How to judge when Apples are ready for distilling.
Put your hand down into the hogsheads amongst the apples as far as you can, and bring out a handful of pugs—squeeze them in your hand, through your fingers, observe if there be any core, or lumps of apples un-[Pg 88]digested, if none, you may consider them as sufficiently fermented and quite ready for distilling. It may also be ascertained by tasting and smelling the cider or juice, which rises in the hole placed in the centre; if it tastes sweet and smells strong, it is not yet ready, but when quite fermented, the taste will be sour, and smell strong, which is the proper taste for distilling. A nice discriminating attention is necessary to ascertain precisely, when the fermentation ceases, which is the proper moment for distillation, and I would recommend, rather to anticipate, than delay one hour after this period.
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