Ontario apples in demand for craft cider: The New Farm

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario apples in demand for craft cider: The New Farm
By Owen RobertsSpecial to the Star
Mon., Sept. 4, 2017

Gala, Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Northern Spy: these are the popular Ontario apple varieties Prof. John Cline and his pomology research team at the University of Guelph have focused on for decades. Consumers like these varieties and they grow well in Ontario.

Cline and his team — working out of the Simcoe Research Station — have helped apple producers adopt new management techniques that make growing trees and harvesting apples much more efficient and marketable.
Cline is particularly hopeful about a dozen apple cider varieties he and his team are working with. He believes these new products could be on the market in two years.
Cline is particularly hopeful about a dozen apple cider varieties he and his team are working with. He believes these new products could be on the market in two years. (Liz Beddall for the Toronto Star)

That’s key when apples are ready to come off the tree.

Lately, they’ve been turning their sights towards apples purposely grown for hard cider.

That’s a switch. At one time, cider was the poor cousin of the apple sector. Often it was made from apples that consumers avoided — for example, apples that were slightly blemished, irregularly shaped or had fallen to the orchard floor (called “grounders”).

Nothing was really wrong with these apples. But consumers looking for attractive table stock turn up their noses at imperfection.

Over the past decade or so, though, cider’s image has changed. It’s become the go-to alcoholic drink for millennials who believe it represents their values.

“Apple cider has a fresh, healthy connotation to it, so it feels natural to buy it where you buy other fresh, healthy foods,” says Toronto-based produce buyer and industry consultant Mike Mauti of Execulytics.

And then there’s craft cider, which further distances millennials’ libations from that of their parents.
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Craft cider is a higher-level product within the $24-million cider market. The LCBO describes craft cider’s growth as “exponential.” Last year alone, sales boomed 35 per cent.

About one-third of all cider offered now at the LCBO is craft cider.

Cideries that produce craft products distinguish themselves with the local ingredients their customers crave. They begin with fresh-pressed juice from local apple varieties (and, to a lesser extent, pears) and not much else. Craft cideries don’t add extra sugar, colour or flavour to their product.

They don’t need to, if the apples are specifically for cider. That means they have natural traits such as extra acidity, high sugars and tannins.

With support from the provincial and federal governments and the Ontario Craft Cider Association, Cline and his team are testing nearly 30 different apple cider varieties, primarily from France and Great Britain. As well, he’s part of an expert group coming together at the university specifically to service the hard cider and brewing industry.


University of Guelph Prof. John Cline and his team have helped apple producers adopt new management techniques that make growing trees and harvesting apples more efficient and marketable.
University of Guelph Prof. John Cline and his team have helped apple producers adopt new management techniques that make growing trees and harvesting apples more efficient and marketable.

In some cases, cider apple varieties are extra tart or sweet, much more so than popular table varieties. And that makes them ideal for cider makers to work with them, blend them and get unique combinations and unique products that appeal to consumers.

Cline is particularly hopeful about a dozen varieties he and his team are working with. He believes these new varieties could be on the market in two years.

“A lot of cideries are using fresh apples from popular culinary apple stocks, because that’s all what’s available to them,” Cline says. “That’s OK, but the craft cideries want something special: a juice that offers unique flavours and high tannins. That’s what we’re working to develop.”

Ontario has apple-friendly farms

Apples are a great crop for this province. “Ontario’s favourable climate, its adjacency to water and its excellent soil provide rich conditions for growing apples. That’s made it a hotbed for producing craft cider,” says Hamed Foroush, chief technology officer at Adeeb Consulting Inc. of Toronto.

Readers say phase out cages sooner

Last week’s readers’ poll was the most decisive since The New Farm series began. At press time, almost 570 of 730 reader responses said the 2036 target for Canadian egg farmers to phase out housing cages for hens was too long. Thanks to readers for all responses.

Owen Roberts is an agricultural journalist at the University of Guelph, and president of the 5,000-member International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. Follow him on Twitter @TheUrbanCowboy or contact him by email at urbancowboycanada@gmail.com .

Denis and Nicole recommend hard cheeses and dried fruit with their Ontario Craft Cider! Enjoy!

