Sour cider? Well...... here's how ours was born.
Last year when we were pressing I had 300 gallons left over of some prime juice. So rather than adding a yeast strain to it, I decided to let it ferment naturally. Sitting in my office at that time I looked around and saw several samples which had been left. Honey and barrel staves were the main two so I emptied all the honey into the tote and put in the staves.
I then moved the juice in the tote to the passageway near my office and let it slowly ferment at temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit for six months. Checking every now and again that things were progressing smoothly, occasionally pumping over the juice.
When fermentation finally stopped, I visited my good friend John Hovermale at Escutcheon Brewing in Winchester and acquired over 75 lbs of sour cherries which he was emptying from his sour beer barrel (the timing here was no accident!).
I then transferred the cherries to my natural ferment and waited. After another three months I was happy with the level of sourness, so we racked the cider off the cherries and remaining lees.
We then let everything settle down for another two months and called the mobile bottling company in to bottle and label. While we were waiting for that date we very coarsely filtered the juice into our carbonation tank and carbonated lightly over a day.
The finished product? I am very happy with it. Slightly sour with the taste only a natural ferment can give you. Going back to Mother Nature so to speak. I hope all of you who drink it can savor the experience and realize how long it takes such a cider to come to fruition.