Orchard Orgy Type 22a

Ref 2020-09 Orchard Orgy (Type 22a) Brewer Farmer Jim's
Style Dry Hopped Sparkling Type Cider
Started Thu 24th Sep 20 OG 1.046 Status Available, 5.6% ABV
Handle 2020-09 Orchard Orgy (Type 22a)
Brewer Farmer Jim's
Style Dry Hopped Sparkling
Type Cider
Status Available, 5.6% ABV ABV
Started Thu 24th Sep 20 OG 1.046
Packaged Sun 17th Jan 21 FG 1.003

A 22 litre bucket from our main pressing of 2020. This was the last vessel to be entrusted to my charge and subsequently fiddled with, and based on the recent success with a Mangrove Jacks kit I decided to have a go at making my own dry-hopped cider by dumping in a bag of Citra pellets and hoping for the best.

Mar 202107Sun

Winding down for the evening with something sweet, and another 22a with absolutely no fizz. This time it’s a full-size 500 ml flip top bottle, and although there was a slight schnick when it was opened the nectar just sits in the glass like apple juice. Well, not exactly like apple juice, because it tastes a bit hoppy and alcoholic, but it’s not fizzy like it’s supposed to be.

Is it the bottles, or the primer? I wish I had a variety of vessels to compare, but something tells me I’m just sitting on a crate of flat flip-tops. Oh well. The landlady will like it since she hates fizz, but then again she hates sour too. More for me.

20 days
12 days
Feb 202103Wed

Mangrove Jack’s Dry-hopped Cider

Great carbonation right off the bat, absolutely perfect for this type of drink. Looking back over my notes I see that each 50 ml bottle had two Easybrew carbonation drops, but so have plenty of my beers and none of them has this amount of fizz. Must be a cider ‘ting.

Taste is perfect at first hit, the hops adding a definite flavour of their own which is unlike anything else you can put in cider. Just wonderful. Sweetness is also great at the start, then you begin to wonder halfway through what it would be like with the sugar turned down by 50%. Not that it’s cloying or overly syrupy, you just get the impression that it would work equally well as a semi-dry or a dry cider. Repeating this at different levels of sweetening shouldn’t be too hard, as I recall there was a small sachet of sweetener to be added before bottling, with instructions to add half for a semi-dry cider and add all for a sweet cider. I added all because it was a ridiculously small sachet for 23 litres of brew, but next time I’m going to try just half.

Orchard Orgy Type 22a

My second hoppy dose of apples this evening, and this one’s a deeper shade of greeny-amber (damn this colour blindness!) with a totally different feel and taste.

First off it’s the carbonation, and there’s a whole lot less of it. Looking back over my notes just now (and in the bin, to get the bottle’s number) I see that I bottled 37 x 500 ml in total with various amounts of sugar and carbonation, but my bottle is #38 and it’s a 275 ml Heineken, one of the runts from the bottom of the bucket. (the other recent trial was probably #39) With no record of how much sugar and carbonation I added to this one it makes the comparison rather pointless … erm … yes. But to be repeated! *

Worth noting however that the cider in our own Type 22a tastes much more like real cider, and I’m not just saying that because I helped press it 131 days ago. There’s a scrummy, scrumpy complexity that you just don’t find in the extract concentrate, and I can’t wait to sample & compare some full-size bottles of this stuff over the coming weeks.

Oh, and the hops? Different too, and not as prevalent here as in the MJ version. Each had 50g of Citra added before bottling (MJ 2 days, 22a 3 days) and I’m inclined to put a difference in taste down to the type of cider that we started with rather than the extra day that was afforded to the Citra in 22a. It’s almost certainly something to do with our apples, most of which were of the sweet variety as opposed to dedicated cider apples.

… and the winner is:

Undecided. Let’s revisit once we know we’re comparing apples with apples, at which point I’ll get some photos and a second opinion.

