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Cellar or not? Cider

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We’ve seen an uptick in ciders arriving at our office, and a notable increase in ABV, too. Since we’re cellar rats here at DRAFT, we’ve pondered whether the stuff would develop and evolve with age, much like our favorite malt-based beverages. Then, when we took a look at the 10%-ABV Angry Orchard Iceman, we decided it was time to call in an expert to get the skinny on the merits (or lack thereof) of aging strong cider. So, we reached out to Angry Orchard cidermaster David Sipes to answer our burning cider-cellaring questions.

Generally speaking, are certain ciders worth cellaring, like we see with malt-driven, high-ABV beers?
“Generally speaking, yes. As you get more concentrated in flavor intensity and alcohol, the flavor profiles are inherently more stable and therefore good for cellaring.”

How do you think Iceman’s profile will develop over time?
“Iceman has only been around for a little over a year so we don’t really know. But based on the flavor profile, I’d expect a slight shift from fruit-forward apple character to oxidation products characterized by honey, caramel and additional fruity ester notes.”

Do you have a recommended timeframe for laying down a bottle of Iceman?
“We’re still exploring. It’s new to us. I’m guessing a year or two, but the flavors will continue to develop after that, and could get very interesting. It’s hard to say at this point, but we are excited to see how the Cider House Collection evolves.”

Does Angry Orchard keep a collection of ciders around to experiment with aging?
“Yes, we have a pretty decent stash we are aging and checking-in on periodically.”

So there you have it: Cellar a high-ABV cider? Yes. We’ll put Iceman on ice for a year, and check back in on it next summer.

 

Author
Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.

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