Linvilla Hard Apple Cider – Revisited

So, the other day I had mentioned that I was going to review my own brews in some sort of up coming time-frame. So I figured I go ahead and review pretty much everything I had on hand one at a time and then continue to review my brews as they come into existance. Because I had the most of these in the fridge, I decided to start with the Linvilla Hard Apple Cider.

The LHAC was created in October of 2005 and bulk aged until October of 2006. This was my first cider and I really had no idea what I was doing. I have never tried another homebrewed example of a hard cider, but I did know that naturally it was not going to taste like the cider-pop that is out there now (Woodchuck, Hornsby’s). The cider took a VERY long time to clear, but when it did finally clear, it cleared crystal.

Linvilla Hard Apple Cider 1

Wanted something different than a pint glass, so I went for the contoured juice glass for the pour. The cider pours a brilliant delicate linen light gold color with mild petillant tight bubbles running the glass but without any head. It temps out of the fridge at 44F. The bubbles slowly rise inviting me to take a sip.

The aroma is super light but plenty available. Tart apples like Granny Smith skin, light floral aroma maybe honey-suckle, white cranberry also comes to mind. Some wine-like characteristics seem to come through reminding me of a dry tart white wine. Definetly no sweetness like in a local commercial example, and no artificial candy apple aroma.

The mouth is light and sparkling and tart and biting and smooth all at once. The cider is about as heavy as tap water with a light CO2 charge, like in a true seltzer bottle without allowing it to be sparkling. The sparkle comes from the cider intermingling with my palate and producing a ten-fold of bubbles off of all the new surfaces it comes in contact with. The tartness of the apple sends ripples down the sides of my tongue, interesting – this too I would call the bite of the cider. Yet overall, I would say it is quite smooth. Drinkability would be based on after the first pint, but considering I am half way done the glass at this point of the review I would surmise it could have an ‘all night’ type quality, especially paired with fruit and cheese.

The flavor is similar to the aroma but without all aspects coming through. Definetly tart apple and white cranberry stand out to me. I am actually interested in running to the grocery store and trying to find a natural white cranberry-apple juice (unsweetened) and see if my surmation feels correct. The flavor lingers a little bit becoming a little acidic/tart/astringent but not bad, then a slight apple kick at the end again. I do not detect any obvious off flavors, and with a beverage this light I would think that would be easy, but there could be some acetaldehyde in there – but honestly I probably couldn’t tell considering that is a green apple like aroma and flavor.

Linvilla Hard Apple Cider 2

My overall impression is that I should make at least one cider a year. Really, I was so pleased with the long term results that I would like to revisit it. The biggest draw-back from it is it ties up a carboy for a full year, but I suppose that’s the price we pay. A few thoughts on variations would be to use a less attenuating yeast strain to help it retain some sweetness, to some how pump up all aspects of appleness so it is not so delicate, or possible to kill the yeast then back sweeten the cider and force carbonate to make it more U.S. commercial-like, which is what most people that try it are expecting.

Two sort of non-direct compliments I received on the cider were from (1) Karen when we were at the Finbar (English restaurant) in Rehoboth on New Years Eve and she ordered an English cider on tap and after tasting it said something about how that tastes just like mine. She had also said previously that it reminded her more of the English ciders she had drunk while living in England. Also (2) Ann had just returned from a trip to England and also mentioned that it was much more similar to the English ciders she had drunk there then U.S. commercial ciders. So, I suppose I created a light example of an English cider though according to the BJCP guidlines it falls short in several ways – hey go figure. Drink what you like!

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