C1B. English Cider

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.


Barely cloudy to brilliant. Medium yellow to amber color.

Aroma / Flavor

No overt apple character, but various flavors and esters that suggest apples, particularly tannic varieties. English-style ciders commonly go through MLF (see Introduction/Aroma-and-Flavor) 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.


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.


Sweet examples exist, but dry is most traditional, particularly when considering the drying contributions of tannin.

Characteristic Ingredients

Apple Varieties: Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Dabinett, Porter’s Perfection, Nehou, Yarlington Mill, Major, various Jerseys, etc.

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.

Vital Statistics


1.050 - 1.075


0.995 - 1.015


6% - 9%

Commercial Examples

US Westcott Bay Traditional Very Dry (WA), Westcott Bay Traditional Dry (WA), Westcott Bay Traditional Medium Sweet (WA), Farnum Hill Extra-Dry (NH), Farnum Hill Dry (NH), Farnum Hill Farmhouse (NH), Wandering Aengus Oaked Dry (OR), Montana CiderWorks North Fork (MT), Bellwether Heritage (NY). UK Oliver’s Traditional Dry, Hogan’s Dry, Hogan’s Medium Dry, Henney’s Dry, Henney’s Vintage Still, Burrow Hill Medium, Aspall English Imperial.