Personal Pages/Apple Harvest 2018

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Schneider apples

The two apples trees on the field are "Schneider Apples", a variety local to Zurich, discovered/named in 1746. I have registered domains,, and


2018/09/15 The maize harvest team moved in and cleared the access to the two apple trees. 2018/09/16 picked up 4 x 17kg, Aksel picked up 8kg, so about 75kg. Plenty more left on the ground and still hung on the trees. 2018/09/22 Sat have squeezed 2 of the frozen crates, looks like about 20litres. Have 6-7 green crates waiting for washing and cutting. 2018/09/24 Mon have squeezed 1 frozen crate. Two more getting ready to defrost by Wednesday, then press Friday. 2018/10/04 Thu have about 80litres of juice for making cidre. 2018/10/22 Mon the cidre is bubbling happily, although with the occasional break. 2018/10/22 Mon the two 100 litre vats with "brown" stuff are pretty much full, I can still sneak in a pot full or two. Bubbling happily. 2018/10/22 Mon the two 150 litre vats are about 2/3 full, both have plenty of room. 3 x 10kg crates in the freezer, 1 defrosting, probably 8 left outside. Bubbling happily. 2018/10/28 Sun have finished with the two 100litre vats. Might fit more, but there isn't any point. 2018/10/28 Sun still apples remaining for at least 10kg, maybe 15kg. Currently one 10kg crate defrosting, 3 in the freezer. 2018/10/31 Wed Last apple cut. Currently one 10kg crate defrosting, 3 in the freezer. 2018/11/01 Thu There are still apples on the trees and on the ground. I considered going to pick another few kilos, but with the winter wheat sprouting ... 2018/11/02 Fri One crate ready to be moved to a vat, one crate defrosting, 2 crates still in the freezer. 2018/11/05 Mon all done. The last remaining apples have been added to the vats. 2019/05/12 Cider bottled, 2 x 20 bottles, 2019/05/24 More cider bottled, 7x700ml Moretti, 4x1litre transparent bottles with edges, a couple of regular 500ml bottles.

This season

This season I am doing it slightly differently. I am making:

  • one portion of cidre, in a 100litre vat.
  • two 100litre vats with all the leftover bits, brown, black, rotten etc.
  • two 150litre vats for apple, cut and frozen.
  • one 100litre vat for the trester from the juicing. Will be adding water+sugar.

I saw a documentary about the making of Williams brand - they never juiced anything, they put the mushed/crushed fruit direct into the fermentation tanks. I presume plus maybe some anti-pection enzyme? Apparently the taste is in the skin of the fruit. I am going to try the same, so still washing, cutting and freezing, and then straight into the vat(s).

For crushing the leftover bits into a pulp, I bought a hand-operated "mincer" in the Brocki. It has no knives that will cut the pips or any bits of apple stalk. To the first vat, I simply added a yeast starter, for the second vat, I added enough fermenting mush from the first vat. 20181004 They are both bubbling happily.

Some loose comments:

  • The 300litre vat is too big to handle, takes up too much space. I think it would also be difficult to scoop any solids out of it for distilling, so really for fluid/juice only. I don't see myself doing 250-300litres of apple juice?
  • might be useful with a metal frame support for the vat instead of the Rako boxes with the wooden shelf on top.
  • because I am also using the cut-away bits, I am being a little more generous when cutting them away.
  • the 150litre vat that wasn't tight - it's now tight. I wetted the rubber ring, and changed the bezel. I guess I was able to screw it on a bit harder.
  • one odd 100litre vat - Graf plast, and I don't have a lid+bezel that fits.
  • getting a transportschnecke for transporting solids out of a vat is probably unlikely ?

2 x 100litre vats with "brown"

Occasionally, these appear to have stopped fermenting, no bubbles nor pressure showing. I have even seen reverse pressure, i.e. air being sucked into the vat. It looks like the maische sort of splits into two parts - liquid below, more solid on top. I have a suspicion the CO2 is having trouble penetrating the upper solids. I have tried digging a hole (using the red paint mixer), which let out some CO2 from below. On 13 Nov, I also used the big spoon to swap the maische around a bit, and that seemed to get it going for a while.

the 100litre vat with trester

This one is doing quite well, bubbling happily. Starting 30 Sep, over a couple of days, I added 7 x 3+2, i.e. 21litres of water and 14kilos of sugar. Around 1 Nov, I added 20litres of water, to make sure all the bits are soaked. The vat is about 2/3 full, according to the pen markings, between 70 and 80litres.

experiment #1

It seems to me that yeast bacteria ought to have little problem with the cell walls? The bacteria that eat away at the apples when they grow brown and finally black certainly make an apple all squishy. Maybe I don't need to freeze the apple at all?