 

Everything you need to know about icewine

Everything you need to know about Icewine

 

Image result for image of red and white icewine glasses in snow

Article written by Edith Hancock

Let’s start at with the basics. Ice wine (or Eiswein in German) is a type of dessert wine that can only be produced in cold climates. It is made with grapes that have been frozen while they’re still on the vine. This is because the sugars in the fruit, unlike water, do not freeze, so while the grapes themselves are frozen, it’s possible to concentrate their flavours when it’s time to harvest. Unlike other sweet wines like Sauternes, the grapes aren’t affected by noble rot, and so their characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity.  is entirely reliant on the power of the elements.

Although we know that ice wine was being made in ancient Rome, the first modern example comes from Franconia in Germany, in 1794.

While frozen, the must (which I’ll use instead of grape juice given the fruit is partially frozen), is then pressed using a special machine (see video below for a run-down from Niagara College in Canada, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine.

The whole process from harvest to press can take around six hours, and must only be done when the weather conditions are right, so it can be risky (in some years, the grapes might not freeze at all). Sometimes harvests might not happen until after the new year.

The juice is then separated from the seeds and stems before fermentation begins. It may take months to complete the fermentation because of the grapes’ high sugar levels, and the wines can age for many years.

Some wineries do freeze their grapes artificially — a process called cryoextraction — although it’s only permitted in countries that don’t normally produce icewine and don’t have regulations for its production in place.

Although in theory you can make icewine from anything, typical grapes used include Riesling, considered to be the noblest variety by German winemakers; Vidal, which is popular in Ontario, Canada; and Cabernet Franc. Some producers are experimenting with other grapes like Chenin Blanc and Merlot. Those made from white grapes are usually pale yellow or light gold in colour when they are young and deepen with age, or pink when made with red grapes.

 

What are Hops?

What are Hops?

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are a perennial plant of the Cannabaceae
family that also includes the genus Cannabis. In beer hops provide
bitterness to balance the sweetness of malt sugars, as well as flavors,
aromas, resins that increase head retention, and antiseptics to retard
spoilage. Often referred to as a “vine”, hops are actually a “bine”,
using a strong stem and stiff hairs to climb rather than tendrils and
suckers to attach. It is the flower of the hop plant that is used in
brewing. Hop flowers or cones resemble pine cones bhopsut are composed
of thin, green, papery, leaf-like bracts. At the base of these bracts are
waxy, yellow lupulin glands that contain alpha acids responsible for
bitterness and essential oils that give beer flavor and aroma. The plant
has separate male and female bines, but only the female bines develop
cones. If male plants are allowed to pollinate them, the flowers will produce seeds,
rendering them useless for brewing. Aside from their use in beer, hops also have medicinal application as a sleep aid. Hop filled pillows were once a common remedy for insomnia.

Day length during the growing season has a major effect on yield. For this reason the
majority of the world’s commercial hop production occurs between latitudes 35° and 55°,
either north or south of the equator. The largest producers of hops
are Germany, the United States, China, and the Czech Republic.
Other important growing regions include England, New Zealand,
and increasingly Argentina. Climate and soil conditions have a
major effect on hops. Varieties developed in one region will have
different flavor and aroma profiles when grown in another.
Hop plants sprout in the spring and die back to a cold-hardy
rhizome in the fall. During peak growing season they grow very
rapidly, up to twenty inches per week. Commercial hop growers
cultivate hop bines on V-shaped, wire and twine trellises that are
up to twenty feet tall. In spring, at the start of the growing season,
two to three young shoots are trained in a clockwise direction
around each horizontal length of twine. The harvest season begins
in August and continues into October with different varieties of
hops coming ready at different times. Harvesting machines cut the
bines and twine at the top and bottom and load them onto trucks.
They then pass through a series of sorters to separate the cones from the stems and
leaves. The cones are placed in a kiln where 140° air is circulated, drying the cones to
about 30% of their green weight. After cooling the cones are compressed into bales or
further processed into pellets or extracts.

