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bodger

Apples coming out of my ears !

I've got apples coming out of my ears.    
We've just been and fetched a load from a community orchard and we've hardly scratched the surface. There's got to be several tons left for us to collect.
We've hardly been home an hour and there's been a phone call from a friend whose sister has a  large cooking apple tree thats laden and she wants the apples gone like yesterday.
I'm already booked into fetch around half a ton from a small cider orchard on Anglesey next week and things couldn't be going better. There are loads of apples out there to be had.
Butterbean

Get them while you can.  Its feast and famine.
maine moose

You is doing well Bodger over hear the apples are in short supply every one is in the same boat, talking to a big grower in Armagh and she was saying there crop yield well down.Add to that the big boys are buying up all thay can,so not many left for the rest of us.
Mo

Excellent!

We had to postpone apple picking due to poorly tums, which also meant we had to delay sending off the Saddlebacks, and that again delays apple picking.....
The upshot is that Mother Nature has called in the Wind to punish us for not unburdening our trees. Back breaking work picking up windfalls  
bodger

We were picking apples straight off the trees yesterday and its amazing just how time consuming it is.
In the commercial orchards, they have have a tractor come around with an attachment that shakes the apples off the trees. Then a machine comes along and more or less hoovers them up. Simples.
Our son Rob is currently on a week long cider making course and as part of it, he's been on some orchard visits. I was on the phone to him last and he was saying that even a hand propelled machine for picking up apples would cost £4000  and that the tractor operated ones, were about ten times that. It looks as though I'm going to have a stiff backin the years to come and that I going to need plenty of volunteers with a love of the 'goodlife and sciatica.
MrsWW

Re: Apples coming out of my ears !

bodger wrote:
I've got apples coming out of my ears.    


Sorry mate but I thought you said you'd got the hang of this apple processing lark?

Seriously, good luck and more power to your elbow in processing/selling them all.
bodger

Blind Pugh and I have five bags to press tonight. The weather forecast is for heavy rain, so we'll be doing it in the old tin barn.
Jonty

are you just juicing these or going to ferment them mate?
sod

Apples here are picked by lots of hands  
bodger

Jonty wrote:
are you just juicing these or going to ferment them mate?

This last lot are for juice but next weeks apples will be for cider.

Sod. I didn't realise how time consuming picking apples by hand was. I think that all apples for eating are picked by hand and thats its only apples destined for cider that can be picked mechanically.

Today we are pressing apples again but later on, we'll be nipping out with a ladder to plunder what has been described as a large cooking apple tree.

Its very early days yet but I'm beginning to think that this new venture might really take off and lead to something thats going to be worth doing.
bodger

I'm too old for swinging from trees.

This morning Pugh and myself pressed 70 litres of apple juice before going to a huge tree in a ladies garden and picking well over a quarter of a ton of apples from it. The tree was a humungus size and I had to do a Tarzan act swinging from limb to limb, shaking the apples off at 30 to 40  feet high, before picking 15 bags of apples.
When we got home, we pressed another 180 litres of juice thats destined to be made into cider. I'm absolutely cream crackered.
According to Rob, after taking a hydrometer reading, the cider should end up being 4.8 % and who am I to argue with science?
Woodsmoke

bodger wrote:
According to Rob, after taking a hydrometer reading, the cider should end up being 4.8 %


I was always of the mind that the final gravity could only be determined by measuring the initial against the final readings? Unless, of course, you already know at which point you want to stop the process at a given SG?  
bodger

I'll ask him Stu, I don't do science but it seems a bit low to me.
Woodsmoke

Here's how it works then  

The Specific Gravity of water at 15C is 1.000, with every other liquid being either more, or less, dense than water. The Hydrometer measures the Specific Gravity of a given solution.

The Original Gravity is a measurement of the must before it ferments, and the Final Gravity is the measurement that is taken after fermentation is complete. The difference between the two tells you how much alcohol is in the brew. As an example,  say a typical cider starts off with an OG of around 1.045 and finishes off with a TG of around 1.008?

To get the % Alcohol you plug those numbers into a standard equation:

% Alcohol = (1.05 x (OG – TG)) / TG) / 0.79

So:

OG = 1.045
TG = 1.008

The equation would then be:

% Alcohol = ((1.05 x (1.045 – 1.008))/1.008) / 0.79

Which gives you 0.487, which is about 4.9%  
bodger

  Karen says that the hydrometer reading that she gave to him over the phone was. 1036.
Jonty

Woodsmoke wrote:
bodger wrote:
According to Rob, after taking a hydrometer reading, the cider should end up being 4.8 %


I was always of the mind that the final gravity could only be determined by measuring the initial against the final readings? Unless, of course, you already know at which point you want to stop the process at a given SG?  


