ClubGonzo’s (Spontaneous) Bramley’s Seedling 2013

(Spontaneous) Bramley’s Seedling 2013 by ClubGonzo, Cider, 5.5/5.4% ABV.

Cider Batches 18 and 19.

Cider Batches 18 and 19.

ClubGonzo made quite a few batches of cider from the 2013 crop of apples from Spildegarden in Øystese. Some of the ciders were fermented with a regular off-the shelf yeast strain, while others were left to their own devices and did the sugar-to-alcohol-and-carbondioxid-thingy all by themselves. This test is a comparison of two 2013 batches of ciders made from Bramley’s Seedling, one regular and one spontaneously fermented.

In the glass the two ciders look quite similar, the spontaneously fermented version has a tad darker amber colour and it looks more carbonated.

The aroma of the regular cider is strong, sweet and pleasant. I get lots of clean notes of succulent apples. The other cider has a less fresh aroma, the apples are not as crisp and there are also some faint hints of band-aid and glue (just to use another word than my regular “solvent”).

Regular Bramley's Seedling to the left, Spontaneous Bramley's Seedling to the right.

Regular Bramley’s Seedling to the left, Spontaneous Bramley’s Seedling to the right.

The flavour of the regular cider is less strong than expected, and it’s not as clean and full of sun-ripe apples as the aroma. There are also some vague off-flavours, which I of course, as always, elegantly classify as solventy. However, this is not a flawed cider, it’s drinkable and refreshing. It’s moderately carbonated and has a very dry texture.

The solvent is far more intrusive when it comes to the spontaneously fermented batch, especially in the bone dry finish. It’s not completely ruined, though, I’ve had others that were far worse, but this brew is not something I’ll spend my daily alcohol quota on.

Conclusion: Neither ciders are very successful, but the one fermented with regular yeast is the best one. The spontaneously fermented cider has more off-aromas and off-flavours, without being undrinkable. 

Bramley’s Seedling 2013:

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    10/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0

Spontaneous Bramley’s Seedling 2013:

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    8/20
Ratebeer score: 2.6/5.0
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One comment on “ClubGonzo’s (Spontaneous) Bramley’s Seedling 2013

  1. I was quite disappointed with my huge 2013 effort to make a series of great ciders from Hardanger. Whether they were spontanously fermented or not, they all fermented to the bone (as usual) and the spontanous versions were often flawed by their wild yeast character, more than I remember from the last time I experimented with spontanous strains from Spilde Gard.

    In either case, the real challenge with all these ciders is the complete lack of residual sweetness, which gives the drinker only a hint of apple flavor and a whole lot of yeasty tones, ranging from wine yeast to sulfur and band-aid like “solventy” flavors, which you so commonly detect in a lot of beers (but more accurately so, according to my own palate, in such ciders).

    I have approached cider in a different way in the apple seasons of 2014 and 2015, so it will be exciting to see how you feel about these.

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