20181005 I have taken 3.5kg apples cut over about 24hours, and put them in a small 15litre vat. I then added 2ml of fermenting juice (from the cidre). 20181013 I added a few more handfuls of freshly cut apples. It's all bubbling nicely. Because there is no oxygen in the vat, the fruit doesn't oxidise and go brown. 20181020 I moved to a 30litre vat, and added a few kilos. It looks full. Bubbling nicely. 20181028 I think the vat has maybe 12kilos, maybe room for 2-3-4 kilos more. Bubbling nicely. 20181115 Still bubbling, albeit slower. 20181202 Have added 3litres of water.

I added more water later on, and then distilled it on 12 May 2019 - no big success. It came out hazy on the first take, less than 30%. Some of the apple bits were still hard. When it had cooled down, I put it all the press and squeezed out whatever juice I could. I expect to have it finish fermentation and then distill it. May be mix it with the remnants of experiment#2.

experiment #2

I have taken some of the fully black/brown apples, washed and quartered them, then stuck them in a 30litre vat. I'll be adding more, up to 25litres I think. I took 2ml juice from one of two 100litre vats, then another 2ml from the cidre vat and added that.

20181014 Started. 20181016 No bubbling yet. 20181020 Bubbling, maybe since 1-2 days. 20181115 Still bubbling, albeit slower. 20181202 Have added 8litres of water, to cover the fruit. The vat with trester and water seems to be bubbling more steadily, I'm wondering if it related to the fruit being mostly submerged. Water won't do any harm, so I'm trying that. On 19 May 2019, I distilled this batch, after adding maybe 15litres of water, to cover the apples. The apples were still whole, clearly not broken down by the yeast bacteria, at all. The output was as poor as experiment#1 - 400ml at 30% which I put in the tails bottle. I am still tempted to try this again, but clearly I will need to freeze the apples to break down those cell walls. We'll see what the two 150lityre vats are like - frozen, but not squeezed. I am also wondering if I should try try freezing them now, and then referment?


I'm toying with the idea of naming the Schnapps "1746".

braun the "brown" stuff, i.e. from the leftovers and brown bits.

schwarz the "black" stuff, i.e. from the 30litre vat with black appples.

grün the regular stuff, 2 x 150litres.

weiss the 30litre vat with the unfrozen stuff.

  • fits really well on the brown bottle tags.
  • just "jessen" might also fit quite well.

Tambel / Jessen / Schneider

Name it "Tambel" ? Jessen ? Schneider ? TJS ?

fermentation notes

The different vats do ferment differently too.


The 2 x 150 litre cats with apple bits. These also seem to stop bubbling every now and then. I don't know for how long nor if or when they resume. Having dug around the vat with the big plastic ladle, I wonder if the solids form a layer that the CO2 bubbles cannot penetrate (easily). I have mixed the contents a few times which always restarts the bubbling. I am also contemplating adding a few litres of water - the apple trester (below) seems to bubble well, without interruptions.

20190317 added 10liutres of water to the leftmost vat. I was wondering if the alcohol percentage prevneted the yeast from working, and want to try to dilute it. 20190320 It had no effect.

apple trester

This vat has squeezed apple chunks, soaked with water and sugar diluted in water. It bubbles quite regularly. I imagine the CO2 can travel through the matter with little hindrance.

I am contemplating soaking the squeezed apple bits first, maybe adding aroma?, before putting them into the vat for fermentation.

apple juice

The juice for cidre making just bubbles.

apple mush

The apple mush appears to halt bubbling for periods of time,. I have dug a hole in the middle, with the red drill mixer appliance, through that I see juice and bubbles coming up. I imagine the juice draining down from the mash, leaving a fairly densely packed mush, maybe airtight. I am contemplating a large diameter pipe, with a fine-grained filter on the end, stuck in the mush, allowing the juice below to aerate CO2 ?
20181203 On the surface I see something growing, albeit slowly. Have mixed the mush with the big black ladle, just turned it over. This produced immediate bubbles.


I have read that the yeats needs oxygen in order to grow. If there is insufficient oxygen in the mash, the fermentation might simply stop. 2019/01/16 Using the red double-stroke hand pump and the 50cm length of green gardening hose, I spent maybe 5minutes on each of the two 150litre and on the leftmost of the two 100litre vats, pumping in air.

Not sure if e.g. an acquarium aeration stone might be useful, but beerbrewers also use something like that.