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33 Mugs of Cider: Golden Russet Special Edition


A Very Special Book for a Very Special Apple

Most people say that a truly great apple cider requires a careful balance of three things: sweetness, acidity and tannin.

  1. Sweetness balances acidity, and converts to alcohol, on which so many other flavors are carried. Almost any apple you've ever found in a grocery story will produce sweet juice for cidermaking (Gala, Red Delicious, etc).
  2. Acidity is slightly more rare, but found in tart dessert apples like Gravensteins and Granny Smiths.
  3. Tannin, the third leg of the cider triad, is the most rare, and usually comes from the apples no one would ever eat - small, brown, homely things which pucker your lips. Tannins in cider, as in wine, provide structure, a bass note on which the higher sugar and tart flavors find footing. This kind of apple isn't grown much in America, and is highly sought-after by cidermakers.

Omit any one of these three flavors in cider, and you'll find a boring, insipid cider. Include them all, and you've got the makings of something special.

Unfortunately, few apple varieties possess all three qualities. Thus, cidermakers generally blend juice from several kinds of apple to achieve a complex, delicious cider.

But one apple variety exists which some American cidermakers feel contains - if conditions are right - just the right amount of sweetness, acidity and tannins. This special apple? The humble Golden Russet. 

The Designer's Golden Rule: Always More Gold

This book, printed with metallic gold ink on recycled, russet-colored chipboard, is my homage to this wonderful apple and the very special cider it makes. Finished with hand-applied gold foil and gold-colored staples, only 1,000 copies were printed.

A Very Special Ingredient

A small amount of real, barrel-aged Golden Russet cider from my friends at Reverend Nat's (made from Wandering Aengus juice) was added to the ink used in this very limited edition.

Designed for Speed

As with my standard cider journal, this special edition is designed for ease of use. It’s tough to hold a notepad in one hand, a pencil in the other, and have another hand left for your single-varietal cider. Taking notes is as simple as checking a few boxes and entering a few basic facts.

Flavor wheel for 33 Ciders Tasting NotebookThe flavor wheel in 33 Ciders can be used to quickly recall a cider's unique flavor long after consumption. For low values of the flavor, fill in dots near the wheel’s center. A single-varietal Oregon cider using (what else?) Golden Russet apples is used in the example shown.


33 Ciders: Golden Russet Special Edition is made with 100% recycled papers sourced in the Pacific Northwest. Interior pages are 100% post-consumer recycled content and covers are 85% post-consumer recycled content and 15% recycled content. The booklets are printed using US-grown soy-based inks (and a little bit of cider) in sunny Portland, Oregon. 

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