Sunday 2 September 2012

Waulkmill Cider Muckle Toon Rosie (GBBF)

Now, CAMRA, for all the pomp and snazziness of this festival I do have one thing to say. On behalf of anyone and everyone that cares more about cider than beer: please drop the 'beer' in the duty escalator campaign! I get it... you jumped on a bandwagon that was already rolling courtesy of brewing associations. It was tailor made. However, if you also want the monika of consumer champion and supporter of cider why are you involved with a campaign that explicitly and publicly calls for a 'review and re-balancing' of beer duty'?

I am sure I am not the first to tell you that you seem to be sleep walking into a situation where the ultimate aim/goals put you at odds with your support of cider (and everyone else who supports cider). Come on, pick up the ball - at least make it public/explicit that you do not support the re-balancing element of the campaign (we all know that the brewing associations think cider is just beer in a different name... its been a long running thing that suits their arguments - even if not reality!)

Why the moan? Well, I had to sharing my afternoon/evening out with the gigantic head of George Osborne! Sorry, George; I am sure you have a great personality and its all 'just business'. Actually, it wasn't so much George's head but the words 'drop the beer escalator' at just about every turn and on every screen... Its not a hard thing to put right and I don't think it will cost you signatures on the e-petition!

And now to move this blog on 500 miles (sorry - Proclaimers pun intended but not disparaging!). A cider from Scotland. And why not; if the recent growth of producers has proven, apples can be turned into cider all across the country. This doesn't guarantee quality though - I am finding that not all producers get the idea of balance or blending.... but then it could be argued that this is subjective.

So, my first cider from Scotland. I am very interested in this as there are cider varieties being grown that north and I am curious as to what profiles come through. The marks on the board for this suggest that it is fruity and also tart. From that my guess is that its going to be made predominantly from dessert fruit.

It comes golden but cloudy; quite standard so far. It has quite a faint smell to is too, although I am getting a slight cheese from it, to be honest.  This could just be a yeasty smell misinterpreted, and its not been filtered at all (mind you it IS quite cloudy).

Sure enough, it is tart - quite a big eastern flavour to it. It is fruity and acidic with little or no tannin at all. It settles nicely but is very acidic, which makes it seem more dry than it probably is. There is something else to it though - I am not sure I have the language to describe it, and its not off putting.

Now, this is where being a cider maker has a benefit... I know what this is (I have had it before, early in my own cider making journey). Best practice for producing a clean cider is to rack the fermenting cider off its yeast (aka lees) just prior to leaving it to mature. Following the initial fermentation, there is usually a heavy crop of dead yeast that settles to the bottom. Failure to do this sometimes leads to the yeast/cider autolysing, which without getting technical is a transfer of taste - normally yeasty/cheesy. Its not a fault per se (some producers look for this), but personally I don't think it makes for the most exceptional profile. My guess is that with such acidic juice, it had a heavier reaction (but that is a guess, I cannot be sure).

The aftertaste is also acidic yet retaining the fruit. Not bad.

Although this scored 63/100, it is worth bearing in mind that this is above average, and I enjoyed the cider on the whole. However, I do (personally) believe it could have been better.

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