Wobblygob Great Barr cider review

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guypettigrew
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Wobblygob Great Barr cider review

Post by guypettigrew » Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:05 pm

A couple of months ago the idea of making a cider came to me. Don't know why. As I have no supply of cider apples, no press and no expertise a kit seemed the best way forward.

All I knew was I wanted a dry cider with a good apple taste. After a bit of Googling I settled on a Wobblygob Great Barr Cider. It arrived a day or so after ordering.

To cut to the chase, it's absolutely gorgeous! I've made two now. Read on for more detail.

Really easy to make, with one exception. The bag of concentrated apple juice was cut open, as instructed, and poured into the fermenter which already had about 10 litres of warm water in it. The bag was rinsed out and the fermenter was topped up to 23 litres with tap water to get the temperature to 22°C. The supplied dried yeast was sprinkled on top and the fermenter closed down. It's a SS Brewtech chronical with temperature control.

The concentrate smelled wonderful. This wasn't a load of Pink Lady desert apples which had been juiced. There was a complexity about the smell, a richness and also a sense of hard, dry apple. I asked Chris at Hamstead Home Brew about the varieties of apples used. He told me "the apples are our own recipe and all I can really say is that it is a special blend of apples not only for the different flavours each variety brings but for the different acidity each gives which also changes each crop but working with our processor we maintain a consistent flavour/taste by constantly working on it we even concentrate at low temps under vacuum and collect the aroma and add that back into the concentrated juice but yes i am afraid that the actual recipe and spec is held within the company". The bit about collecting the aroma and adding it back is fascinating.

What was a bit difficult was handling the bag with the concentrate in it. Having cut the corner off it was really hard to deal with a floppy bag of juice which just wanted to pour all over the place!

Fermentation was very different from beer. The instructions said to ferment at 22-24°C. I went for 22°C, which seemed quite high compared to beer temperatures. Internet searches led me to believe cider should be fermented at a low temperature, about15°C. Again, Chris at Hamstead Home Brew put me right. " No, the cider should be fermented at the instruction's temp, we use a genuine cider yeast that brings out more flavour from the juice but will not ferment properly at 15." There was no massive build up of yeast on top of the cider during fermentation. All very gentle, with just a light bit of froth.

After 4 days the cider was at !.030, having started at 1.050. So I bumped it up to 24°C. After 8 days it was just below 1.000 so it was cooled to 10°C for 24 hours, then to 4°C for 24 hours.

The cider was then dropped into a King Keg. Priming was with 1 litre of Tesco apple juice which had (according to the contents) 111g of sugar. Auxiliary and isinglass finings were added to hasten the clearing time.

After a couple of days in the keg the cider was crystal clear, with just a lovely bit of gas in it to give a slight prickle on the tongue.

The taste? As WA would say, BLM! Honestly, it was gorgeous. Dry, appley easy drinking. Highly recommended.

But that's not all!

Chris at HHB told me ordinary tap water would be good enough to dilute the concentrate. He was right. It was 'good enough'. I enjoyed the first one so much I bought a second, but thought I'd try some water treatment.

My tap water has an alkalinity of about 200 ppm. For cider number 2 the alkalinity was dropped to about 25 ppm. About where it needs to be for beer making.

Everything else was as above, except I started the fermentation at 24°C.

The result? An even drier cider and one where the taste of the apples comes through much more strongly.

So, I'm hooked on Wobblygob dry cider with low alkalinity water. It's fantastic!!

Guy
Last edited by guypettigrew on Sun Jul 18, 2021 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cobnut
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Re: Wobblygob cider review

Post by Cobnut » Sat Jul 17, 2021 6:21 pm

That sounds very good Guy.

I’ve made a couple of batches of TC as per the thread here on JBK, but can’t say I’ve been overly impressed.

I’ve considered building a press and making cider from apples (maybe even allowing the wild yeasts on the apples to do the fermentation for me - a la castings Heath cider from here in suffolk*), but it all seems a bit of a faff which I’ve never got round to doing (note 2). Maybe one of these kits is what I need.

* https://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/sho ... A8-17P8477 I had the fun of brewing a batch of beer with https://littleearthproject.com/ a couple of years or so ago. Tom’s (the head brewer) Dad is the guy who runs Castling Heath and I got to visit and taste some of his cider whilst there - very dry, applet and sharp. Tom uses the left over yeast for his beers which lends many of them a cider tang. If you like a sour and/or wild fermented beer, do check them out.

2) This reminds me of a sticker my grandad had on his cellar door years ago: it was a round tuit Not sure I understood it at the time…
Fermenting: Amarillo dry hop lager
Conditioning: None
Drinking: Quick Golden Ale, Partigyled IDSP & PP, Single hopped APA, Banks's 1953 Mild, (extract) Single hop pale ale, London Porter, Thai spiced Saison, SMASH Keeping Ale (Chevallier, First Gold, Voss Kveik), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Dunkelweizen
Planning: Various

McMullan
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Re: Wobblygob cider review

Post by McMullan » Sat Jul 17, 2021 9:25 pm

Nice one, Guy. I’ve been looking for something cider wise worth shipping to Norway. I might get a couple of these to ferment this autumn for next summer 😎

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Trefoyl
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Re: Wobblygob cider review

Post by Trefoyl » Sat Jul 17, 2021 11:22 pm

Sounds fantastic. I love the idea of priming with fresh juice.
Sommeliers recommend that you swirl a glass of wine and inhale its bouquet before throwing it in the face of your enemy.

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MarkA
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Re: Wobblygob cider review

Post by MarkA » Sun Jul 18, 2021 3:59 pm

That's interesting Guy, especially the bit about yeast temps. I always assumed it would be better fermented lower for a crisper drink much the same as with lager, that shows what I know! Having only made cider from cheap supermarket apple juice in the past, I think I'm going to have to order a couple of these kits, cheers.

WalesAles
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Re: Wobblygob Great Barr cider review

Post by WalesAles » Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:43 pm

Guy,
Good write up.
Glad to see you`ve joined the Cider Club! =D>

WA

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