You can predict it quite accurately.  if you know the characteristics of what what you're fermenting, by taking an OG (original gravity) reading you can pretty much predict what the FG ( final gravity) will be.  With beer I',m now within 0.1% and last years cider was only 0.3% abv out from what I reckoned - with the cider it was only from info on the net, not experience.
Woodsmoke

That sounds about right

I'm guessing he's estimating the Final Gravity's going to be around 1 (which really is all you need to be honest.............I find it can be quite tricky to get a bang-on measurement with my hydrometer as the surface film of the liquid can tend to make it hard to get a really precise reading) I don't think you'll be far off the mark  
sod

bodger And no photos???? swinging through the trees with the greatest of ease    Here I've never heard of them doing apples for cider I think most for that are through pack house rejects as around here they pick everything off the trees. Just remembered we used get bins of apples for our stock to eat   very cheap as they were rejects for juice same you can't get same
bodger

This tree was a big tree when the current occupant of the house moved in over 40 years ago. It really was a big old thing. The apples are an unknown variety, something between a cooker and an eater. The juice was quite sweet but not that tasty.
Hopefully, we'll be able to blend the finished cider from these apples with other ciders and end up with something half decent.
The apples fell from a great height onto a gravelled driveway and were pretty much knocked about and bruised by the fall, otherwise I don't think I would have gone down the cider route with them.

If you remember, I bought ten of the 60 litre blue barrels a few weeks ago. I used three of them yesterday in one sitting and its now obvious, that I'm not going to have anywhere like enough capacity. In previous years, we've just made a few gallons for our own use but one of my tasks today will sourcing a load more. These 60 litres barrels mmight not seem very big but they are certainly heavy when they are full. Remember the old saying that a pint of water ways a pound and a quarter
We will eventually move onto the big barrels I'm sure, but we'll have to improve the access to the barn before we do that.
sod

Well a litre of water weighs 1 kilo so thats 60kilos    I think that is very heavy  
bodger

I'm a pounds, shillings and pence man Sod.
sod

sounds good to me too   I was just meaning why your barrels where heavy   60k=132lbs
bodger

I've just ordered another 25 of them. The big barrels as in 200 litre ones' would simply be too big and heavy for us to cope with.
sod

True we got them with fertilzer in and once on ground thats where they stay   till empty  
Jonty

Bodger,

how badly damaged or marked etc would you consider too poor to go into the press?  I'm getting some apples myself and I'm not sure where to draw the line  
bodger

Just about any condition will do for cider, as long as they aren't moldy or rotten. The fermentation process takes care of the Patulin problem but pasteurisation doesn't, so all apples used for apple juice should be hand picked and in perfect condition.
Jonty

Thanks mate.  Probably a question for Rob, but, what sort of final gravity do you expect the juice to ferment down to and does it differ if ou leave it to it's own devices or if you use yeast?
bodger

Rob should be back home late tonight Jonty. He'll be returning from his course brim to the top with information and is dying to put it into action. He'll be right on this like a dog with a rat.
Our daughter Doodle is coming home later on today, guess what she's bringing with her? Apples, apples,apples!
Jonty

bodger wrote:
Our daughter Doodle is coming home later on today, guess what she's bringing with her? Apples, apples,apples!


Send some up here mate, looks like I'm not going to get as many as I'd hoped for
LadySlip

[quote="bodger:242702"] was a humungus size and I had to do a Tarzan act swinging from limb to limb, shaking




  I'd have paid money to have seen that    
sod

And no photos  
bodger

I'll get some next week for you. We have another three lots of apples to collect next week  We pressed and bottled 53 75cl bottles of apple juice yesterday.
bodger

I'm off  to Wrexham this morning. I'll be braving the wind and rain and seeing how many 60 litre blue barrels I can fit into my Transit Connect. They have them on special offer at the moment at £6.50 each including the vat.
Jonty

How many aples to the pint of juice are you getting Bodger - I'm phoning an orchard this morning about getting a job lot.
bodger

I'm not too sure. It obviously depends on the apples and on how efficient the equipment is you're using. Our press supposedly takes around 75%. As a rough rule of thumb, you are supposed to get 110 gallons of juice per  ton.
bodger

I managed to fit 23 60 litre barrels into my van and half a dozen free white buckets thrown in for good measure. Tonight Rob and I will be drilling the lids of ten of them so that they will take a bung and an air lock.
sod

Woww thats a lot of juice/cider to make
bodger

We'll be pressing apples, then pressing apples and finally pressing some more apples. We want to be doing around 3000 litres in what will be our first season.
We need to get up to the 8000 litre excise exempt duty threshold ASAP and then thats when the real work will start. According to Rob, you need to double or triple your output to make it worth the hassle and paperwork of going over the threshold.
sod

bodger you are going to very hard pressed to get it all done
Butterbean

LadySlip

best press on then 'stead of plinkin around on here......
bodger

LadySlip wrote:
best press on then 'stead of plinkin around on here......


Someones got to.

I'm off to Anglesey this morning. I had a phone call last week from a lady who lives near Llangefni on Anlesey. She found me through the Welsh Cider and Perry Society and she told me that she had a large apple tree that she believed was a cider one. The apples are of an unknown variety but cider apple trees are as rare as hens teeth around here, so its going to be well worth the journey this morning to investigate. She reckons that we should be able to pick around ten 25kg animal feed bags from the one tree which, even allowing for a little exageration, is an amount that's going to be worth travelling for.

