We have a batch of 4-year cheddar! This doesn’t happen every day. It takes a special cheddar.
We’ve been following this particular 4-year batch for a while now. Our “Tasting and Grading Team” (that’s most of our cheese team) has formally tested it at least 3 times.
Basically, a cheese is graded for pH, moisture, and salt content the morning after it’s made. The overall grade gives us a good indication of whether a batch will ultimately make a 6-month, 1-year, 2-year, or even longer aged cheddar. This 4-year batch originally scored a 9.4 on our morning-after-the-make grading system. This meant it could have done well as a 3-year cheddar.
As a cheddar ages, though, we conduct taste tests to more accurately determine when a batch is ready for cutting and sale. We take small plugs of cheese from the batch a day or two before the tasting, then vacuum-seal the samples so they stay fresh for the test. For each age group, we look for specific flavor profiles and score the cheese accordingly.
Scoring is based on:
- typicity (how close it is to your typical 6M, 1Y, 2Y, etc.)
- DF, or the depth of flavor or “deliciousness” (It’s our most subjective category!)
When we tasted this 4-year batch at 3 years, we decided it had the right flavors, aromas, and texture to age a bit longer. (We are looking for sweet balanced flavors, a clean finish, and a texture that isn’t crumbly or gummy.) Some of the tasting notes for it were: “Pineapple-y, fermented blueberries, creamy, IPA aroma, stellar, “doin’ a cheese dance!”, crunchy. (It’s serious business, but we do have fun with our tasting notes!)
So here it is. Four-year cheddar. Kind of a rarity. Like the day it was made! This batch was made the day after a Super Moon in 2014, making it extra special! (It was the second Super Moon in a streak of three that year.) The cheesemaker on that day wrote “Super Moon!” in the “Weather of the day” line. (Yes, we record that, too.)
You can pick up some of 4-year cheddar at our Welcome Center, or order it online. Enjoy!