This very strong, very tart cider improved quite a bit over the first year in the bottle. It continued to age gracefully well past the point of most things that I’ve made. Three years on, though, the last couple I’ve had proved to be a bit past their prime. It has been a while, though. Maybe it’s coming around again? Probably not, let’s open it up and see.
Speaking of see, the obvious thing is that there is a lot of floaters. This is something I’ve noticed in those last few bottles since this has started to turn for the worse. I don’t understand where they come from or what they are, because this has been clear for years. They are very obvious in the otherwise extremely clear, orange tinted, deep yellow cider.
On top of all that was a fairly small but, in cider terms, persistent white head. Compared to a lot of beers, it collapsed quickly but most of my ciders’ heads disappear nearly instantly and this still has some bubbles clinging to the edge of the glass for life.
The aroma of this stuff is great, even three years later. It is tart, acidic and full of apples. I get a distinct Granny Smith character, which is great and unexpected. I used cheap grocery store apple juice in this, but that combined with the wine additives create Granny Smith, apparently.
Taking a sip, this stuff is a bit harsh. Not with the expected alcohol burn for a 12% ABV cider, but instead with acidity. This isn’t acidic in the way of sour beers, but with a chemical character that seemed more natural previously. Now that the cider has been around for so long, it has come closer to the forefront and it a bit unpleasant.
I’m curious how this will fare as it warms up. And it is extremely strong. So I’m going to take a little break and give it some time, then come back to finish up these tasting notes. I have over half of the cider left, by the way.
Okay, I’ve given it fifteen minutes, let’s see if anything has changed. It is still pretty cool, but the floaties have all sunk to the bottom. The foam around the top perimeter of the glass is still present. Overall, it looks much better. The smell is still great, not much different from before. If anything, it is more generic apples and less tart, but there are still the same notes as before, just in different proportions. As I take a sip, I get an unexpected whiff of caramel.
When that sip makes it to my mouth, the caramel is gone as the cider is extremely dry. The alcohol, which was very well hidden before starts to make an appearance, though with the extreme tartness, it is actually welcome. The tartness is still the main star. It is unfortunate that all of that apple in the aroma is not paid off in the flavor. There is definitely some apple there, but it comes in behind other flavors.
The alcohol, which I can now just start to pick out in the flavor, has made itself much more known in the way I feel. This stuff is too tart to be easy drinking, but the alcohol is, one way or another, hidden very well and it still hits you hard as you get to the bottom of the bottle.
I have more than a couple sips left, but I have to admit, I am feeling the effects. I don’t know how much I can say about this, at least in anything resembling an articulate manner. I think it is time to cut these tasting notes off while I nurse the rest of this cider before crawling into bed.