From the outset we have always wanted to produce a natural cider of integrity and in particular to avoid the use of artificial* and synthetic** ingredients.
That is why we only use fresh apples and apple juice to make our natural ciders. This may sound like we’re stating the obvious as cider makers but the majority of large scale industrial producers will derive their ciders principally from apple juice concentrate and glucose syrup.
To the fresh apple juice we add a specially selected natural yeast. We use two different varieties, one for our bittersweet cider apples and one for our eating apples. The yeast converts the natural sugars in the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide and alters various taste and aroma characteristics as it does so. The level of sugars in the fresh juice will vary depending upon the type of apple and the climactic conditions that it has been subjected to; but for example an eating apple could contain natural sugars of between 100 and 120 grams per litre.
When the yeast has converted all that sugar to alcohol we chill the cider, as it has now become, to clear it of the dead yeast cells and then we age it.
Different varieties of apples are fermented separately and once aged, blended together to produce the final base cider. The question is then, how do you re-introduce sweetness to make the finished article more palatable to you, the consumer. With our original objective in mind we have selected to re-introduce the sweetness by adding fresh apple juice into the dry cider – this also brings a great fresh apple aroma and feel to the palate. Then it’s simply a case of filtering the cider, carbonating it and sticking it in a bottle.
In short, a Stonewell is made of cider and apple juice with the natural process of fermentation assisting the depth and breadth of flavour.