“As Sulphur hath some use in Wines, so some do lay Brimstone on a ragge and by a wire let it down into the Cider-vessel and there fire it; and when the Vessel is full of the smoak the liquor speedily poured in ferments the better. I cannot condemn this, for Sulphur is more kind to the Lungs than Cider, and the impurity will be discharged in the ferment.”
John Beale, ‘Aphorisms Concerning Cider’, in John Evelyn’s Slyva, or a Discourse on Forest Trees, Annexed Pomona (1664)
I’m not sure if this C17th snippet is a method for producing smoked cider per se, or just for introducing an element into the cider vessel that will speed or improve the quality of the fermentation.
Would any cider makers out there like to comment?
Smoking the barrels with sulphur is an established way of improving the fermentation, reducing the bugs in the barrel and allowing the yeasts in the apple juice to get a head start. Somewhat akin to using a campden tablet.
Ah, thank you Will. Is the method still in use today for wooden barrels? Or has something like steam-cleaning replaced it?