We got an email recently asking about whether the mix in our reader’s garden was suitable for cider.

“I have 3 cider apple trees ,they are ellis bitter, tremletts bitter and yarlington mill. I also have a variety of eating and cooking apples including bramleys, jupiter, jonogold, lanes prince albert , lord lambourne and 2 crab apples. plus others. My question is:what would be a good mix for a good rich cider. hope to make about 5 gallon. many thanks . john”

Well, my response is that John is showing off.  What a  fantastic collection of trees to work with. I do hope the harvest is good this year as you will be spoilt for choice.

Ok, so you ask for a ‘rich’ cider recipe, but one man’s ‘rich’ might be another man’s ‘undrinkable muck’. Blending is an art form, not a science and even choosing the same proportion of apple varieties in a blend can result in a finished cider that tastes quiet different from year to year.

If you are set up for it, try brewing single varieties through to finished ciders and then blending them according to taste at the end of the process. This will give you an approximate recipe to follow next year.

If you don’t have enough fermentation vessels to be able to do that this year, then simply resort to this ‘old faithful’ recipe.

40% tremletts bitter
20%  yarlington mill
10% ellis bitter
10% lambourne
10% bramley
5% any others
5% crab apples


Then of you have more apples, try a completely different mix and see what emerges from that ( you probably wont be disappointed)  The key is to always record your mixes so that you can repeat the good ones. Writing things down is so important because drinking good cider does tend to make you forget stuff.  Happy Brewing.