Hard Cider Tip #6: Document Your Hard Cider

My adventure into making hard cider started with me reading everything I could find about apples and hard cider as well as by just making it. I like to experiment. Sometimes, I try something that I read isn’t supposed to work. I like to see if I can figure out how to make it work. As part of my experimentation process, I have tried to document as much as possible. That includes creating my apple database and recording the details of each batch of hard cider I make.

I admit that I haven’t always been successful in logging every detail. However, this documentation has formed the basis for my book on making and enjoying hard cider along with the blog articles and hard cider recipes I publish. I’ve continued to expand my record keeping by adopting technology.

For example, I found and downloaded the Cider Expert App for my phone and tablet.

Screen shot of hard cider rating in Cider Expert App
Hard Cider Rating in Cider Expert App

This has become a great way for me to record and log all the wonderful hard ciders I get to try. I record the tasting elements of the hard cider and capture pictures of the hard ciders. It has become my cider database, and a great tool for developing my palate.

I don’t like every cider I try but I do enjoy the experience of trying them. Trying new things together has become something my wife and I have come to love. It’s a long and somewhat funny story, but my wife never drank until a few years ago. Now she enjoys trying hard ciders, wines, beers, and other drinks with me. We realized that we were missing so many culinary experiences by not being open to experiencing new things. Trying hard cider has made us more aware of flavors and helped us better understand food. We both believe we have become better cooks and me, a better hard cider maker. Discussing the hard ciders we try and recording them on the Cider Expert App has made us think about and better define what we taste.

I mentioned my apple database earlier. I try to record every apple or pear I press. I capture the sugar, acid, pH, and photos. This is a valuable reference for me when I look to make hard cider recipes. I included a full copy of this in my book but here’s a sample to give you a feel for how I’m tracking this information.

Apple database for making hard cider.
Apple database for making hard cider.

The other key documentation I do to help me make a great hard cider recipe, is recording the batch details. I use masking tape on my fermenter and reference bottle, but I also use a hard cider batch log. Originally, this was a notebook but again, I’ve adopted new technology. I now use my tablet to log each hard cider batch. To support this, I created a PDF template and can hand write the details on it using my pencil along with an App on my tablet.. Here’s a copy of the template in case you would find it useful.

This is the PDF version, which is what I use. As requested, I’ve added an Excel version of this template as well.

The main tip for this hard cider post is to document what you do and how your hard cider turns out. If you like the results, you want to recreate it. Pretty soon, you’ll be posting or telling me about your favorite hard cider recipe.

If you have questions, you can leave a comment. If you enjoyed this article, follow me to get weekly articles on making and enjoying hard cider. Also, here some quick links to other material you may find useful.

Quick Links

It is that simple and there is no catch. I’m not going to sell your email or bombard you with unwanted requests to buy things. It will also give me a way to respond if you have questions about hard cider or need help with a batch. Stay safe, drink cider!

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