Cider is a beverage mainly made of the juice from apples. The name Cider is used interchangeably when referring to both the fermented and un-fermented versions of the drink. ‘Hard Cider’ is a more specific name commonly used referring to the fermented version of cider while ‘Apple Cider’ or ‘Soft Cider’ are terms that are used to reference the un-fermented version. For the purposes of this study guide the term Cider should be regarded as the fermented version while juice or must will refer to the un-fermented version. Pear Cider or Perry is a beverage mainly made of the fermented juice from pears. For the purposes of this study guide though the term Perry will be used to reference this beverage.
Although Perry and Cider are made from the juice of different fruits and some of the characteristics of the finished product are quite distinct, the processes and practices used for making both are very similar. Differences will be noted throughout the study guide when needed.
Compared to Beer and Mead
Cider has been traced back to the Romans in 55 BC when they reached Kent, England and noticed villagers drinking an alcoholic drink made from apples. Perry is believed to have come along after the fall of the Roman Empire originating in France and eventually spreading to England. Along with beer, for a period of time cider was considered safer than water and was used as a form of payment of peoples wages.
Like beer and mead, cider is not a homogeneous product; there are components within it that must be harmonized in order to create a pleasing beverage. Apple / pear flavor, sweetness, acidity, tannins, astringency, bitterness, alcohol strength, and carbonation all play a role in varying degrees for each style. For mead it is much of the same with the honey flavor taking the place of apple or pear and with beer it is malt and hops.
Unlike beer and mead the fermentable sugar content in cider juice can’t be increased by adding more apple juice like one might increase the amount of malt in beer or add more honey to a mead. Also unlike beer and mead, cider making does not regularly include the direct addition of water. If water is added directly it is usually done when attempting to dilute an apple juice concentrate. The fermentable sugar in cider juice is the result of the sugar content of the fruit itself or secondary sugar additions.