Discover the special taste that comes from the ice cider process we use here at Hall Home Place. Every year presents new challenges in this unusual cider-making process, but every year we create a drink to remember.
Letting the Cold Bring Out the Flavor Naturally
Vermont-style ice cider follows the principles and guidelines developed in Quebec, Canada, where it was first developed around 1990.
To further enhance the flavors, we leave the fruit in fresh storage even later. Once pressed, we leave the fresh juice to freeze naturally.
Adjusting to Meet Each Changing Year
While we like to have the sweet cider pressed in late December, the outside temperature controls this as well.
Decembers often are too warm for sweet cider to freeze and we often do not finish until well into the new year.
Producing the Best in Apple Cider Flavors
Unless we're pressing for a single variety, we combine different varieties of apples as we grind and press the fruit. This assures us that the sweet cider is already melded to achieve its best flavor.
The sweet cider is stored outside until frozen solid. It is then brought back inside where it is defrosted. The high sugar concentrate melts first and is collected for ice cider processing. One gallon of sweet cider will yield approximately two 375-ml bottles of ice cider.
Aging the Cider
Once the juice is ready for fermentation, we use a standard wine fermentation process. Because the sugar levels are so high, we follow a different “feeding of yeast” routine than a standard winemaker would follow.
We are always searching for the right taste and have found some blends are best when aged for a long time while others are ready sooner.
Pressing the Fruit
Our fruit is processed in hydraulic water bladder presses that can press as little as 15 to 18 gallons at a time.
Our closed loop system allows us to pump from a separate holding tank to the presses. When the press is complete, the water is pumped back into the holding tank. This reduces water waste and makes for a faster press cycle.
Adding Iced Apple Hard Cider to Our List of Products
Ice cider comprises 15% to 20% of the sweet cider we make during the month of December. The next 20% or contains more sugar than the pre-frozen sweet cider that came right off the press. After some experimentation with hard ciders, we use the "second melt" juice to make a very nice hard cider.
In 2012, we began selling our hard cider to the public.