Types of Hops for Brewing

Hops are available to brewers in whole-leaf, pellet, or extract form. American craft brewers
have also started using fresh, unprocessed hops to brew “harvest” or “fresh-hop” ales.
Each of these forms has advantages and disadvantages.
Whole-leaf Hops – Whole-leaf hops are simply the dried hop
cones that have been compressed into bales. They are
believed to have greater aromatic qualities than the other
forms and are easier to strain from wort. However, because
they retain more of the vegetative matter greater volumes
must be used. They soak up more wort than other forms
resulting in greater loss to the brewer. Their bulk also makes
them more difficult to store and more susceptible to spoilage.

Hops can be generally divided into two broad categories, bittering and aroma. Those hop
varieties that contain high levels of alpha acids are called bittering hops because a lower
volume is needed to achieve high levels of bitterness. Those with lower alpha acid content
but higher levels of essential oils are called aroma hops. Beyond this broad division,
general characterizations can be made based on the traditional area of origin.

Continental or Noble Hops – The noble hops originate in central Europe and are among
the most prized of the aroma hops. There are four noble hops, Hallertau, Tettnang,
Spalt, and Czech Saaz. These hops impart a smooth bitterness and spicy/floral aromas.
The noble hops are often used in lagers. Common descriptors for these hops include
spicy, black pepper, licorice, perfume, floral, and herbal.

English Hops – The most traditional English hop varieties fall into the low alpha acid
aroma hop category. The most common are East Kent Goldings and Fuggle. Other
higher alpha English hop varieties include Challenger, Target, and Progress. Common
descriptors for the English hops include herbal, grassy, earthy, floral, and fruity.
American Hops – Bright, fruity, and resinous, these are the signature hops of American
pale ale and IPA. The United States grows a number of hop varieties that can be
considered duel use hops, with high alpha acid content and pleasant aromatic qualities.
Commonly used American hop varieties are Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Willamette,
and Amarillo. Common descriptors for the American hop varieties are citrus, grapefruit,
resinous, piney, fruity, and spicy.

Hops in the Brewing Process

Brewers use hops primarily to get bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Hops can be added at
several points in the brewing process to enhance one or the other of those things. While
most hops are added in the boil kettle, they can be added a various stages prior to and
after the boil as well.
Kettle Hops – Kettle hops is the name given to those hops added to the kettle during
the boil. These include early addition hops for bitterness and late addition hops for
flavor and aroma.
Bittering Hops – Bitterness from hops comes
from alpha acids found in the lupulin glands of
the hop flowers. The main alpha acids are
humulone and cohumulone and adhumulone. In
order to become bitter these acids must be
chemically altered, isomerized, by boiling.
Isomerization is a chemical process in which a
compound is changed into another form with the
same chemical composition but a different
structure. The percentage of the potential alpha
acid that is isomerized is referred to as
utilization. Because the length of the boil determines degree of utilization,
bittering hops are usually added at the beginning of the boil or with at least 60-
minutes of boiling time remaining.
Flavor Hops – Hop flavor and aroma are derived from essential oils found in the
lupulin glands. These oils include humulene, myrcene, geraniol, and limonene,
among others. The flavors are released as these oils become dissolved into the
wort during the boil. However, these oils are highly volatile and are to a large
degree lost to evaporation. For this reason flavor hops are added with twenty to
forty minutes remaining in the boil. This provides a compromise between
isomerization of the alpha acids and loss of essential oils.

Aroma Hops – Because the aromatic essential oils are highly volatile, aroma
hops are added in the last minutes of the boil to minimize their loss to
evaporation.

article written by Michael

www.aperfectpint.net

Portable Draught System – How do they work?

cheers with beer mugsPortable Draught Beer System (also known as Jockey box)

What are they and how do they work?

A jockey box system can sometimes be called a coil box or cold plate box. The name Jockey stems from the portability of the unit as it is easy to move from one location to another (jockey around).

A Jockey Box system contains all the equipment necessary to dispense beer; cooler box, beer line – stainless steel coils or cold plates, shank, faucet, CO² regulator, CO² tank and beer line connectors, and some come equipped with a drain tray and cup holder. CO ² gas is used to pressurized the keg for dispensing.

The key to the Jockey Box dispensing cold beer is the coil or cold plate unit that acts like a flash chiller meaning that the stainless steel beer line coil or aluminum cold plate (stainless steel line is encapsulated) is refrigerated using an ice water bath in the case of the coil system or ice only with the cold plate.

