Standard Cider & Perry

The styles represented in this category are the principal established styles. “New World” is simply a name change from the “Common” of earlier versions. There are known styles not represented here. In particular, Spanish (Asturian and Basque) does not yet have a style definition because there is presently insufficient appreciation and understanding, as well as a lack of commercial examples of known quality for reference. In the case of a cider made to a style not explicitly represented here, it should be entered in the closest applicable category. The first decision is whether the cider was made with apples with significant tannin content that gives the cider noticeable astringency or bitterness. If not, it should be entered as a New World Cider. If so, the choice is between the English and French sub-categories; this decision should be based on whether the cider tends more toward sweet, rich, somewhat fruity (French) or drier and more austere (English). For perry of a non-represented style, the decision is, as above, based on tannin content. If in doubt, enter as New World Perry.

Standard Cider & Perry

  1. New World Cider
  2. C1A. New World Cider
New World Cider (C1A)

A New World Cider is made from culinary/table apples, with wild or crab apples often used for acidity/tannin balance. Compared to other styles in this category, these ciders are generally relatively lower in tannin and higher in acidity. “New World” references the style, not a location, as ciders in this style are also made in eastern England, Australia, Germany, etc.

  • Overall Impression: A refreshing drink of some substance – not bland or watery. Sweet ciders must not be cloying. Dry ciders must not be too austere.
  • Aroma/Flavor: Sweet or low-alcohol ciders may have apple aroma and flavor. Dry ciders will be more wine-like with some esters. Sugar and acidity should combine to give a refreshing character. Acidity is medium to high, refreshing, but must not be harsh or biting.
  • Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium body. Some tannin should be present for slight to moderate astringency, but little bitterness.
  • Comments: An ideal cider serves well as a “session” drink, and suitably accompanies a wide variety of food.
  • Entry Instructions: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (5 categories). If OG is substantially above typical range, entrant should explain, e.g., particular variety of apple giving high-gravity juice.
  • Varieties: Common (Winesap, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Jonathan), multi-use (Northern Spy, Russets, Baldwin), crabapples, any suitable wildings.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.045 – 1.065
    (11.2 – 15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    0.995 – 1.020
    (-1.3 – 5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
  • 3.9% – 6.3%
    (5.0% – 8.0%)
  • Commercial Examples: [US] Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery Apple Hard Cider, Tandem Ciders Pretty Penny (MI), Bellwether Spyglass (NY), West County Pippin (MA), White Winter Hard Apple Cider (WI), Wandering Aengus Ciderworks Bloom (OR), Æppeltreow Appely Brut and Doux (WI).

 

  1. English Cider (C1B)
  2. English Cider (C2B)
English Cider (C1B)

English Cider includes the English “West Country” plus ciders inspired by that style. These ciders are made with bittersweet and bitter-sharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. English ciders are traditionally fermented and aged in wood barrels, which adds some character; however, the barrels used are rarely new, so there is no overt wood character.

  • Overall Impression: Generally dry, full-bodied, austere. Complex flavor profile, long finish.
  • Aroma/Flavor: No overt apple character, but various flavors and esters that suggest apples, particularly tannic varieties. English-style ciders commonly go through MLF  which produces desirable spicy/smoky, phenolic, and farmyard/old-horse characters. These flavor notes are positive but not required. If present, they must not dominate; in particular, the phenolic and farmyard notes should not be heavy. A strong farmyard character without spicy/smoky or phenolic suggests a Brettanomyces contamination, which is a fault. Mousiness is a serious fault.
  • Appearance: Barely cloudy to brilliant. Medium yellow to amber color.
  • Mouthfeel: Full. Moderate to high tannin, perceived as astringency and some bitterness. Carbonation still to moderate. Bottle-fermented or -conditioned ciders may have high carbonation, up to champagne levels, but not gushing or foaming.
  • Comments: Sweet examples exist, but dry is most traditional, particularly when considering the drying contributions of tannin.
  • Entry Instructions: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry through medium-sweet, 4 levels). Entrants MAY specify variety of apple for a single varietal cider; if specified, varietal character will be expected.
  • Varieties: Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Dabinett, Porter’s Perfection, Nehou, Yarlington Mill, Major, various Jerseys, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050 – 1.075
    (12.4 – 18.2 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    0.995 – 1.015
    (-1.3 – 3.8 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    3.1% – 4.7%
    (3.9% – 6.3%)
  • Commercial Examples: [US] Westcott Bay Traditional Very Dry, Dry and Medium Sweet (WA), Farnum Hill Extra-Dry, Dry, and Farmhouse (NH), Wandering Aengus Oaked Dry (OR), Montana CiderWorks North Fork (MT), Bellwether Heritage (NY). [UK] Oliver’s Traditional Dry, Hogan’s Dry and Medium Dry, Henney’s Dry and Vintage Still, Burrow Hill Medium, Aspall English Imperial.
  1. French Cider (C1C)
  2. French Cider (C1C)
French Cider (C1C)

