When I received this book for reviewing, I was not sure what this book would hold within its pages.I have reviewed cookbook,but this sounded different .Once I started reading it, I was literally mesmerized by the contents!
This book written by Simon McKie, is a Ciderist’s guide to making Craft Cider. Words on the author is enough to authenticate the books content.Simon Mckie started making cider 30 years ago and in this book he shares his enthusiasm and experience of making craft cider.
The book starts with the statement that cider came to Britain before the Romans came. That was by itself enough to get me interested on the subject.
The contents of the book take you through all the stages of cider making.
The first chapter –Cidermaking – Traditional and Scientific, talks about the revival of cider making. Here we find a detailed explanation of the terminologies used. The geographical areas and styles tell us about the type of cider that is got.
Going through the history of cider making which started during the Medival and Tudor period we are able to picture the art of cider making.We are also able also get a picture of the decline and revival of this art of Cider making.
The starting point of cider making is selecting the right type of apple and that is what is explained in the second chapter. The key qualities of the apples that have to be considered –sugar ,acid and tannin content, and their flavors- are explained in detail. It also shows us how to store the apples until it is ready to be pressed.
Once the apples are ready, it is time to be pressed. The equipments needed and the ways to sterilize them are a part of the third chapter. The types of equipments that can be used are explained with beautiful photos. Also the storage during fermentation and maturation is neatly explained.
Assessing the pressed juice by measuring the sugar content, acidity and the taste,tannins and flavor is very essential says the fourth chapter.For the fermentation to take place, there are some additives that are added to the must like yeast , nutrients and pectolytic enzymes.
From fermentation to tasting is the fifth chapter which will enlighten you about all that you need to know about fermentation, maturation and the types of dispensers that can be used. As for the tasting section, the appendix at the end of the book has it all. Right from the basic information about the cider, color, smell, taste and overall description which are well explained we can rate the cider and tabulate them in the column provided.
The sixth chapter is the sweet and sparkling cider and cider brandy where teaching you the ways to make sweet cider.It also shows you how to make conditional cider which is cider where carbon dioxide is created as a part of the fermentation process taking place in the dispensing vessel so that the carbon dioxide released in the fermentation process builds up pressure in the vessel.
The last chapter takes us through the competitions, wassails, Fetes, raffles and sales of cider through the ages.
Then comes the appendix
- Troubleshooting and ways to avoid / solve them.
- Equipment- a complete list of equipments needed for cider making.
- Tasting methodology with tables to rate and record the cider
- Further reading – List of books on cider methodology , orchard management, apple varieties, history of cider making, older writing and book of general interest.
- Additional information on – cider flora, equipment supplies, tree suppliers, apple information, cider competitions, museums, training courses, commercial craft cider producers and cider associations.
Here is what impressed me about this book…
The book is neatly written in a simple language that is very clear to understand. I don’t know anything about cider making and upon reading this book, got me interested in it. I could understand all the procedures and processes!
Each and every chapter is accompanied with beautiful photos. The clicks are really impressive and make the book attractive. The photos of the equipment, pressing the juice from the apples, storage etc are very helpful. The lovely photos of fine cider flute made in 1650, apple blossoms, the jug full of medium sweet still cider, a B & W photo of a cider competition held in 1936 are few of my favorites from this book.
Apart from the colorful photos this book also has a number of vintage photos that give us an insight to the methods, equipments, and competitions etc. of the bygone era.
In a nut shell, I would definitely recommend this book for any one who is interested in making craft cider. Even a novice ciderist can create a great tasting cider with the help of this book.This book is very well written and is the best place to start for someone aspiring to be a ciderist.
The author’s expertise in this field of making craft cider is apparent in the ways he has given detailed descriptions in all the chapters and the photos are even more helpful in understanding the subject.
The Book At A Glance
Book – Making Craft Cider- A Ciderist’s guide
Author – Simon McKie
Publishers – Shire Publications
No. Of Pages -112