples from professionals, and I am grateful to the farm owners for having me up there. Some of the Honeyscrisp apples we picked were pressed into fresh juice, and I purchased roughly 120 gallons of surplus juice to freeze for an initial attempt at making ice cider.

Loading the tote of Honeycrisp juice in the fall
The frozen juice sat outside near Ramsay, MT going through some thawing and freezing until the weather was warm enough to begin thawing off the concentrated juice.
Frozen juice early January waiting to be thawed

Thawing concentrated juice in early February
We ended up with roughly 23 gallons of "ice cider juice" which I separated into four batches of test ice cider batches. Some of the lower-sugar juice was blended with concentrated Macintosh apple juice to go into some imperial cider batches.

Initial yeast pitch in test batches
The juice from our final thaw was only slightly sweeter than regular apple juice, and that was made into what I'm calling "Soft Cider" after the French Cidre Doux. It is bottled and aging, and I am excited to get it into the hands of friends and family for feedback.

First bottling: Cider inspired by the French "Cidre Doux"

Additionally, I have begun construction on a winery/cidery in a space on our property. The project has been on hold during the colder weather, but stay tuned for an update as things pick up this spring.

If anyone out there has any questions, please contact me at info@stcharlescider.com.

Thanks, and have a great day!

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