Two Firsts in One
It is no secret that we are fans of Russet here at Ascension, but we had never released a single variety Russet cider. We’ve also wild fermented every cider, until now. Sourcing the fruit from a local orchard in Herstmonceux, we took delivery and pressed the juice in late autumn last year, before splitting the juice across two tanks.
The first being a 220L tank that would be and released in the Eclosion series, our small-batch, wild fermented, unblended range of single variety ciders. The cider was fermented at ambient temperatures, and aged on lees for a further three and a half months before being racked and canned.
The resulting cider is a wonderful beast. Smooth, rich, complex, and with an amazing depth of flavour from the extended aging. Heavy flavours and with a great moody finish that grabs your attention. This is unlike any Russet cider I have had before.
The second Russet SV is something a little different
Ascension has been wild-fermentation ONLY since our inception, relying on the natural yeasts brought in from the orchards to work its magic on the sugars in the juice, until now…
We inoculated 750L of freshly pressed Russet juice with VOSS KVEIK yeast. A Norwegian farmhouse strain that’s been used in beer for centuries, but never in cider until now! Not knowing what to expect from this yeast strain, seriously, I cannot find any other “commercial” cider producer that has ever used it, I was absolutely blown away with the results. This cider was fermented at ambient temperature, allowing the natural fluctuations to affect the yeasts, just like they would have done all those years ago, aged for a further three months on the lees, before being packaged unblended and unsweetened.
Amazingly fruit-forward with flutters of Norwegian funk, hints of acid compliment the Russets natural characteristics, which are still delightfully bold, before leading to an amazingly long and satisfying finish.
We chose to split the packaging between still 750ml bottle and sparkling 330ml cans, to give two different experiences. The bottles allow the heavy notes to rest on the tongue and stay there, whilst the spritzy carbonation of the canned cider allows those funky notes to shoot up out the glass and get right into your nose, lovely!
Artwork for this KVLT beauty was hand-drawn by Oli Hill (follow Oli Hill’s artworks here: @irongiantartworks), Brighton’s very own Riff giant from legendary underground bands such as Sea Bastard and Grave Lines. Looking to its Norwegian roots, we went directly to our Black Metal record collections, and the artwork is a wonderful, honorable tribute to the amazing Darkthrone album – Transilvanian Hunger, drawn in Oli’s iconic style.
The differences between these ciders are remarkable given the fruit was grown on the same trees, on the same earth and experienced the same conditions. This has awoken another desire to experiment with fermentation methods. Ascension was 100% wild, but now the future is looking like we will be taking a range of different yeasts and bacteria and working on the next step.
You will find the new ciders as soon as they’re released in local bottle shops and our webshop – www.ascensioncider.co.uk/shop