I will spare the texture of this grand narrative, except to offer a few observations along the way:
- Steinbart's is your one-stop cidermaking shop. You can rent a press there (seen in these photos) for $10 a day, and also get instructions about how to turn it into cider. For brewers, this process looks incredibly easy, bordering on crude. Essentially: press and add yeast.
- When I bought the yeast, I was shocked when the salesman sent me to replace the liquid yeast with dry yeast--an absolute no-no in beer brewing. Apparently vinters use dry yeast almost exclusively. The salesman was blase about it, and so I quizzed him: how many wine/cidermakers use dry yeast? (90%) How many brewers use dry yeast? (20%) Shocked but chastened, I bought the dry, which to add insult to injury was Red Star brand, famed for bread yeasts.
- Apples are principally structure, and only minimally liquid. We managed to get less than a gallon out of our bushel.
- "Summer apples" are reputed to be poor for cider, and I have no idea how they'll taste once turned into hard cider. But as raw cider, fresh from the apple, they were fantastic.
I will keep you updated about the progression of this experiment.