Making Great Cider
“It is not the cidermaker who makes the cider; the cider makes itself from the apples.” - Claude Jolicoeur.
* Cidermaking is much more like winemaking (or meadmaking) than brewing.
* Great cider requires great apples, just like great wine requires great grapes.
* Great cider requires time. It takes cider months or years to become drinkable, just like it takes wine years to mature.
* The skill of the cidermaker lies in choosing the right apples and controlling the process.
levels greater than .45%, making them sour and somewhat bitter or Part 1 - Making Cider astringent. These varieties of apples are very rare and are only used for Choosing The Best Apples: The best cider apples are very blending for cider. A cider made only with extremely bittersharp apples different from commercial apples! They will be small, often scabby and would be almost undrinkable due to its sourness and drying, mouth-wormy, and will come from old, under-fertilized, ―standard‖ (i.e., full-puckering character. Crabapples are commonly used as ―bitter-sharp‖ sized) apple trees. They are best picked and pressed when they are apples by home cidermakers. ripe or slightly overripe. For some varieties of apples and pears, it is Bittersweet apples have tannin levels greater than 0.2% and acid necessary to ―sweat‖ the apples for a few days to a few weeks before levels of less than 0.45%, giving them a sweet and somewhat pressing them, to allow them to ripen and soften, and to allow some astringent or bitter taste. water to escape from the apples. Sharp apples have tannin levels of less than 0.2% and acid levels Good cider apples also have higher sugar levels than greater than 0.45%. Some varieties of sharp apples can produce supermarket varieties. Cider apples will have 15-20 Brix, compared to excellent ―single varietal‖ cider, but usually must be blended with other 12-14 Brix for typical apples. They will also have relatively low nitrogen, varieties of apples to avoid producing cider which is too acidic. Apples and have unique flavors and aromas which carry over into the finished described as ―cooking apples‖ are likely to be sharper than sweet cider. Just like wine doesn’t taste like Concord grapes, cider shouldn’t apples, but not as sharp as some sharp apple varieties intended for taste like apple juice! blending for cider. Depending on the apple varieties, good cider might have floral or Sweet apples have tannin levels of less than 0.2% and acid levels citrusy notes, fruity notes reminiscent of fruits other than apples (e.g., less than 0.45%. They are sweet and can sometimes seem bland. They pineapple, strawberry). Ciders made from apples high in tannins can must be blended with other apple varieties to produce good cider. Early have earthy, smoky, roasted or bitter notes and seemingly fuller body. maturing apples (i.e., varieties available in August and early September) Still other varieties can have salty, steely or mineral-like notes. are often sweet. Varieties described as being good to eat fresh (―out of By contrast, large commercial apples contain more water, hand‖) are usually sweet apples, but some are Sharp. meaning lower sugar content and reduced flavor. Likewise, the strong What Varieties Are Best?: Late-maturing apple varieties (i.e., floral and fruity estery aromas which are desirable in dessert apples can those which mature from late September to the end of October) are contribute off flavors and smells to finished cider. best for cider. Early maturing varieties tend to be low in sugar, acids Finally, apple varieties which are easiest to grow and yield the and tannins. most juice don’t necessarily produce the best cider. Big commercial Commonly Available Apples Varieties: In Upstate NY, the cider and apple juice producers like apple varieties which grow quickly following varieties are commonly available and are recommended for and easily and yield a lot of juice, but they might not have the best cidermaking: flavor. Likewise, commercial growers of dessert or cooking apples grow Sweet: Delicious, Empire, Golden Russet, Honey-Gold, Liberty, early-ripening, high-yielding apples which store well and are attractive Macintosh, Northern Spy, Spartan. to the eye. These varieties seldom make great cider. Sharp: Paula Red, Roxbury Russet. The Four Types of Cider Apples: In cidermaking, apples are Bittersharp: None commonly available, substitute crabapples. typically divided into four classes: Sweet, Sharp, Bittersharp and Bittersweet: Cortland, Ida Red. Bittersweet, based on their levels of sugar, acids and tannins. Occasionally Available Apple Varieties: Other apple varieties Bittersharp apples have tannin levels greater than .2% and acid which grow in Upstate New York a listed below. Those recommended
for cidermaking are starred:
Apple Juice vs. Cider Bittersharp: Fox Whelp*, Kingston Black*, Porter’s Perfection*,
Stoke Red*, Tremlett’s Bitter*, Yarlington Mill*. Also various varieties of Outside of the U.S. and Canada, the word ―cider‖ means
crabapples might be suitable for blending. fermented apple juice. For the sake of convenience and historical
Bittersweet: Ashton Bitter*, Binet Rouge*, Brown Snout*, Bulmer’s accuracy, I use that terminology in this handout.
