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Cider Digest #1318

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Cider Digest
 · 9 Apr 2024

Subject: Cider Digest #1318, 30 April 2006 

Cider Digest #1318 30 April 2006

Forum for Discussion of Cider Issues
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor

need info ("Craig Teerlink")
Re: Buzz Off Judging (Dick Dunn)
RE: Cider Digest #1317, 27 April 2006 ("Arun Welch")
Funky smelling keeved ciders (Jason MacArthur)
2) Applejack is not exactly healthful (Robert Keith Moore)
Newbie found advice for making applejack (for cider digest) ("Timothy")
Why are bjcp judges judging cider and mead? (Robert Keith Moore)

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Subject: need info
From: "Craig Teerlink" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 10:35:14 -0600


I am not sure the cider digest is an appropriate forum but I am having
much trouble with a few gallons of cider, as follows:

I had read that my cider should be at least 3.8 on the ph scale. I used
a litmus paper to test the acidity of my cider. My cider was not even
registering at 4 on the litmus paper. So, I added malic acid until it
tested at 3.8. I ended up adding about 1 oz per five gallons. Now my
cider is extremely acidic and very cloudy and quite nasty to taste, and
Im convinced it may even be dangerous. Short of diluting the cider, is
there an other measures I could take to reduce the malic acid content?
It would be great if a malolactic fermentation took place. Is there any
way to improve the possibility of a ML fermentation?

Any help would be appreciated.


Subject: Re: Buzz Off Judging
From: Dick Dunn <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 11:48:16 -0600

Wendell Ose ( wrote:
> I didn't interpret Dick's BUZZ comment to Kevin Pratt as vitriolic or an
> attack or berating or a vent or a dare.

Thanks. However, actually I hadn't responded to Kevin, but rather to
Chris Clair. I thought it was logical to raise an eyebrow since BUZZ Off
has asked for "BJCP judges" for years. But Chris's response was perfectly
reasonable--that in fact they -have- had non-BJCP judges all along. So
that's good, and perhaps the exchange between Chris and myself will make a
few more people notice BUZZ Off. Can't hurt.

I haven't managed to figure out all of what Kevin Pratt was so upset about,
but I'll see what I can answer...

> Dick, Is it so vitriolic that attacks on wording have to happen?

I don't see what was "vitriolic" and it wasn't an attack on wording. I
wanted to know whether BUZZ Off had changed policy to allow non-BJCP
judges. Chris then explained that, no, they'd had some all along; it was
just a long-standing omission in the call-for-judges.

> Didn't you have a major part in writing the current guidelines?


> Methinks you are asking for some kind of appeasment that may not lead to
> total satisfaction. It is a matter of fact that the BJCP has not fully
> addressed the knowlege of cider (or mead). Berating it doesn't help.

I wasn't asking for any sort of "appeasement". And most of what I said was
positive, about the idea of cider getting better judging through specialty
judges. Nor can I see where I was "berating" BJCP. We agree that BJCP
hasn't done a lot with cider (yet!), and we also know that they're working
on it. What's the problem?

> It is also a matter of some relevance that cider makers have very strong
> opinions, which would surely be influential on any judging. By this,
> I mean that they may likely judge to their palate and not to the range
> of variation that the current guidelines represent. This is quite common
> when professional brewers judge beer without BJCP credentials.

A cidermaker might manage to be insulted by that.
First off, I would HOPE that all brewers (BJCP-blest or not) also have
strong opinions. It doesn't matter whether we talk about judging beer,
or cider, or cats...anybody with enough skill and understanding to be able
to judge competently will have strong opinions. It's a simple matter of
integrity to judge to the standards of a competition rather than to one's
personal tastes/opinions.

"BJCP credentials" are neither necessary nor sufficient for the integrity

Moreover, the brewers/cidermakers comparison, in the BJCP world, is apples BJCP has enough beer-knowledgable judges, you wouldn't
need outside judges. But you don't yet have enough cider experience within
BJCP. And frankly, if it's between experienced cidermaker-judges and
judges who don't know cider, the inexperienced judges will be the bigger
problem because their judging results will be inconsistent! One
inexperienced judge will put a cider on top, the next will bury it,
because they lack the experience to recognize faults or to understand
particular styles. That drives competitors up the's way worse
than relative consistency with some biases in judging...because inconsistency
gives the competitors the feeling of an impossible target.

> Perhaps advice on middle ground is warranted, instead of a dare onto
> no-man's land?

Could you explain to us what on earth you're talking about? *I* was trying
to get at the value of having cider-knowledgable judges in one way or
another. Is THAT a bad thing? Whom did I dare, and to what?

> OTOH, there is now a committee to create Cider (and mead) credentials.
> How many here have used this opportunity to voice an opinion?...

There was a request for volunteers to help with this work back in early
March. I certainly volunteered, and I know a few other folks here did
so as well. But I haven't heard anything since then, and I don't know
of any BJCP forum for expressing opinions. Fill us in, and I'm sure you'll
get plenty of responses!
- --
Dick Dunn Hygiene, Colorado USA


Subject: RE: Cider Digest #1317, 27 April 2006
From: "Arun Welch" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 01:08:05 -0500

> Best of luck with custom pressing. Getting unpasteurized
> cider is trickier than it used to be, and custom pressing, as
> you describe, is illegal in most states (again with the fine
> print thing). Ohio is not one of the liberal states when it
> comes to this.

