Wild fermentation is one of the cornerstones of Ascension.
In our commitment to our ciders representing the story of the apples, we don’t use cultured yeasts (except where explicitly stated). This means that the fermentation takes place with the yeast on the skins of the apples and in the air during the time of pressing and transfer.
This allows us to show off our unique terroir in the high weald of Sussex. We are perched atop a small hill, among the beautiful sweeping downs. A tapestry of fields surround us, allowing the wild yeasts in the valleys to be picked up on the winds and make their way into our juice, ready to feast on the sugars and produce the alcohol to turn them into cider!
Once these wild yeasts go through their eating stage, they get a bit sleepy, dropping to the bottom of the tank and creating what we call a “lees”. The cider is then aged on the lees to develop the flavours. We have a variety of yeasts present in our ciders, and we have three tanks that allow these different yeasts to shine through.
Our “Fresh Tank” is where we take cider that’s quite young, vibrant and full of green apple flavours. Perfect for creating the base for Pilot and our fruity blends.
Our “Tart tank” is where we age our ciders to let the acids in the apples shine through and the acid producing yeasts have had time to get munching on the residual sugars and produce a clean cider with a tart edge. We use this cider for our tart blends and balancing bigger ciders such as Sonic Titan.
Then we have the “Aged tank” this is cider that’s spent a minimum of 6 months on it’s lees and allowed it to develop a funky, earthy vibe. We use this to add depth to our ciders and give it that backbone that you can find. It’s not always obvious in its presence, but notable in its absence.
We have also started the “Wild Wood Series” where we ferment and age a variety of ciders in wooden casks. The juice from either single variety, or a blend of apples are pressed directly into the barrel and allowed to ferment and age in the wood on it’s lees. The cider will be allowed to age until we judge that it’s ready, then packaged unblended and unsweetened.
Low intervention cider at its heart.
We may start experimenting with different yeast strains to see what occurs and how our apples react to them, but this will ALWAYS be explicitly displayed on whatever the cider is packaged in, so you can always be certain that the cider that you are drinking is wild fermented, using high weald yeast on our base at Ringden Farm.