To Blend or Not to Blend? A Tasting to Explore Varietal Characteristics and Blending Techniques

Single varietal ciders are popular and allow for producers and consumers to understand the characteristics of specific apples. Much of the art of cider making, however, is in blending. This session is a sensory exploration of the unique attributes of blends and single varietal ciders. Speakers will discuss when and how to blend, blending for acidity, alcohol, tannins, and balance, and what qualities to look for in the base juice. We will also address the pros and cons of single varietals and the consumer education and marketing of those ciders.

The Science Behind Spontaneous Fermentation

Spontaneous fermentation is a series of microbial and chemical processes in succession. This session will explore what is actually happening during spontaneous fermentation and what leads to a successful fermentation through each transition. Speakers will discuss the presence and considerations of yeasts at different phases of the cider making process, microbiological reactions not related to yeast (temperature, pH, etc), the role of oxygen throughout fermentation, and apple characteristics as a precursor of success.

Equipment Decisions When Scaling Up Production

Scaling up your commercial production is a big step to make, and it’s important to make the proper investments in tools and systems when transitioning to larger production. This session will provide tips for equipment to purchase when shifting from hobby to professional production, designing and building out your space, setting up an in-house lab, and scaling up efficiently.

A Guide to Cider Carbonation Methods

There are several carbonation methods available for cider makers to employ, and choosing between these methods means considering consumer expectations, sensory impact, production cost, taxes and more. This session will address how to carbonate your produce consistently and successfully through forced carbonation, traditional method, and bottle conditioning. We will discuss how to measure CO2 and how it impacts taxes and labeling rules. Finally, we will explore the sensory impact of carbonation with tips on how to select techniques and levels appropriate for your style goals, with a tasting to illustrate those differences.

Funk, Fault, or Phenolic Compound?

Volatile phenolics, either from apples or created during the fermentation process, can produce the distinctive cidery, funky flavours that many people enjoy in cider. On the other hand, other phenolic and non-phenolic aromas produced by spoilage organisms can go beyond ‘funk’ and cause a fault or consumer rejection. In this session, we’ll explore five different aromatic compounds found in funky, faulted, or phenolic ciders and you can decide for yourself which you like and which you don’t. If you decide you don’t, we’ll cover how to avoid them in your cider.

Establishing a QA/QC Program

Small cider producers may think that most Quality Assurance and Quality Control content is not relevant to them. Craft products may vary greatly from year to year, and you certainly can’t afford to have a person on staff to manage all of the bureaucracy QA and QC are essential elements of successful cider production for businesses of any size, and should be considered when starting up and/ or when you’ve been producing for years. This session will review elements of QA and QC program establishment, maintenance, and evaluation. Speakers will define and offer practical tips for Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard and Critical Control Point Analysis, and the importance of establishing Standard Operating Procedures to meet safety, legal, sustainability, economic, and quality objectives with a special focus on techniques for smaller businesses.