Cider apples are a specific type of apple variety that is primarily grown and used for the production of cider. Cider apples differ from eating apples, as they are specifically selected for their unique flavour profiles, tannin levels, acidity, and sugar content, which contribute to the complex and characteristic taste of cider.
Some key characteristics and types of cider apples:
Bittersweet: Bittersweet apples are cider apples that have high levels of tannins and sugar and low acidity. They provide body, structure, and a rich, sweet flavor to ciders. Some popular bittersweet apple varieties include Dabinett, Kingston Black, and Yarlington Mill.
Bittersharp: Bittersharp apples have high tannin and acidity levels, making them suitable for blending with other apple varieties. They contribute a pronounced bitter and sharp taste to ciders. Examples of bittersharp apples include Foxwhelp, Somerset Redstreak, and Ellis Bitter
Sharp: Sharp apples have high acidity levels, which add a tangy and lively character to ciders. They are often blended with other apple varieties to balance the flavors. Notable sharp apple varieties include Bramley’s Seedling, Cox’s Orange Pippin, and Spartan.
Sweet: Sweet apples are used in smaller quantities in cider production to provide natural sugars for fermentation. They contribute a touch of sweetness and fruity flavors. Some sweet apple varieties suitable for cider making include Golden Delicious, Gala, and Fuji.
Traditional and heirloom varieties: Many cider apples are traditional or heirloom varieties that have been cultivated for cider production over generations. These varieties often have unique flavors and characteristics, and they contribute to the diversity and regional variations in cider styles.
Cider-specific varieties: In addition to traditional apple varieties, some apples are specifically bred or selected for their suitability in cider production. These cider-specific varieties have been developed to enhance specific cider characteristics such as flavor, aroma, tannin content, and acidity.
Cider apples are typically harvested when they have reached optimal maturity and are then processed to extract the juice. The juice is then fermented using yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol, resulting in cider. The specific blending and fermentation processes can vary depending on the desired cider style, regional traditions, and the cider maker’s preferences.
Cider apples play a crucial role in the production of high-quality ciders, as their unique characteristics contribute to the complexity, flavor, and overall experience of the beverage. Cider enthusiasts and cider makers often seek out specific cider apple varieties to create distinctive and flavorful ciders.