Examples of Sierra Cider Apple Varieties
This is one of our old English varieties originating from seed planted by Dr. Ashmead around 1700. It is a favorite heirloom apple known for its intense aromatic and rich flavor with a nice balance of sugars and acids. It’s also a “leather coat” or russet apple, with a skin similar to a russet potato. The Ashmead’s Kernel has an average Brix unit rating of 18, tannin levels of 0.17%, acidity at 1.0%, and ranges close to a 3.45 pH level.
Another russet apple, it’s thought to come from a seedling of an English russet discovered in New York before 1850. We like its nutty taste and the complexity it gives to cider blends. It’s a bit of a challenge to grow because of its sprawling characteristics. The Golden Russet has an average Brix unit rating of 18, tannin levels of 0.18%, acidity at 0.79%, and ranges close to a 3.60 pH level.
This apple is an early one and first to pick in August in our area. It gears us up for the harvest season. The cider produced from this apple resembles syrup in its taste and consistency. It originated in New Jersey and was named after a farmer who cultivated it. It was originally mixed with Harrison crab apples for making cider of a superior quality. The Graniwinkle has an average Brix unit rating of 18, tannin levels of 0.10%, acidity at 0.53%, and ranges close to a 3.90 pH level.
The Harrison Cider Apple was considered lost until it was rediscovered in New Jersey at an old cider mill in 1976. It was one of the most famous 18th-century American cider apples. The juice is very sweet, viscous and dark with complex flavors which make a highly colored cider with great body. The Harrison Crab has an average Brix unit rating of 20, tannin levels of 0.15%, acidity at 0.60%, and ranges close to a 3.70 pH level.
Harry Master Jersey
This is called a “spitter-apple” due to its intense tannin levels. It was believed to be raised by …Mr. Harry Master in Yarlington Village, England in the late 1800s. He also popularized the Yarlington Mills apple. Both apples have similar cider making attributes while the Harry Master Jersey tannins are softer and less astringent. The Harry Master Jersey has an average Brix unit rating of 17, tannin levels of 0.30%, acidity at 0.17%, and ranges close to a 4.20 pH level.
This is one of the classic cider apples because of its balance of sugar, acid, tannin, and body. It’s thought to have originated in Somersetshire, England, about 1820 and named after the village of Kingston St. Mary. It is one of a very few single varieties that makes a high-quality cider by itself. A moderately sweet apple, it has a strong astringent aftertaste due to its tannins. The Kingston Black has an average Brix unit rating of 17, tannin levels of 0.26%, acidity at 0.56%, and ranges close to a 3.65 pH level.
This is the oldest named American apple, originating in Roxbury, Massachusetts in the early 1600s. Along with the Wicksons, this guy is a great cropper bringing heavy yields and body to many of our ciders. It has a unique spicy flavor that surprises those of us raised on the grocery store five. The Roxbury Russet has an average Brix unit rating of 18, tannin levels of 0.11%, acidity at 0.80%, and ranges close to a 3.50 pH level.
Wickson is a variety developed by Albert Etter, the California plant breeder, and named after his fellow pomologist and friend, E. J. Wickson. It is one of our favorites with an intense Johnathan apple taste with a mix of spice, acid and sugar. Along with Harrison, it makes up our sweetest apples with sugar content up to 25%. The Wickson Crab has an average Brix unit rating of 23, tannin levels of 0.15%, acidity at 1.04%, and ranges close to a 3.40 pH level.
Hello tannin! This one has pucker power when eaten and is another “spitter-apple” due to its intense tannin level. When blended with other apples it makes a great cider giving you a dry aftertaste, cleansing the pallet and making you crave for more. In some circles it’s considered another single varietal “classic cider apple”…I guess if you like your cider real dry! The Yarlington Mills has an average Brix unit rating of 15, tannin levels of 0.38%, acidity at 0.17%, and ranges close to a 4.50 pH level.