C2. Specialty Cider and Perry

Specialty cider/perry includes beverages made with added flavorings (spices and/or other fruits), those made with substantial amounts of sugar-sources to increase starting gravities, and the beverage made from a combination of apple and pear juice (sometimes called pider).

The same general characteristics and fault descriptions apply to specialty ciders as to standard ciders (preceding category), with the exception of added ingredients allowed.

C2A. New England Cider

This is a cider made with characteristic New England apples for relatively high acidity, with additives to raise alcohol levels and contribute additional flavor notes.

Overall Impression

Substantial body and character. Typically relatively dry, but can be somewhat sweet if in balance and not containing hot alcohol.

Appearance

Clear to brilliant, pale to medium yellow.

Aroma / Flavor

A flavorful cider with robust apple character, strong alcohol, and derivative flavors from sugar additives; traditionally dry.

Mouthfeel

Substantial, alcoholic. Moderate tannin.

Comments

Additives may include white and brown sugars, molasses, small amounts of honey, and raisins. Additives are intended to raise OG well above that which would be achieved by apples alone. This style is sometimes barrel-aged, in which case there will be oak character as with a barrel-aged wine. If the barrel was formerly used to age spirits, some flavor notes from the spirit (e.g., whisky or rum) may also be present, but must be subtle.

Characteristic Ingredients

Apple Varieties: Northern Spy, Roxbury Russet, Golden Russet, Baldwin, etc.; many traditional New England apples.

Entry Instructions

Entrants MUST specify if the cider was barrel-fermented or aged. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (5 levels).

Vital Statistics

OG

1.060 - 1.100

FG

0.995 - 1.020

ABV

7% - 13%

Commercial Examples

US Snowdrift Semi-Dry (WA), Blackbird Cider Works New England Style (NY).

C2B. Cider with Other Fruit

This is a cider with other fruits or fruit-juices added – for example, berry. This is the correct style to enter a beverage fermented from a combination of apple and pear juice.

Overall Impression

Like a white wine with complex flavors. The apple character must marry with the added fruit so that neither one dominates the other.

Appearance

Clear to brilliant. Color appropriate to added fruit, but should not show oxidation characteristics. (For example, red berries should give red-to-purple color, not orange.)

Aroma / Flavor

The cider character must be present and must fit with the other fruits. It is a fault if the added fruit(s) completely dominate; a judge might ask, Would this be different if neutral spirits replaced the cider? A fruit cider should not be like an alco-pop. Oxidation is a fault.

Mouthfeel

Substantial. May be significantly tannic, depending on fruit added.

Entry Instructions

Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (5 categories). Entrants MUST specify all fruit(s) and/or fruit juice(s) added.

Vital Statistics

OG

1.045 - 1.070

FG

0.995 - 1.010

ABV

5% - 9%

Commercial Examples

US West County Blueberry-Apple Wine (MA), Bellwether Cherry Street (NY), Uncle John’s Fruit Farm Winery Apple Cherry Hard Cider (MI), Uncle John’s Fruit Farm Winery Apple Blueberry Hard Cider (MI), Uncle John’s Fruit Farm Winery Apricot Apple Hard Cider (MI).

C2C. Applewine

The term for this category is traditional but possibly misleading: it is simply a cider with substantial added sugar to achieve higher alcohol than a standard cider. As such it comes closer to a white wine than any other style. No fruit other than apples may be used in this style.

Overall Impression

Typically like a dry white wine, balanced, and with low astringency and bitterness.

Appearance

Clear to brilliant, pale to medium-gold. Cloudiness or hazes are inappropriate.

Aroma / Flavor

Comparable to a New World Cider. Cider character must be distinctive. Very dry to sweet, although often dry.

Mouthfeel

Lighter than other ciders, because higher alcohol is derived from addition of sugar rather than juice. Carbonation may range from still to champagne-like.

Entry Instructions

Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (5 levels).

Vital Statistics

OG

1.070 - 1.100

FG

0.995 - 1.020

ABV

9% - 12%

Commercial Examples

US Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery Fruit House Apple (MI), McClure’s Sweet Apple Wine (IN).

C2D. Ice Cider

This is a cider style in which the juice is concentrated before fermentation either by freezing fruit before pressing or freezing juice and removing water. Fermentation stops or is arrested before reaching dryness. The character differs from Applewine in that the ice cider process increases not only sugar (hence alcohol) but acidity and all fruit flavor components proportionately. No additives are permitted in this style; in particular, sweeteners may not be used to increase gravity. This style originated in Quebec in the 1990s.

Appearance

Brilliant. Color is deeper than a standard cider, gold to amber.

Aroma / Flavor

Fruity, smooth, sweet-tart. Acidity must be enough to prevent it being cloying.

Mouthfeel

Full body. May be tannic (astringent and/or bitter) but this should be slight, to moderate at most.

Characteristic Ingredients

Apple Varieties: Usually North American classic table fruit such as McIntosh or Cortland.

Entry Instructions

Entrants MUST specify starting gravity, final gravity or residual sugar, and alcohol level. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels).

Vital Statistics

OG

1.130 - 1.180

FG

1.060 - 1.085

ABV

7% - 13%

Commercial Examples

US Eden Ice Cider Company (various), Champlain Orchards (various). Canada Domaine Pinnacle (various, Quebec), Les Vergers de la Colline (various, Quebec).
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