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.
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.
Apple Varieties: Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Dabinett, Porter’s Perfection, Nehou, Yarlington Mill, Major, various Jerseys, etc.
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.
1.050 - 1.075
0.995 - 1.015
6% - 9%