A feature of Stone’s Ciders is the variety and innovation in the styles of cider produced.
Our Keeved cider has proved award winning in many competitions. This is the french style cider making where by removing nutrient from the fermenting juice the fermentation halts whilst there is still some residual natural sugar remaining. This is then bottled in Champagne style bottles and as the fermentation slowly progresses a naturally sweet and effervescent cider is produced.
We have also won prizes with Iced Cider with the help of Mendip Moments Ice Cream to freeze the juice. This technique spread from Canada and ‘Once upon a tree’ in Hereford introduced it to England. Here the juice is frozen before fermentation. It is then defrosted and the first juice to become liquid is drained off. This is naturally concentrated and has much higher sugars. Because it has a higher alcohol potential the natural cider yeasts do not bring the fermentation all the way down producing a rare naturally sweet ‘dessert wine’ style of cider. One or two West Country cider makers have consulted with us before going on to experiment with doing this commercially
Every year a number of single varieties ciders are experimented with. The early Morgan Sweet, the sharp Browns, Dabinett and the dessert apple Ashmead’s Kernel have proved amongst the best.
We also press both Elderberry and Blackberry with the hedgerow fruit included in the pomace at pressing. Hopped ciders have also been interesting and successful.
Unfortunately with the regulations set the order HM162 and the ludicrous duty regulations on anything other than straight apple cider none of these can be economically sold by a small producer. This is despite the fact that records of their being produced show a tradition of over 300 years.
A small quantity of genuine Perry is also produced each year – with genuine Perry pears scrumped from a local source. Perry is the pear equivalent of cider though is unfortunately less widely available due to a shortage of traditional fruit being grown. Stones Perry is beautiful one year and less so the next – the art of consistency is still to be mastered! An ongoing challenge.