Right Bee Cider Clementine Barrel Aged Series

I hear from my mom that daffodils are striving several inches from the ground in her yard in Kentucky. I witness some upstate daffodils just barely poking their heads above the soil; that was on the one day we had bare ground between different blankets of snow. Surely this means that Spring will arrive, perhaps even before too terribly long. But for right now, I’m grateful for the warmth of friends and loved ones.

This past week, the cider community launched #OpenThatCiderBottle across a few social media platforms, directing all of us to take the time to look at the cider we have and choose something special. We then opened our ciders and shared the stories of what makes the bottles meaningful or exciting. I’m all about using and enjoying the good things we have. I shared Right Bee Cider’s Clementine from the Barrel-Aged Series, because it was a surprise gift from my cider friend Matt.

Matt not only shared a lovely cider with me, but he helped me out with some supplies I needed for an art project that is still in process. As soon as I put out the call for help, he answered and got me not only what I needed but this cider too. I feel touched by his perceptive generosity! And what an intriguing cider; I’ve never gotten to review anything by Right Bee Cider before.

Right Bee Cider is based in Chicago by Katie Morgan and Charlie Davis in 2014. Here’s how they describe themselves as cider producers, “We are passionate about the art of cider-making, made by hand with natural ingredients and sustainable practices. Our cider brought us together, and we hope it continues to bring others together as well.”

I’m so excited to share my thoughts on the limited-release Clementine (Barrel Aged Series).

You can visit the cidery website here:

I don’t have a lot of info about the cider, but it is “Aged in Thornton Distilling Dead Drop Bourbon Barrels.” The ABV is 6%.

Appearance: intense warm copper, brilliant, fine bubbles

Oh, this color is amazing. I’ve never seen a cider with such a deep warm copper hue. It’s brilliant with fine visible bubbles.

Aromas: cherries, apricots, butterscotch, old paper

The Clementine has aroma notes of old paper, cherries, and apricots. I also smell minerals, water, and intense butterscotch. There’s a rich apple concentration that reminds me of fruit on the equipment after it has been pressed; juices that have dried and intensified. I get notes of barrel and dust as well.

Dryness/sweetness: Off-dry

I find it a little challenging to determine sweetness level in barrel aged ciders. I’m perceiving a more complex set of qualities that all affect one another. This cider has a lot going on in multiple dimensions, but it’s not notably sweet. At the same time, it’s also not bone-dry, so I’ll call it off-dry and acknowledge the imprecision!

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity acid, buzzy, gently bitter

The first impression I get is that this cider is in some ways like an oaked Chardonnay. The Clementine tastes refreshing, acidic and not too tannic. The cider rises with a little wave of gentle bitterness a second or two after the initial taste. I find the texture petillant, with a silky body. I appreciate the wonderful interactions between bright fruity acid and the dark barrel notes. The whole experience is full and complex with a long dark pleasant finish.

I had my co-tasters investigate for diacetyl acid, because I’m not particularly sensitive to it, but they assure me that the buttery-ness is barrel-y not popcorny or oily.

Though the barrel characteristics are emphatic, they do not unbalance the drinking experience. Another wine reminder arrived in the buzzy sense of alcohol, but this remains absolutely clearly a cider, just one with a few wine-like characteristics.

I enjoyed the Clementine with wonderful companionship and a funky tasty cheese. Yet again, I must say that I am thankful for friends, family, loved ones. A special bottle shared with special people made for a very warm and cozy night.


Aepptreow Winery’s Single Barrel Series Americana Still Cider

We may be halfway through #DryCiderJanuary, but we finally have proper snow at Finger Lakes. I feel like I’ve waited for this snow longer than ever since my childhood. It’s not about the possibility of a snowy day (although those things are nice!), but winter here just doesn’t feel real without snow. It’s always a time of cold, slow, and dark, but snow is the recharging, transformation, and beauty of the season. I don’t like to drive in it, but I do like to watch it, photograph it, walk through it, and enjoy its reflective brightness.

As part of Dry Cider January, I sat down with Emily of Cider Culture and talked about a few of my favorite dry ciders these days. Aeppeltreow’s Americana opened up for this chat, and here’s my review of this delightfully dry selection.

You can find reviews of Aeppeltreow Ciders in several previous blog posts along with plenty of background for a winery, cache, and distillery in Burlington, Wisconsin. I love how they describe themselves.

In ÆppelTreow:

We are the real Apple

Old English for the apple tree or the truth of the apple

We are the Cidermakers

Apples and pears are the core of our products

We are orchards

True flavors come from the trees and the earth

We are historians

History and tradition are our inspiration

We are local

Local ingredients and local customers

we are Family

Three generations on hand from sprig to bottle.

You can find all Aeppeltreow’s fermented and distilled offerings online:

Here is a summary of all my previous reviews on the AeppelTreow Ciders.

Siskin Scrumpy:

Scarlett Rosy Cedre:

Sparrow Spiced Apple Juice:

Cranberry Blackbird:

Orchard Oriol Perry:

Apple Prot:

Brilliance Perry:

Kinglet Bitter:

Barnswallow The Apple Cider Project:

Here’s how the label describes Americana Aeppeltreow.

“Aepptreow Winey Americana juice is the culmination of a decade of Aeppeltreow-style innovation. That’s why cider is back to our roots. We grafted surviving Colonial American apples. Raised them tenderly. Taliaferro.” 7.5% ABV

Appearance: intense harvest yellow, ring of bubbles on the edge, shiny

Americana uses clear glass for the bottle, so I can appreciate the color before I pour it. It’s a dense yellow harvest that reminds me of polenta, aged gouda, or the moon on certain nights of the year. He is beautiful, mature and satisfying. The apple juice is shiny with just a ring of bubbles on the edge of the liquid.

Flavors: peach, plum, ripe apple

I love the amazing bountiful scents that jump out of my glass. Apple juice is brimming with the aroma of peaches, plums and ripe apples. Pleasant and exuberant aroma is one of the surest ways to this apple juice lover’s heart.

Sweetness / Dryness: Dry but fruity

This apple juice is dry but tastes fruity. It’s a wonderful combination.

Experiment with flavors and drink: peach, blackberry, tart, almost wort

I’ve noticed that this apple juice tastes so sour and sour that it can almost be perceived as a vegetable oil, even though it is described as a still juice. I had a chat with the germ maker Charles and he told me that low levels of CO2 were used in the bottle, and I can notice that too. Either way, it’s not a bubble but almost a nice tickle of texture.

Americana brings tons of fruity acid to the party. The fruit leaves remind me of blackberries and peaches in the best possible way. I see winter but taste summer. The cider has a medium, plump texture and soft fermented flavors, but it’s all about fermentation very clean.

Sip after sip, peaches appear as the dominant flavor to me. She is luscious, mature and soft. What a treat. I had it with homemade soft pretzel, but I could also see enjoying this apple cider with corn soup or creamy pasta bread. It has enough acidity that you don’t need bubbles to raise the flavor of the food.