French Cider includes Normandy styles plus ciders inspired by those styles, including ciders made by various techniques to achieve the French flavor profile. These ciders are made with bittersweet and bitter-sharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. Traditional French procedures use small amounts of salt and calcium compounds (calcium chloride, calcium carbonate) to aid the process of pectin coagulation. These compounds may be used, pre-fermentation, but in limited quantity. It is a fault if judges can detect a salty or chalky taste. The enzyme PME 4 BJCP Cider Style Guidelines – 2015 Edition (pectin methyl esterase) may also be used pre-fermentation for pectin coagulation. Note that the sweetness/gravity levels indicate an overall tendency, not a sharp delineation between English and French ciders.

  • Overall Impression: Medium to sweet, full-bodied, rich.
  • Aroma/Flavor: Fruity character/aroma. This may come from slow or arrested fermentation (in the French technique of défécation) or approximated by back-sweetening with juice. Tends to a rich fullness. MLF notes of spicy-smoky, phenolic, and farmyard are common but not required (just as with English style), and must not be pronounced. The French expect more subtle MLF character than do the English.
  • Appearance: Clear to brilliant, medium yellow to amber color.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium to full, mouth-filling. Moderate tannin, perceived mainly as astringency. Carbonation moderate to champagne-like, but at higher levels it must not gush or foam.
  • Comments: Typically made sweet to balance the tannin levels from the traditional apple varieties.
  • Entry Instructions: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (medium to sweet only, 3 levels). Entrants MAY specify variety of apple for a single varietal cider; if specified, varietal character will be expected.
  • Varieties: Nehou, Muscadet de Dieppe, Reine des Pommes, Michelin, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050 – 1.065
    (12.4 – 15.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.010 – 1.020
    (2.6 – 5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    2.8% – 4.7%
    (3.6% – 6.0%)
  • Commercial Examples: [US] West County Reine de Pomme (MA), [France] Eric Bordelet (various), Etienne Dupont, Etienne Dupont Organic, Bellot
  1. New World Perry (C1D)
  2. New World Perry (C1D)
New World Perry (C1D)

New World Perry is made from culinary/table pears.

  • Overall Impression: Mild. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness, ropy/oily characters are serious faults.
  • Aroma/Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. No bitterness.
  • Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.
  • Mouthfeel: Relatively full, low to moderate tannin apparent as astringency.
  • Comments: Some table pears may contain significant amounts of sorbitol, in which case a dry perry may give an impression of sweetness due to sorbitol in the pears. Perception of sorbitol as sweet is highly variable from one person to the next. Hence, entrants should specify sweetness according to actual residual sugar amount, and judges must be aware that they might perceive more sweetness than how the perry was entered.
  • Entry Instructions: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (5 categories).
  • Varieties: Bartlett, Kiefer, Comice, Conference, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050 – 1.060
    (12.4 – 14.7 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.000 – 1.020
    (0.0 – 5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.7% – 5.5%
    (5.0% – 7.0%)
  • Commercial Examples: [US] White Winter Paarynat (WI), Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery Perry (MI)
  1. Traditional Perry (C1E)
  2. C1E Traditional Perry
Traditional Perry (C1E)

Traditional perry is made from pears grown specifically for that purpose rather than for eating or cooking. Many “perry pears” are nearly inedible due to high tannins; some are also quite hard. Perry pears may contain substantial amounts of sorbitol, a non-fermentable sweet-tasting compound. Hence a perry can be completely dry (no residual sugar) yet taste sweet.

  • Overall Impression: Tannic. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness and ropy/oily characters are serious faults.
  • Aroma/Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. Some slight bitterness.
  • Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale. Mouthfeel: Relatively full, moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency.
  • Comments: Note that a dry perry may give an impression of sweetness due to sorbitol in the pears, and perception of sorbitol as sweet is highly variable from one person to the next. Hence entrants should specify sweetness according to actual residual sugar amount, and judges must be aware that they might perceive more sweetness than how the perry was entered.
  • Entry Instructions: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (5 categories). Entrants MUST state variety of pear(s) used.
  • Varieties: Butt, Gin, Brandy, Barland, Blakeney Red, Thorn, Moorcroft, etc.
  • Original Gravity (°Plato)
    1.050 – 1.070
    (12.4 – 17.1 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato)
    1.000 – 1.020
    (0.0 – 5.1 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume)
    4.7% – 7.1%
    (5.0% – 9.0%)
  • Commercial Examples: [US] Æppeltreow Orchard Oriole Perry (WI); [France] Bordelet Poire Authentique and Poire Granit, Christian Drouin Poire, [UK] Oliver’s Classic, Blakeney Red, and Herefordshire Dry; Hogan’s Vintage Perry.
BJCP Cider Style Guidelines – 2015 Edition