This cider started off as a 1-gallon experiment in which I took a preservative-free farmer’s market apple cider and fermented it with a mixed culture of microbes grown up from a number of different sour beers. The cider went from 1.050 OG to 0.99 leaving behind a whopping 7.84% ABV.
Initially there is a faint whisper of bruised green apple which is quickly overcome by the by-products of fermentation. There a pleasant barnyardy Brett character that is slightly musty and borders ever-so-closely to the mousey descriptor often used in funky beers with negative connotation. There is just a hint of tannic/earthy apple skin on the nose. There is no hint of the phenolic plastic / adhesive strip aromas that seem to dominate many of the Spanish / Basque funky ciders.
Straw yellow — almost looks like a white wine. There is a light haze. Bubbles form around the rim and quickly dissipate, much like a sparkling wine.
Apple character is almost non-apparent and comes off slightly watery. Austerely dry with no apparent alcohol. The is an interesting grain-like nuttiness reminiscent of Cheerios that is somewhat intriguing, but perhaps a touch out of place. The funky Brett character perceived on the nose isn’t quite as intense in the flavor.
Moderate carbonation that quickly dissipates. The combination of carbonation and acid leaves the cider with a slightly sharp impression.
Overall Impression (6/10)
This was a fun experiment and good foray into the world of funky ciders. In the end, the amount of apple flavor left behind was a bit disappointing. Additionally, the mixed fermentation did not create as much acid as I had hoped. Further back-sweetening to enhance the apple character, as well as a dose of acid would dramatically improve the overall impression of this cider. In future experiments, using a blend of apples selected for their suitability in hard cider production would likely create a better end-result.
Total: 27/50 Good