Tomorrow will see me repeating the process in a local community orchard.
bodger

Not quite as many apples as anticipated but I've just returned home and found a message on my answer phone asking me to strip a small orchard of it Cox's apples.The orchard is only a few miles up the road from here.      
bodger

About 75 kg of swag gathered with a date to return in a few weeks time for a large tree thats not quite ready.
sod

OW what did they all do with these apples before you came along to help them out great work
bodger

28 very heavy bags picked today from a community orchard, there must be in the region of a ton in total. I managed 22 of them in my van and Rob put six in the back of his Peugot.
bodger

Tomorrows nights homework.









Completed assignments.









Future assignments.





kat_lewis

 I sure that all the homework will get you an A*  
Jonty

well, I haven't got them comng out of my ears - I've maybe 4 sackfuls for starters but I'll be making them into a small batch tonight.  I christened my new press just now to try the juice, and very good it is too.

Just off to sterilise a fermenter with a weak bleach solution and then once the kids are in bed I'll be spending some quality shed time!!
bodger

We've pressed 90 gallons of apple juice destined for cider tonight and have four bags left to be made into apple juice tomorrow
bodger

I've got six more trees to suss out today. Three of them are of a variety known as 'Katy' These are eating apples, so they may well be destined to be turned into apple juice rather than cider. I find it quite exciting sourcing the apples and the thrill of the choice. I never know just how many apples each of my forrays might produce.
bodger

A super duper bumper hall today. Pugh and I picked 25 large bags of apples from a farmer friends garden. They were cookers and eaters, including some russet types all of unknown variety. We had a van and a half load and these, together with three other bags that we picked up yesterday, all add up to some serious pressing time tomorrow.
The smell of fermenting cider as you walk through the barn is absolutely fabulous.
MrsWW

bodger wrote:
I've got six more trees to suss out today. Three of them are of a variety known as 'Katy' These are eating apples, so they may well be destined to be turned into apple juice rather than cider. I find it quite exciting sourcing the apples and the thrill of the choice. I never know just how many apples each of my forrays might produce.


Don't Westons or someone make a single variety cider from Katy?  Whoever makes it, I've tried it and very delicious it is too.  
bodger

Its a Thatchers brew Teri Its a bit too sweet for me.
bodger

Eight more barrels pressed today. To date, that puts our total ourput of apple juice destined to become cider at 1080 litres. In addition, we've also made around 150 litres of apple juice in 75cl bottles.
kat_lewis

wow          
sod

                 great stuff
Woodsmoke

That's good going mate! I'll happily give you my opinion on the finished brew if you send me up a crate or three    
Jonty

Just checked the gravity on one of my batches of cider, this one is 60:40 eating apples to bramlesy, it's got a couple of points yet to ferment out (I used yeast so it's much quicker).  It always seems a shame to discard the contents of the sample jar    but I could have happily decanted a pint off. Nice and tart and crisp.  Be interesting to see what it's like after it ferments out and  a few months in the bottle.
bodger

Yesterday was a day for taking readings here too, as we endeavoured to keep various barrels on the right track. We've quickly learned that no two barrels behave exactly the same. I think thats down to the wide variety of apples that we've been using.
The weather forecast is none too good for today or the next few days but none the less, unless it gets really bad we have three days of apple picking ahead of us. So far, we have made 24x 60 litre barrels of what we hope will turn into cider.
Jonty

1440 litres    

I've got 23  
bodger

I picked eight bags yesterday and another twelve today. We'll be having a pressing engagement on Saturday. The eight will go for cider and the twelve for apple juice.
Border

Some pics of what you have been up to, from tree to juice/cider, would be nice.
I sure they would be of interest to others as well.
bodger

I'll set it up for Saturday Border, with pictures of work in progress and try and show what we do from start to finish.
Border

Thanks mate, I will look forward that.

As a cider drinker, it will nice to know how it's all done.
Butterbean

That will be interesting.
bodger

I found two more orchards yesterday where the apples are free for the picking. I reckon that there's well over a ton available between the two. I'll be picking for the next two days solid.
Both of the orchards are pretty old and one of them in particular is quite interesting. Apart from holding some old Welsh varieties, the farmer told me that when it was in full production, the apples from it once paid for his fathers farm rent in its entirety.

There are three very old specimens of these in the orchard.

http://www.iansturrockandsons.co.uk/shop/trwynmochyn.html

I tasted some of the apples and they were absolutely bdooly awful.
bodger

!4 bags picked this morning. There are two or even three times that amount at tomorrows venue.
bodger

We've picked 30 more bags today. If you happen to be in our area on Sunday, then feel free to drop in, we will be pressing well over a ton of apples.
kaz

I'm away that day
Mawkin

What a great thread    I myself, for the first time, have 120 pints fermenting nicely.  

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