Stowford press cider review (7.5/10)

The good

“Pleasant , yet subtle tang and acidity level with a smooth yeasty scent”
” Subtle, yet lingering fruit aftertaste”
” Sweetness was adequate, yet not overwhelming”
” Pleasant, fruity and sweet flavour ”
” Slightly watery to balance the sweetness and acidity”

The bad

” Not as dry as described, yet pleasant for my palette”
” Puts you over recommended limits after 2 cans”
” No real carbonation to enhance tang”

Packaging

Like many other West Country ciders Stowford press is produced in Herefordshire. It is produced using ripe apples from shady orchards in the Westons farm of Much Marcle. As it has been since 1878, using apples such as Michelin and Dabinett. This suggests some similarity to Kingstone press which is also made using these varieties. In addition to this, a number of other apples are used from the orchards perhaps contributing to key differences between Stowford press amongst other ciders.

The cider itself is often sold in cans of 500ml with a strength of 4.5% alcohol by volume. This equates to 2.3 units per can. This is fairly practical since half a four pack would be sufficient per drinking evening to achieve close to the limit. This is still slightly over however, meaning a slight reduction in capacity would potentially be useful for health reasons.

Smell

Upon a sharp uneventful lid snap hardly any fizz was evident. At first scent a smooth and heavily yeasty aroma was apparent. This was not stale and was very smooth; Almost like a freshly baked loaf of bread giving the cider body. After a few subsequent sniffs you get a slight acidity rather than the initial yeast. A couple of minutes later this scent was no longer apparent whatsoever.

Taste

On first sip, a pleasant if slightly weak tang was apparent, hinting of mild acidity. A good level of sweetness was present as a fruity flavour which did not leave an artificial impression. The finish was not dry and it didn’t leave a warmth as with some of the stronger alcohol varieties such as Henney’s; This is also from Herefordshire. The sweetness level is sufficient for my palette and it is nice how the dryness is highly limited. Certainly though, this appears as a moist cider rather than a medium dry due to the absence of dryness. This therefore due to my taste is positive yet goes against what the label suggests which is not ideal.

The level of carbonation is not great. Ideally it could do with carbonation to enhance the tang although this appears almost absent which is a point against Stowford.
The aftertaste leaves still a subtle, yet lingering fruity afternote which is actually highly pleasant encouraging you to sip again. This is the general effect of drier varieties but for a more satisfying and pleasant reason which is a definite attribute.

Whilst in general more watery ciders appear a little under-flavoured, the water impression is clever here since it balances the sweetness and acidity perfectly to prevent an overwhelming or overpowering flavour sensation.

 

Summary

Overall a pleasantly smooth, yeasty smelling beverage which appeases my sweet tooth and provides pleasant yet subtle acidity which lasts on the tongue as a nice fruity tang. It does not however provide the dryness the label suggests as a medium dry should or does it provide any real carbonation. This is a little disappointing. The practicality and value of the drink is good yet could be tweaked to keep you within recommended limits . 2 cans worth would be a nice level of fluid to consume of an evening in my opinion, without being over the limit. This is not presently the case.

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