CYDER. A fermented beverage prepared from thejuice of apples. Large quantities of this liquor are made annually in England; that made in Here fordshire and Devonshire is generally accounted superior to any other. The best practical directions on the art of preparing this liquor that have been given to the public, are those of Messrs. Marshall, Crocker, and Knight, from which chiefly the following account is compiled. The process may be divided into three distinct parts. 1st. Preparing the fruit. 2d. Grinding and expressing the juice. And 3d. Fermenting and bottling.
1st. In preparing the fruit care must be taken both as to its peculiar quality and its stage of ripeness. Mr. Marshall is of opinion that the fruit should not be gathered until fully ripe, which is when they to fall from the trees ; but as apples ripen very unequally on the same tree, he recommends that the trees should first be gone over with a hook when the fruit begins to fall naturally, and that they should be finally cleared with poles when all is ripened, or the winter likely to set in. When the fruit has been gathered, it is usual to lay them in heaps to sweat, but this appears to be only useful for such fruit as is not perfectly ripe.
2d. Grinding and Pressing. The grinding is usually performed in a mill nearly resembling a tanner's mill for grinding bark, and consists of a millstone from 2} to 4} feet in diameter, from 9 to 10 inches in thickness, and 1 to 2 tons' weight, and running on its edge in a circular stone trough. The bottom of the trough in which the stone runs is somewhat wider than the stone itself; the inner side of the groove rises perpendicularly, but the outer side is bevelled in such a manner as to make the trough 6 or 8 inches wider at top than at bottom. The runner or millstone turns upon a long shaft or axle passing through its centre ; the inner end of the shaft rests upon a pivot in the centre of the mill bed, and the outer end extends beyond the circular trough, and is there connected with a spring bar, to which a horse is attached. After the fruit is ground it generally remains some time before it is pressed, to allow the rind and seeds to communicate their virtues to the liquor : from twelve to sixteen hours is sufficient for this purpose. In order to press the fruit, or pommage, as
it is now called, it is folded up in pieces of hair cloth, or placed between layers of clean sweet straw or reed. The bed of the press, which is about 5 feet square, should be made entirely of wood or stone, the practice of covering it with lead being extremely pernicious. It has a channel cut a few inches within its outer edges to catch the liquor as it is expressed, having under it a stone trough or wooden vessel to receive it. The press is worked by levers of different lengths, first a short one, then a longer one, both worked by hand, and lastly a bar 8 or 9 feet long, worked by a capstan or windlass.
3d. Fermentation. The common practice is to have the liquor tunned imtne diately, and to fill them quite full, but it is more proper to leave a small space to be filled up afterwards. No ferment is added, as in malt liquors, but Mr. Marshall thinks it would be desirable to do so, as it would more speedily determine the fermentation, which at present is vary precarious as to the time of its com mencement and its duration. The process of fermentation is variously conducted by different cyder growers, some endeavouring to promote it in a spacious open vat, whilst others endeavour to repress it by enclosing the liquor in hogsheads, and excluding the air. After remaining a certain time in the fermenting vessel, it is racked off from the leys and put into a fresh cask. A fresh fer mentation usually commences after racking, and if it becomes violent a fresh racking is necessary to check it ; but if only a small degree of fermentation takes place, termed fretting, the liquor is suffered to remain in the same cask. Mr. Crocker says, when the fermentation ceases, and the liquor appears toler ably clear to the eye, the pure part should be racked off into open vessels, and placed in a cool situation for a day or two, after which it may be again barrelled, and placed in some moderately cool situation for the winter.