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ACCIS CDT cider making event

Jonathan Alston (2013 cohort) grinding the apples Logan Wang

Everyone working together to press the apples Logan Wang

The resulting juice, which will be fermented into delicious cider Logan Wang

4 November 2016

ACCIS CDT students get a taste of local culture with cider making event

This autumn the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science (ACCIS CDT) embarked on its first cider making team building event. The aim was to build new links between CDT students in different cohorts and to give the highly international, and inter-regional, group a taste of distinctly Bristolian culture. While the ultimate tasting is still to come, it seems like these objectives were met, with the team producing 35 gallons of apple juice, which are now fermenting into cider.

The cider making took place over two weekends, an apple picking trip to Yatton in Somerset followed by apple washing, slicing and pressing back in Bristol the following week. The apples were picked from a vintage orchard, complete with ruined building containing the remains of the original farm’s cider press. The apple picking process involved climbing the trees and shaking the ripe fruit to the ground where it could be collected. Although seemingly straightforward, this task was complicated by the huge amount of stinging nettles that grew around the orchard, meaning gloves, or a strong tolerance to the stings, were required for the job. The trip also involved a pub lunch beforehand, and some local cider tasting afterwards, adding to the local experience of what was the first time some students had ventured into Bristol's neighbouring county.

The process of turning the apples into juice was an opportunity for the engineers to play with all sorts machines designed to destroy apples, much to everyone’s delight. Conversations on the possibility of modifying various parts of lab equipment for use in the process in order to improve yield were plentiful. While brewing grade analytic equipment was swapped out for precision scientific apparatus, with the group already thinking about process optimisation and control for next year's event.

Now it's fingers crossed waiting for the cider to mature, with plans afoot for a cider and cheese event to accompany the first tasting.


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