Today we harvested all the apples off the Tropical Apple tree roughly about 50 KG. This is the best harvest ever. Partially because more fruit was bagged against fruit fly and partly because of the dry weather that assisted in fruit set and growth.
The scratter that was made from information on web a couple of years ago is designed to process a large amount of fruit. And today it received its first volume test. What a great machine. The task was completed very quickly and the whole unit taken outside (it is on wheels) and hosed clean in minutes. The scratter is almost completely made of recycled material. The timber is harvested from old pallets, The motor and pulleys from old washing machines and the drum holding the stainless steel teeth is an old Ironbark fence post put through a lathe.
Normally the volume is so small we only use a small press but for once we were able to utilise the larger wine press. The only difference was using a cloth liner for the smaller pulp. An old nylon curtain worked perfectly.
The scratter in action. A bucket of apples emptied into the feed in tray and about a dozen apples dropped into the hopper, then adding a few at a time as the stainless steel teeth shred the apples.
The pulp is pressed and the juice loaded into the demijohn. Roughly about 60% yield of juice. After the first hard pressing the pulp is loosened and pressed a second time. This produces a few more litres.
The pH was tested at 3.48 which is perfect as the ideal is between 3,.0 and 3.8.
The Brix was 11.5 and ordinary sugar was added to chaptalize to 16.5. This will produce an alcohol level of 9% which is the minimum recommended for flavour and aging. It is possible to make a lower alcohol but it will not mature as well and requires higher levels of Sulphur. Potassium metabisulphite was added at the rate of 50 ppm to kill off any bad bugs and the yeast will be added in 24 hours.
Two different batches will be put down with different yeasts and once the yeasts start their work the demijohns will be refrigerated to 15 C. The fermentation at lower temperatures produces better nose and mouth flavours. Higher temperatures can boil off the better esters.
A few apples were put aside for eating fresh. They go really well with blue cheese.