Hierophant

There are worlds within worlds and slight variations that create new worlds. Ideas are often built on an established foundation, from questions, foggy daydreams, phrases, or arise from the ether in a split second before they disappear again. Once an idea is entertained, it becomes a guidepost simultaneously reminding you of your beginnings and allowing you to explore distant lands. All one needs is a willingness to take risks and a patience to allow the land to reveal itself.

Twice a year we freeze, thaw, and extract the concentrate of Gold Rush and Winesap juice in order to create the bases for our dessert ciders. We collect the gallons we need for each product and the remaining frozen juice reaches the end of its lifespan. Three years ago I continued to thaw the frozen juice and collected as much concentrate as possible. There cannot be any waste with what we do, everything can be repurposed, reused, or simply function as inspiration through small batch experiments. Hierophant stems from an exploration of questions and the uncertainty of experimentation.

What happens if you mature a cider on its lees for an extended period of time? Are there certain apples that produce ciders that can be cellared indefinitely, only improving with age? What would ice ciders taste like if they were fermented to dry? Can there be a cider that is as bold and aggressive as some red wines?

Concentrate is the essence of the apple once you diminish what constitutes the majority of its makeup – water. Once you reduce the water, you begin to see with a clearer focus the three main components of an apple – sugar, acid, and tannins. Tasting concentrate is tasting a drop removed from the sea of juice, producing intense flavors and aromas, an overwhelming sense of what the apple truly is.

An ancient priest known for interpreting sacred mysteries and the divine, Hierophant showcases the tannic essence of Winesap and the lifting acidity of Gold Rush. At the beginning of the year we scaled up the initial small batch experiment. The process from the first batch was recreated, both apples fermented to dry with a champagne yeast (10% ABV and 0.1% residual sugar). The cider matured on its lees (settled yeast, apple gunk, etc) for over ten months. Each month we stirred the lees back into suspension, allowing it to settle again and again.

The cider is still, dry and tannic like you wouldn’t believe. It is rich and full-bodied, filled with tropical notes from Gold Rush to offset the complex tannins from Winesap. Served at room temperature, the cider showcases its bolder, tannic tendencies. Served chilled, Hierophant’s intense characteristics are softened. Each temperature offers a unique drinking experience. In order to allow the complexity to unfold, we recommend serving Hierophant chilled and allowing it to warm up over a period of time. Hierophant unveils the mysteries of these apples and presents their primal characteristics in a complex cider.

-Manuel Garcia


3 Comments

  1. JohnE

    Do you have any thoughts on pairing? From my memory of trying it in the tasting room, it’s not something I think I would drink by itself, particularly.
    Not that everything has to fit into a neat category but I just can’t quite work out what this *is*! An aperitif? A dessert? A winter warmer?

    • Blue Bee Cider

      Hi John!
      This one does defy categories a bit. For pairings, think of things with a nice umami note: french onion soup, spiced nuts, stroganoff, etc. It would be nice with a cheese course as well. After you’ve tried some things, let us know what you recommend!

  2. Manuel

    As a side note, what we served for club members long ago was the initial small batch experiment. What we are getting ready to release in bottles is a more polished, refined version of that first batch.

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