Friday, February 10, 2012

Product Review - Woodchuck Hard Cider Winter

I decided to try something different tonight when I dropped by the liquor store.  I wasn't in the mood for wine, and I didn't want to break the budget by picking up a bottle of bourbon that I haven't tried yet.  Instead I visited the cold drink corner of the store, which allows you to mix and match bottles of beer and such to make your own custom six pack.

One of the things I picked up was a bottle of Woodchuck Hard Cider Winter edition.  I started drinking hard cider during a visit to merry olde England years ago, and it's a treat to get some.  Unfortunately it's not always available here in the States, and when it is, the selection can be a bit thin.

Woodchuck is one of the few brands of cider that I can find consistently here in Louisville.  I have tried and liked their amber, pear, and Granny Smith varieties.  According to their website, they also make a raspberry, a dark, and a 'crisp', which I haven't tried.

Should have gotten some for Groundhogs Day

The carbonation fizzed out within a couple of minutes

The winter cider is about the same color as the amber, but is sweeter.  It has a good apple taste, but it's not very sharp or long lasting in the mouth.  The bottle I sampled had quite a bit of carbonation in it, but that fizzed out within minutes.  There are hints of spices, and the slight aftertaste is vaguely reminiscent of an apple pie.  The flavor is not as strong as the amber or granny smith varieties, but is not as sweet as the pear.

The ingredients list includes sulfites to preserve the flavor, as do most fruit-based carbonated drinks such as hard cider.  Some may find that this makes the drinker more susceptible to a hangover the next morning, but I have only found that to be the case with Woodchuck if I drink a lot of it.  Since cider is sweeter than beer or wine, it can be very easy to drink it to excess if you like the flavor, and I do.  That is one of the reasons I only bought one bottle.

Overall, I'd rate this one as good.  Not excellent, not one of my favorites, but also not something I wouldn't recommend trying.


MSgt B said...

"Some may find that this makes the drinker more susceptible to a hangover the next morning, but I have only found that to be the case with Woodchuck if I drink a lot of it."

Truer words were never spoken...

I have an excellent recipe for hard cider.

DaddyBear said...

Msgt B - When I get into home brewing, I'll reach out to you for that recipe. I don't drink beer enough to make home brewing worth the effort, but I could definitely drink my way through a few gallons of good cider before it got old.

LabRat said...

Obnoxiously, in order to make your own hard cider you need unpasteurized apple juice, which is damned hard to come by unless you make your own. (At least if you live in New Mexico and not, say, Washington or Vermont.)

We will be on the hunt for someone with an apple press this summer.

bluesun said...

One of my friends just made some cider with Treetop or some store brand, that is pasteurized but doesn't have and preservatives added.

It made a perfectly drinkable dry cider.

Nancy R. said...

My coworker gets unpasturized cider at a Menonite orchard. The season is short,however.

KurtP said...

What you need for hard cider

2) EA. 1 gal. jugs of Carlo/Rossi wine (empty at your convenience).

1) EA one-way aquarium valves.

Tube of silicone to seal said valve to one cap of C/R bottle.
1) Gal of non-preserved apple jiuce
1) PK campaign (sparking wine) yeast
about 1 Cup brown sugar.

Mix a little apple juice and brown sugar together and add the yeast.

Pour 1/2 the apple juice into the empty (and sanitized jug of ex-wine) [1 cap of bleach sitting in a full jug for 10 min. is good- rinse well)

Add the sugar
Pitch the yeast (add it to the bottle of Aj) and finish filling it up.

Cap and get the stuff mixed well (shake it up).

Let set in a dark and cool place for a good month or two.

Rack (decant) into the freshly sterilized bottle, leaving the dead yeast behind.

Recap (with the whole unchanged cap) and let sit in a dark, cool place for another month- or so.

Open slowly and enjoy a sparkling hard cider on the + side of 15% AVB.

I just emptied one the other day.

Time is your friend here.

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