Customer Reviews: Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own
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on October 13, 2002
As far as selecting apples, and actually creating cider from them, this book is abount as detailed as it gets. The tables in in that describe US and EU apple types as well as their traits is worth the price alone.

However, if you're looking to make hard (alcoholic) cider the book only takes you half way. Anyone looking to do hard cider should buy a seperate homebrew book that goes into detail about the brew process. Combine it with the information from this book and you'll have some great hard cider.
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on May 25, 2000
Many of the books on cider making skim over the selection of apples, including English bittersweet and bittersharp varieties that are critical for outstanding cider production. Not Watson in this excellent book.
Several great lists of varieties and a good description of the cider apple classification methods is represented more clearly than I've found elsewhere.
A bit more clarification could have been given to the production process, as well as pressing details, but overall the book has been my favorite on the topic.
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on August 22, 2007
I found this book to be a very entertaining and fact-filled introduction to Cider making (and drinking). I am an experienced home brewer, and the information contained in this book was sufficient to "get me started" with brewing cider. However, I think that it is NOT sufficient if you have little or no background in brewing. That being said, if you are looking for a book about brewing cider, this would make an excellent choice if you also buy a beginner-level book about homebrewing as a companion.

And if you are just interested in apples, cider enjoyment, and a good dose of apple history, this is definitely a well-written and enjoyable book.
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on March 20, 2007
I've been making hard cider for a couple years now, this book helped me understand how to make tweaks to it and how to recognize what causes certain tastes. It also goes over additives to put in the cider to give it different tastes. The book gives a beginers outlook on making cider in general, however as far as basics to hard cider this book is very general. All and all a good read, and well worth it's money
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on December 6, 1999
Ben Watson joins the good fight with this evocative call for real cider. Quality should matter in our lives. This definitive guide to cidermaking touches all the bases, from fascinating lore to the nitty-gritty details of sqeezing good juice and fermenting it to perfection. The 'down on the farm' photograph on the back cover of the book (circa 1900) clearly says it all: people who enjoy good cider know how to have fun in life! Lift up your own cup and enjoy "Cider, Hard and Sweet."
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on April 3, 2002
This is a wonderful, inspiring book like few I have read recently. It opens a huge world that I never imagined existed. Cider isn't just the jugs in the grocery store and the 6-pack in the liquor store, its an important part of human and American history. The author has put a lot of time in researching this book, and is thick with fascinating information such as cider-only apple varieties, cider tasting terms, French vs English cider, etc etc etc.
The book does describe cider making, but that is not the main focus of the book. Still, any self-respecting cider maker should have a copy.
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on October 16, 2008
I brew my own beer and make my own wine and wanted to start making hard cider, not with this book I won't. After deciding to buy a cider book, the only two available from amazon(that seemed to fill my niche) were this and "Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider" by Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols. A user review of it was bad so i bought this one. Big mistake. This book should be titled "Apples" not "Cider"
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VINE VOICEon September 30, 2013
In this very readable survey of all things cider, Ben Watson introduces us to all aspects of this fascinating but little appreciated drink. He starts off with the history of cider, which for most of its 2000 year recorded history, and certainly equally older unrecorded history, meant the fermented version of apple juice. Only did that traumatic influence on American drinking behavior - the Prohibition - did cider than take the turn from hard to sweet in the US. Fortunately, in recent years, the hard has been coming back with a vengeance.

One of the most important choices in making cider is what apple to use. Just as you would never use sweet table grapes for making wine, Golden Delicious apples do not make a very robust hard cider. You need tannins and other acids for a well-rounded cider, which is usually made from a combination of bitter apples. Watson details the many different cider apples and their characteristics. He then goes into detail on how to press apples, and the different techniques for fermentation (as well as what can go run). This is the most inspiring part of the book, because the home made cider can be so much better than the common fare that dominates the stores.

There is a chapter on cider tastings, as well as tips on the flavors to look for to differentiate ciders, as well as a chapter with a handful of cider recipes. At the end of the book, Watson has included a number of useful reference sections including Recommended Reading; mail order sources for equipment, apples and trees; and bibliography.

Cider, Hard and Sweet is a great introduction for the curious novice who wants to learn more about apple cider.
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on November 22, 2008
There was a windfall of apples this year. We purchased an old press and made gallons and gallons of cider. This book covers all the information, new and old, anyone could want. I've shared it with friends who agree. I'm glad I bought it and recommend it to anyone who loves a good apple!
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on October 3, 2013
I was looking for some good practical advice and instructions on cider and perry making. What I also received was an in depth history of cider, perry, vinegar and more. The recipes are also many and varied.
I also found the book very easy to read.
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