How is Cider Carbonated?
If you’ve tried the most popular cider brands like Growers, Somersby, Strongbow or Angry Orchard, there is a characteristic shared among them all – they all are carbonated. To our knowledge, these ciders are all carbonated using compressed carbon dioxide tanks. But this isn’t the only method to add bubbles to our favourite beverage.
A discriminate palette can identify the main source of carbonation in a cider. Orchard-grown apples have some natural active yeast growing on the apple, which can naturally ferment and carbonate the cider.
The recipe to wild ferment cider is simple. All you need is fresh-pressed apple juice (or mash, if you’re getting really wild). Store-bought or pasteurized juice will not work, as all the natural yeast is filtered out. Then, you put the juice in a container, keep it at the right temperature, stir and wait. Eventually, the wild-fermented cider will end up very dry with an ABV of 4-6%, depending on the sugar content of the apples you started with.
From this point, you have a few options. You could back-sweeten (add some sugar after fermentation is done) the cider to reactivate the yeast in it, giving it champagne-like carbonation and a slightly higher alcohol content. Or you could let the fermentation complete, leaving the cider still, or uncarbonated.
Advantages of Carbonated Cider
While wild fermentation can produce some delicious and unique ciders, there are some major advantages to using more modern methods. These methods allow the cidermaker more creative freedom when choosing their apple blends, adding spices or even adding other fruits.
You start similarly to when making wild fermented cider, with fresh-pressed juice. Then, you add purpose-grown cider yeast, which will only ferment the cider to a specific alcohol level. Using cider yeast can be very precise, allowing the cidermaker to produce sweeter or fruitier ciders, as wild yeast tends to ferment out most of the sugar content (and sometimes the flavour) of added ingredients.
How We Incorporate Both Methods
There is much more to cider than any one craft cidery can produce, but we try to give our customers a taste of each method, while always improving our ciders with out own modern twist. If you’re looking for a wilder, more traditional and bold cider, then The Farmhouse or Cranberry Ridge are for you. If you’re looking for a smoother, more precise and mild cider, then either Harrow Blue or Wright Stuff will satisfy that taste.