Monday, December 5, 2022

Cider Review: Big Hill Ciderworks' Barrel-Aged Reserve Cider

I just filled out my calendar with plans (and necessary blocks of preparation time) for all the big stuff happening between now and the end of 2022. I couldn’t believe how close we are to the end of the year. I can’t say I’ll be sad to see the last of 2022, but I’m also amazed by how busy the next four weeks are going to be. I know I’m not alone, so best of luck to you with your busy-ness! 

One quick reminder. I do a Favorite 10 Ciders list each year just before the end of the year. It’s a fun way to reflect on the delicious bottles and great cider experiences of the previous year. And this year will be the 10th list! Any guesses about what ciders will make the cut? 

Today, I’m sharing my notes on Big Hill Ciderworks' Barrel-Aged Reserve Cider. This cidery is based out of Adams County, Pennsylvania. Here’s how the company describes how locally oriented Big Hill Ciderworks is.

We grow, press, ferment, bottle and distribute all of our ciders right from our orchards in Adams County, PA.  You won’t find added sugars, sweeteners, or natural flavors in any of our ciders.  Rather, we blend different varieties of apples and other fruits from our farms and then our modern ciders are back-sweetened with fresh pressed juice.  The end result - wholesome ciders that are made almost entirely of fruit grown right on our farms.  Enjoy a bottle or swing out and have a pint at our taphouse!

I’ve only previously reviewed a couple of ciders by Big Hill Ciderworks. Here are both reviews.


Little Round Hop:

Visit Big Hill Ciderworks online to see what’s happening at the cidery and read about all the tasty releases:

Here’s how Big Hill Ciderworks describes the Barrel-Aged Reserve Cider: one of the traditional offerings.


Our Barrel Aged Reserve Cider is a unique blend of bittersweet & bittersharp apples varieties grown right here in our orchards.  A complex, tart and tannic flavor profile will pair well with cheese, pork, shellfish and much more.

Appearance: intense harvest gold color, brilliant, tiny bubbles

This cider looks inviting even before I pour it. I love the Barrel-Aged Reserve’s deep harvest gold and brilliance. I can see plentiful tiny bubbles, so I’m not anticipating a still cider. 

Aromas: Ripe apples, woody, homemade apple syrup

This cider’s scents don’t reach super far. I have to put my nose close to the liquid to get much detail; it’s medium intensity rather than anything stronger. The Barrel-Aged Reserve smells like ripe apples and the blunt clean woody side of barrel aging. I get less of the smoky or buttery scents that can come with some kinds of barrel time. Interestingly, I note a little waft of apple syrup once the cider warms up. 

Sweetness/dryness: off-dry

It could be illusory, but I can feel just enough fruit and body to make me think the cider is off-dry rather than fully bone dry. Big Hill’s Barrel-Aged Reserve isn’t pinning to many expectations to sweetness though. 

Flavors and drinking experience: Zingy, medium tannins, balanced

The Barrel-Aged Reserve wears its barrel lightly and integrates the tannins beautifully into the overall drinking experience. It does taste dry to off dry upon repeated sips. I find the whole experience quite balanced. The cider feels light in body but the ABV is 8.4%, so watch out. The cider is very good and shockingly easy to drink. I find it to be a tremendously good winter cider

I paired this with a butternut squash casserole and my second batch of cranberry relish: delish!