* Scratch that – just read my notes properly and apparently the Heinekens had 2 carbonation drops and 10 ml sweetener. Well, they were flat, and tasted as though no sugar was added. Neither of those facts bodes well, though I suppose there’s the outside chance that the caps didn’t go on 100% right on the Heineken bottles, which have small shoulders and felt iffy during capping. As always, fingers crossed.

3 days
Jan 202131Sun

Decided to sneak a cheeky 22a in after our Rogan Josh tonight, seeing as there were two 275 ml Heineken bottles that seem to have lost their way between the server room and the garage, ended up in the fridge for 2 days.

The bottle I liberated had no sediment in the neck and only a very small amount in the bottom, which is interesting since being a 275 ml unit it would have been from the end of the bucket when I didn’t thin I’d have enough to fill another of the usual 500 ml bottles.

It may have been the MPA or the Guinness (or the curry) that went before it, but this Orchard Orgy Type 22a was absolutely sublime, and knocked the spots off the Kingstone Press which followed. There’s something about the inclusion of hops which lends a piquant crispness that’s extremely difficult to describe, especially after four beers, two ciders, a curry and a Guy Ritchie fillum. I do hope that the strange deposits I saw in the other bottles aren’t going to pose a problem, because this one’s a corker.

6 days
8 days
Jan 202117Sun

Having imbibed the precious portion of hops over the space of 3 days it was time to stuff this, the last of our 2020 cider, into clear 500 ml flip-top bottles. I took a quick gravity reading before commencing the ritual and was surprised to find 1.003, a whole 3 points higher than when I added the hops, but then again there was very little greenery on the surface (compared to a dry-hopped beer) so I suppose all that organic matter must have some impact. 1.003 from 1.046 translates to 5.64% ABV which is just fine with me. As always there was some experimentation at bottling time:

  • 01 – 15 got 3 carbonation drops (target = 750 ml) and 10 ml Erythritol
    • 01 and 02 (stopper marked ’R’) were bottled un-hopped 3 days ago
  • 16 – 25 got 2 carbonation drops (target = 500 ml) and 10 ml Erythritol
  • 26 – 30 got 3 carbonation drops (target = 750 ml) and 15 ml Erythritol
  • 31 – 35 got no carbonation drops and 5 ml Erythritol
  • 36 & 37 nothing at all

There were also two (unnumbered) green Heineken crown-caps, one 275 ml and one 330 ml, which received 2 carbonation drops (target = 500 ml) and 10 ml Erythritol. Watch out for those two!

3 days
Jan 202114Thu

I decided that this cider needed some hops before bottling, because I was impressed by the Mangrove Jack’s Dry Hopped Cider and wanted to see if I could do it too.

Before adding the 50g bag of Citra pellets I’d sourced via Amazon I racked to a new FV because there was a very slight layer of something on top, and because I’d noticed a tiny amount of airlock activity since I measured gravity yesterday. I got to just below 20 litres and was impressed how clear the cider was, and how little sediment was visible on the bottom. To be fair we did rack the vessels we transferred from Port Erin back in November, but still. Very nice. Ambient temperature in the brewery was 19.9 ℃ and I didn’t bother measuring SG again since it won’t have changed much from yesterday.

Almost as an afterthought I filled two 500 ml flip-top bottles before the hops were dumped so that we’d have a comparison, adding 10 ml of Erythritol and three carbonation drops (target = 750 ml) per bottle. I know, over-carbing again, but I really think that two drops isn’t enough for half a litre when it comes to cider, and hope that three drops won’t put us into gusher territory just yet.

1 day
Jan 202113Wed

This is more than ready for bottling now; the sample from the trial jar is clear (if a little sour) and comes in at 1.000 exactly, making for 6.04% ABV though it doesn’t taste half as strong.

I’m tempted to bottle this right now with 10 ml of sweetener, but then again I was very impressed with the taste of Mango Jack’s Dry Hopped Cider when I bottled that a while ago, and wouldn’t mind having a go at something like that myself. Maybe dry hop for a couple of days before bottling? Something to think about…

57 days
45 days
8 days