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.
Tannic. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness and ropy/oily characters are serious faults.
Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.
Aroma / Flavor
There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. Some slight bitterness.
Relatively full, moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency.
Apple Varieties: Butt, Gin, Brandy, Barland, Blakeney Red, Thorn, Moorcroft, etc.
Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (5 categories). Entrants MUST state variety of pear(s) used.
1.050 - 1.070
1.000 - 1.020
5% - 9%
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.