Pommel Cydery In Review


A friend recently pointed out that summer 2014 is half over. While I cursed her words, she’s right. Which means it’s time to start gearing up for the fall. For my friend that means getting her kids ready for school and for me that means getting ready for a third cydering season.

As I’ve been thinking about what’s next, I’ve been reviewing what I’ve done so far. I started cydering by just jumping right in and picking things up as I went (which I highly recommend to anyone who might have an interest in making their own). While that was a great way to build a little experience quickly, it was by no means systematic or complete. Usually I was reading a step or two ahead of where I was.

Now that I have a working outline of cyder making, I want to flesh that out and focus on things I haven’t done before. To help that along, I spent spent a little time pulling together an overview of the Cydery’s work since October 2012. It looks like this:


According to the process outlined in Cider by Annie Proulx & Lew Nichols, there are twelve absolutely necessary steps in making cider. The bolded lines are what I’ve done so far:

    1. Harvesting
    2. Sweating
    3. Washing
    4. Grinding
    5. Pressing
    6. Blending
    7. Testing
    8. Fermentation
    9. Racking Off
    10. Filtering or Fining
    11. Bottling
    12. Storage[1]


Fermented 29 gallons of juice[2]

Made 24 discrete batches, including:
    16 cyders
    5 perries (common)
    4 cysers
Batches made from different juices and yeasts, including:
    8 from raw juice
    16 from pasteurized juice
    4 with natural yeasts
    20 with lab yeasts

And that’s my complete cyder CV. When I look at it like this it doesn’t seem like very much.

Now that I know where I’ve been I have a better idea of where I’m headed next. But that’s for later. In the meantime I’ll be out drinking some of last year’s cyder and enjoying what’s left of this summer. I think I’ll call my friend so we can do all that together.


[1] Some might add that balancing the fermented cider should be included, but it’s not an absolutely necessary step.

[2] Under federal law you can produce “(1) 200 gallons per calendar year for a household in which two or more adults reside, or (2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only one adult residing in the household” without a license. Under Pennsylvania law, “…wine may be produced by any person without a license if the wine is not produced for sale and total production does not exceed two hundred gallons per calendar year.” At this point, we don’t need a license.


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