Ask Mr. Wizard

Barrel Aged Cider


Talor Migliaccio - Colorado springs, Colorado asks,

After reading some previous articles on making cider, I’ve decided I’d like to give it a try. But I have a couple of questions:
1. I am going to try aging in 5 quart (5 L) barrels I found and I love the idea of using the malolactic bacteria (ML) culture to round out the flavor — do I have to use a regular white wine yeast and then add the malolactic bacteria later in the barrel or can I use only the ML?

2. I want a greater depth in flavor in my cider (hence trying to use a barrel to impart a vanilla/ toasted oak flavor to the cider). A second idea I had was to age bourbon/ whiskey in the barrel for 4-6 weeks (almost as an extended conditioner for the barrel), then rinse clean and age the cider in the barrel after that. Any thoughts as to the flavor the whiskey soaked barrel will add to the cider and/or damage that will cause to the fermenting process?

3. I love clean crisp ciders, but on occasion, a more malty mouth finish is wonderful. How can I impart such a finish on a cider?

  Cider certainly has become quite popular in recent years and with the popularity has come many very nice ciders on the market. In my opinion this is all the more reason
Response by Ashton Lewis.