An Opportunity to Comment on Cider Apple Varieties

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Charles Claus

May 1, 2024, 2:53:24 PMMay 1
Hi there,

I have been propagating and growing cider apples for over ten years. This year I will be planting out a number of recently grafted trees that I currently have in pots. 
I am interested in your experiences with these cider apples. I live in a solid zone 5 in Terrace, BC. Canada. We get some summer heat yet overall we are moderate due to our proximity to the Pacific Ocean. A late apple that always comes to maturity for us is Golden Russet. Most years we get a couple more weeks of decent weather before the heavier frosts but not always. We do not get heavy fire blight pressure from but we do have anthracnose canker challenges. My go to rootstocks are M7, M111 and B118. Trees grow slower in the north so this is workable for me. I also like rootstocks with extra vigor as I believe vigorous trees have more ability to withstand anthracnose canker pressure, our biggest challenge.

Would you avoid any of the apples listed below and if so why?   What are your main go to workhorses on this list?

List of Bittersweets: Dabinet, Bulmer's Norman, Yarlinton Mill, Nehou, Ellis Bitter, Tremlett's Bitter, Muscadet de Dieppe, Medaille d'Or and Chisel Jersey. 

List of Bittersharps: Porter's Perfection, Harrison, Hewes Virginia Crab, Redfield and Fauxwhelp (The North American Version).

Dessert and Cooking Apples for Cider: Golden Russet, Belle de Boskoop, Liberty, Cortland, Honeygold, Egremont Russet, Chestnut Crab, Famuese (Snow) and Pomme Grise.


Charles Claus

Albert Johnson

May 1, 2024, 3:37:09 PMMay 1
Hi Charles

I'm a UK cidermaker so I can't comment on how specifically these apples may grow or cope in your region, but out of those bittersweets, I would focus on Dabinett, Bulmer's Norman, Yarlington Mill and Tremlett's Bitter. If you're going to add Medaille d'or, Chisel Jersey, Ellis Bitter then I would definitely put in many fewer of those than the first four I mentioned. They have much bigger, harsher tannins and astringency, and are much harder to work with. A little bit of them will go a long way. Ellis is just lacking real mid-palate flavour in my opinion. Nehous and Muscadet I don't have any personal experience of.

Chestnut Crab when I have drank SV cider from it from a Michigan Cidermaker was an outstanding apple, with loads of flavour and really good phenolics!

Good luck!


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Charles Claus

May 2, 2024, 10:32:00 AMMay 2

Thanks for the reply. Yes growing conditions do vary yet there are some basic traits that either work or do not work as well when it comes to making cider. I appreciate you highlighting  Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, Bulmer's Norman and Tremlett's Bitter as some of your go to Bittersweets. Your comments to go easy on  Medaille d'or, Chisel Jersey, Ellis Bitter  as they have much bigger, harsher tannins and astringency, and are much harder to work with is also helpful.

It would be interesting to hear if anyone else has a similar or different experience.


Gloria Bell

May 2, 2024, 11:37:36 AMMay 2
to Cider Workshop
Hi Charles!
Be careful of the coast here - Dabinett is often faux Dabinett.  Somewhere along the line there was a mix up (and Ibelieve through major channel) and an apple that looks like dab has been distributed but has acid and isn't remotely rich.  I have the real Dabinett and it was bought localled BUT it was brought in through the nursery through the USA.  It's an amazing apple.

Here's what I find and I'm on the coast too more south - 
Dabinett amazing flavour and good soft tannins
YM - Don't let it hand tannins will go away and has a tiny amount of acid
Bulmners grows well but I find it harsh and bitter as I do Chisel Jersey
Elllis is early and pretty bittering
Tremletts is NOT precocious and has been the last to fruit on m9 - 6 years before a fruit and it's 9.5' tall - Not an awesome grower and on my cut list
faux whelp is about the same as trembletts
Muscdat de dieppe - great flavour
Nehou - don't have it but if I recall it's on the grassy side of flavour but I believe grows well
Medaille d'or - love this apple.  Biennial and honestly I find that the tannins become silky.  They are harsh as an apple but give a beauitful french cider feel in astringency to the final cider IF you age it.  SO good.
Harrison - it's good. not precocious, hard to grow and lots of blind wood like golden russet - actually worse.  I wouldn't call it a bitter sharp - it's a sharp.
Porters would be good - canker magnet here - but great flavour
Golden russet - amazing all around.  Cider has a resinous, grassy and oaked undertone if you age it.
Redfields got some tannins and acid. berry flavours but hard to hold it's colour so if you add too much you end up with orange cider which is a bit weird to me.  Some people like the berry - some do not
VHC - grows like an 80's hairstyle.  Great pollination tree.  Self thins very well.  Yearly producer.  Wakes up super early to the point it's damn near impossible to graft in march because the wood cut in december that's in your fridge us awake too and the only apple that does this for me.
For all the desserts, belle has amazing acid and would be good with BSW, cortland takes for ever to bare and bears from tips back so it's a long haul with this one and be careful with pruning.  NOT a trellis tree.  Oiberty prob ok as filler, honeygold I wouldn't replant.  Ok out of hand but kinda bland.  Snow apple is disease magnet here.  Pomme gris has great depth of flavour.

Feel free to email/PM me if you need scions!


Charles Claus

May 3, 2024, 9:58:25 AMMay 3
Thanks Gloria for the helpful feedback - much appreciated. Are there a few other cider apples that have done well for you on the BC Coast?

Charles Claus

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