The Jockey Box system works on the principles that the keg is sitting at room temperature, 70º F and when the beer passes through the coil or cold plate located in the cooler box the beer temperature will drop to the ideal dispensing temperature of 38º F. It is the perfect system for large parties or special events such as a family reunion or company picnic. As it does not require electric it can be set up anywhere. CO ² gas is used to pressurized the keg for dispensing.

Keeping the keg cool is important to the function of the Jockey Box system and that is why it is recommended that keg jackets be used to ensure cold beer. Kegs when used with a Jockey Box system should never be stored in direct sunlight and in the heat of the summer it is wise to place the keg in an ice water bath in a tub. This way, the beer in the keg stays cold and the performance of the Jockey Box remains optimum.

Coil systems – The coil should be fully submerged in the ice water bath and as the ice melts the water should be drained and more ice added. Be sure to keep the drain closed on the cooler box and only open when draining water to add ice.

Cold plate systems – only ice should be used with cold plates, no water, and as the ice melts it should continually drain, remember to leave the cooler box drain open and run a drain line to a bucket to collect the water

Jockey Boxes are not for everyone, because they are not designed for long-term use. they are, however, perfect for 1 to 2 day parties and special occasions. They are completely portable and fun to use.

Just like all draft beer systems, Jockey Box systems require regular cleaning. All beer contact points – faucet body and faucet parts, coils or cold plates, beer line connectors and drain tray should be cleaned after each use.

Serve your own draught beer at your next party!

Contact The Glass Half Full for all the details.

 

 

The importance of cleaning and sanitizing

Wine-Bottles-Close-Up

 

 

 

 

Cleaning and Sanitizing……

“They can make the difference between sound wine and spoiled wine.”

This article pertains mostly to those who make wine at home and also to Wine-making stores.

For those of you who come and bottle your wine at a Wine making store, it is very important that your bottles get rinsed as soon as you have enjoyed a bottle of wine.  All you need to do is rinse your bottle with warm water and make sure you don’t leave any water behind. For screw top bottles, leave the cap off. This will prevent any water left in the bottle from eventually turn to mold.

Prior to bottling your wine, use a water rinse and a  food grade sanitizer rinse. Sanitizer protects your wine and bottle from bacteria and oxidizing. However, as this article suggests, if your bottles are not clean prior to bottling it will spoil your wine despite our rinsing and sanitizing and we will in any case refuse any bottles that don’t look clean for the sake of your wine.

Daniel Pambianchi, author and winemaker, was talking about cleaning and sanitizing when he put that maxim in Techniques in Home Winemaking. Home winemakers take serious risks if they do not pay attention to these critical areas. The following is an exert from Daniel’s article on cleaning and sanitizing:

Cleaning means to remove soil, grease, and other residues from the surface of utensils or equipment. That serves two beneficial purposes: It removes contaminants that might directly affect the quality of your wine, and it clears the surface for effective contact with a sanitizer. Sanitizers kill or inactivate any remaining microorganisms on the surface.

Cleaning Products

These are manufactured to help soften, dissolve, and lift off dirt, grease, and other contaminants. With a single exception (discussed later), all are intended to be rinsed off. To help with that, they are formulated for easy rinsing to avoid leaving material behind. Whatever you use, read the instructions on the package and observe safety guidelines. Common household cleaners like dishwashing detergent should be avoided in the winery. Those products are scented and the perfume may linger or leave a film or other residues when used on plastic containers, tanks, or hoses. Use a brush or scrubbing sponge to remove films. If you cannot reach a surface to scrub it, try soaking for several hours.

Sanitizers

Boiling:

Although effective, this technique is limited to objects that are small enough to fit in a pot and are sufficiently heat-resistant to be boiled. Boil at least 15 minutes. No need to rinse, just drain and allow to cool.

