(Spontaneous) Aroma 2013 by ClubGonzo, Cider, 5.2/5.3% ABV.
I wasn’t very impressed by the spontaneous fermented ClubGonzo ciders I tasted earlier this year, i.e. Spontaneous Discovery 2013 and Spontaneous Crown Prince 2013. For this cider rating I’ll therefore rate two ciders both made from the 2013 harvest of Aroma apples, but with one bottle from a spontaneously fermented batch and one from a batch fermented with a conventional yeast (Safale US-05, in other words an ale yeast, not a cider yeast).
Aroma 2013, 5.3% ABV, fermented with off the shelf ale yeast, batch 15.
The colour of the both ciders is pale yellow with an orange hint. The fluid is clear, and the spontaneous version looks noticeably more carbonated. The increased carbonation is also evident on the palate.
Spontaneous Aroma 2013, 5.2% ABV, fermented without any help from the brewer, batch 16.
Aroma 2013 in the glass
The Aroma 2013 has a strong and pleasant aroma that actually is a bit sweet. I’m used to ClubGonzo’s ciders being a tad drier than desert sand, so this comes as a surprise. The apple aroma is clean, slightly fermented and definitely inviting. The spontaneous version has a bit less intense aroma and there are pleasant elements of fermented apples, but unfortunately there are also notes of solvent and band-aid.
The flavour of Aroma 2013 is strong and fairly clean, although there are some vague hints of baker’s yeast and rubber behind the fermented apples. It tastes less sweet than the aroma led me to believe. This a very dry and a bit acidic cider, but I think there is a bit more residual sugars than what I’m used to when it comes to ClubGonzo’s ciders. Or, as my wife put it: “This is almost like a real cider!”. The spontaneous Aroma 2013 is more or less ruined by unpleasant medicinal notes, solvent, band-aid and rubber, especially in the aftertaste. The apple notes are quite efficiently hidden.
Conclusion: Aroma 2013 is a successful cider with mostly clean notes of pure fermented apples. It’s very dry, but the acidity is tamed and there is enough residual sweetness to make it drinkable. The Spontaneous Aroma 2013 is ruined by medicinal off-flavours and should be poured into the nearest sink.
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0
Spontaneous Aroma 2013:
Ratebeer score: 1.9/5.0