There used to be a gentleman in northwest central Ohio who would do custom
pressing. I moved from Ohio about 10 years ago, so haven't kept track. At
that point in time he had one of the last wooden flatbed presses, and
everything was unpastuerised. The last time I got cider from him he was
afraid it was the last time he would be able to do it. I think it was called
the Hobby Horse cider press or something like that, but if you look in the
archives of this list I think I sent a recommendation and the number might
be in it. The location is Lat N40.17.229, Long W83.41.753, most mapping
programs call the location "Bald Knob", corner of TR165 & CR47 near the town
of West Liberty in Logan County. It's a pleasant fall drive, and look for
the burro's in his pasture.



Subject: Funky smelling keeved ciders
From: Jason MacArthur <>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 06:45:32 -0400

In November we pressed and keeved a cider which we are hoping to
ferment to an "off-dry" level of sweetness, somewhere in the range of
1.005. We pitched 2 yeasts into the batch, a Champagne style yeast
(K-1118) and a Cotes des Blancs white wine yeast. This cider bubbled
along nicely until it reached a gravity of 1.025, sometime in late
winter.(I don't have my notes with me.) We racked it at this point to
slow it down, and in the last several months the gravity has dropped to
1.022. The temperature during this time has been around 50 F (10 C),
sometimes slightly lower.
Now the basement is warming slightly and the cider is smelling rather
eggy, and I am guessing that we have stressed the yeasts to such a
degree that they can no longer ferment "cleanly". We have actually
added small amounts of Yeast Nutrient to nudge the yeasts along and
clear up the aroma, but this has raised some questions in my mind.
Those of you who routinely have very slow fermentations, with or
without keeving, do you find your ciders to be "smelly" during the
fermentation process? If the process of keeving is performed with the
intention of stopping fermentation early, aren't you guaranteed to
stress out your yeasts and generate off-flavors? Or do some yeasts
never produce that wonderful eggy smell which our cider is currently
While it seems counter intuitive to add nutrients to the must when so
much trouble has been taken to remove them, at this point that seems to
be the best course of action. Another idea was to vigorously rack the
cider into another container, re-oxygenating the yeasts, but I fear
that our cider is in a delicate state and I am loathe to add too much
If any of you have had this problem before I would love to know what
you have done to resolve the problem, and if any of you keevers have
had to add yeast nutrients to move a cider along I would love to know
when you have done so and how much you have added.
Jason MacArthur
Marlboro, Vt.


Subject: 2) Applejack is not exactly healthful
From: Robert Keith Moore <>
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 09:49:01 -0700


I regards to this statement.......

2) Applejack is not exactly healthful, nor is it legal. Fractional
crystalization concentrates all non-water components in cider, including
natural, but unhealthy, chemicals. This differs from distilling (also
illegal to do at home) that concentrates all the components near the
boiling point of alcohol. The practical upshot is that a lot of calvados
(cider brandy) will get you hung-over, but a lot of applejack will
literally give you palsy.

I know cider makers that 'jack' part of every batch they make and have
been doing it for years. I find it hard to believe that jacking is "less"
healthy than distilling. I have had distilled cider and meads that were so
powerful I got a headache after sipping one shot. I consider home distilled
products one of the nastiest things on the planet. But I digress... My real
question.... does the same occur when they jack melomels? SHould I not be
drinking that stuff when they offer it? Some of them have been quite tasty.
What is a 'lot' of apple jack?




Subject: Newbie found advice for making applejack (for cider digest)
From: "Timothy" <>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 11:21:03 -0400

Newbie found advice for making applejack.

Thanks to both comments I got on this subject. No, I didn't know fractional
Crystallization was illegal.only Distillation. Of course this is the United
States, and no one can be sure anymore what is legal and what is not.
Secondly, I was completely unaware of the health hazards associated with
fractional crystallization. I would have figured that wine is made from
fermented grapes and is healthy, then applejack comes from fermented apples
and should be healthy, apparently not. Both are two good reasons to make a
change in plans. Of course, the lack of knowledge on this subject is why I
subscribed to this newsletter.

One gentleman suggested Pommeau, sounds delicious, but I still have the
problem of acquiring the apple brandy.

My inspiration for all this was my great-grandfather, who I never knew. He
had a large wood barrel (carboy?) in the basement of an unheated
out-building. I was told he made applejack. I now suspect it was simple
fermented and aged apple cider. So I ask once again with all the ignorance I
can muster: Is making fermented cider, with no factional crystallization,
legal and safe for the body?


Subject: Why are bjcp judges judging cider and mead?
From: Robert Keith Moore <>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 10:11:52 -0700

Why are there not judges being trained for cider and mead? I think a
wine judge would do a better job than a beer judge. I have had seasoned
wine drinkers tell me how wonderful my meads are and consistently have
the same opinion in a blind test while bjcp judges all differ. What I am
saying is 3 different wine judges, same opinion. Three different bjcp
judges 4 different opinions.
Where are the real judges?



End of Cider Digest #1318

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