Sulfites:

I use sulfites in my wine to protect against oxidation and microbial spoilage. I use a 10% solution of potassium metabisulfite and add according to a guide like the one at www.winemakermag.com/sulfitecalculator. For sanitizing utensils and equipment with sulfite, Pambianchi recommends a 1% effective solution of sulfite, kept in contact with surfaces for 10 minutes. He notes that citric acid can be added to improve effectiveness. Because sulfite needs to be rinsed off before proceeding, it includes a small risk of re-contaminating the sanitized surface with non-sterile tap water.

Iodophor:

BTF and IO Star are brands of iodine-complex sanitizers. Using 1⁄2 oz. (14.5 mL) to 1 oz. (29 mL) in 5 gallons (19 L) of water provides active iodine at 12.5 to 25 ppm (mg/L). With a one- to two-minute contact time with clean surfaces, most organisms are effectively killed or disabled. For some applications, air drying is recommended. In many cases, you can just drain the sanitizer out and proceed. In my experience, a small amount of residue introduces no odor or flavor to my wine. Some users prefer to rinse when they have confidence that the rinse water is fresh and clean. The characteristic amber iodine color may stain soft plastic like vinyl hoses, but does not damage them otherwise. It is not recommended on elastomers. As the color of a batch fades over a period of a few days, you will need to add more iodophor or prepare a new batch.

Chlorine Bleach:

My advice is never use it. While chlorine is effective at killing microbes, it has two serious deficits for use in a winery. First, the odor is so strong that it must be completely rinsed off to avoid off-odors in your wine. Second, and most important, chlorine is often a critical player in development of TCA contamination in wine. TCA, trichloroanisole, is the bad actor in “cork taint” odor of spoiled wine. Given the opportunity to interact with porous surfaces such as wood or cardboard, particularly if mold is present, it can contaminate an entire winery.

Citric Acid:

Although not an aggressive sanitizer, citric acid introduces a low pH and helps retard spoilage organisms. It is especially useful on porous surfaces like inside an oak barrel, where you should never use any kind of sanitizer (except steam or sulfite). Use percarbonate to clean a problem barrel and follow with a citric acid rinse. Use about 1 Tbsp. (14 g) per gallon (4 L) of water and rinse off after use.

The Winemaking Sequence
Harvest and crush:

Grapes are not washed at harvest. All your winemaking equipment should be washed, but when to start sanitizing is a winemaker’s decision. I wash my picking bins and my crusher/destemmer, but do not sanitize them. I do sanitize the food-grade plastic fermenters I crush the grapes into.

Fermenting:

Besides the fermenters, I wash my stainless-steel punch-down tool after each use. I sanitize it just before using it again, using my spray bottle of ethanol. Other winemakers I know keep a bucket of iodophor or Star San in the winery and either dip the punch-down tool before use or leave it in the sanitizer between uses. Although brief contact is not a problem, Star San may corrode stainless steel if left in contact with it.

Pressing:

After washing with percarbonate and rinsing off, I drench my press with a citric acid solution. After letting it stand for a few minutes, I rinse that off with clean water.

Bulk Aging:

TDC or percarbonate do a great job cleaning glass or plastic carboys and stainless steel tanks. Sanitize with iodophor or Star San. For oak barrels, simply rinse with hot water. If you suspect a problem with a barrel, use a soaking technique of up to 1 lb. (0.45 kg) of sodium percarbonate in a 60-gallon (227 L) barrel. Dissolve the percarbonate in a few gallons (~10 L) of water first and funnel into the barrel. Fill with clean water and soak several hours or overnight. Pour out, rinse, and then swirl a few gallons (~10 L) of citric acid solution to neutralize alkaline residue from the percarbonate. Rinse again, drain, and fill with wine.

Racking:

Clean and sanitize the hoses and receiving vessels with your products of choice. For pumps and hoses, prepare buckets full of cleaner, plain water, and sanitizer. Recirculate one after another for two minutes at a time.

Bottling:

Spray the jaws of your corker with ethanol just before using. Wash and sanitize used bottles as you do carboys. I trust new bottles are sanitary as received and simply fill them. Always sanitize the racking cane or pump and hoses. Corks sealed in their original bags should be packed in sulfur dioxide gas and need not be sanitized. If the pack has been opened, dip corks a sulfite solution just before use.

Heed Daniel Pambianchi’s maxim from beginning to end and enjoy your clean, sound wine!