Norman*, Chisel Jersey*, Dabinette*, Ellis Bitter*, Frequin Rouge*, In the U.S. and Canada, the term ―hard cider‖ is used to
Medialle D’Or*, Stembridge Jersey*, Somerset Redstreak. describe fermented apple juice, while ―sweet cider‖ or just ―cider‖ is
Sharp: Bramley’s Seedling*. used to describe unfiltered ―farmhouse‖ apple juice. This confusion th Sweet: Akane, Ashmead’s Kernel*, Calville Blanc*, Cox Orange originated when late 19 century Temperance advocates managed
Pippin*, Empire*, Fuji, Goldrush, Idared, Jonagold, Liberty*, Macoun, to convince people that unfermented apple juice was ―cider‖ while
Mutsu, Reinette Zabergau*, Saint Edmund’s Russet*, Spigold. fermented cider was poison. Quite the trick, considering that before
Note: English or French apple varieties grown in the U.S. can about 1840 cider was the drink of choice for most Americans and
differ from their European ancestors, since the U.S. climate is hotter was considered to be a temperate alternative to distilled spirits!
and drier in summer, sunnier in the autumn and colder in the winter.
―English style‖ or ―French style‖ cider made from U.S. grown English or Apple Blends: A few apple varieties, such as Kingston Black or French apple varieties can vary from authentic European ciders. Northern Spy, make great single varietal cider. In most situations,
Another Way of Looking at Things: When blending, you want a however, you will need to blend apple juice from different varieties (or mix of high sugar apples and low acid apples so you can create a blend press different varieties of apples together) to get the best taste. of apples with O.G. 1.050 to 1.080, and T.A. % (as Tartaric) of 0.6-0.8% Typically, you want a base of sweet apples for fermentability, but also
some apples which are higher in tannins and acids to balance the acidity.
High Sugar Apples: These have SG > 1.060, with medium to very sweetness. As a very rough rule of thumb, you want a mix of high acidity. These provide the alcohol and base flavor to the cider. approximately 50-60% ―sweet‖ apples, with about 25-30% ―sharp‖ and
High sugar varieties include some cider apples (e.g., Porter Perfection), about 10-25% bitter or bittersweet apples is a good start. most russets (e.g., Golden, Roxbury, Belle de Boskoop, Ashmead’s Even if you must buy your apple juice, you can still get a sense of Kernel), many well-grown late-maturing apples (e.g., King of Pippins, what the final cider will be like if you know the varieties of apples which Sandow, Ribston, Honeygold) and some mild crabs (e.g., Bilodeau). went into the juice blend and if the juice seems ―balanced‖ with a fair
Low Acid Apples: These have T.A. % (as Tartaric) of less than degree of tartness and bitterness.
0.5%, with varying amounts of sugar. They are essential for blending Essential Elements of Apple Juice: To make great cider, your
with high sugar apples which usually contain too much acidity. They are juice must have four things: high sugar, low nitrogen, and balanced also often rich in tannins. Low acid apples include sweet and acidity and tannins.
bittersweet cider apples (e.g., Bulmer’s Norman, Tremlett’s Bitter, Sugar: Sugar content directly relates to final gravity. Small, late Yarlington Mill), most wild seedlings, and most pears. season apples tend to be highest in sugar. High sugar tends to occur
Medium Sugar Apples: These have low to medium sugar (SG when nitrogen in the apples is low. Apple juice typically has O.G. 1.040-1.045 - 1.055) with medium to high acidity. They can substitute when 1.050 and will ferment to about F.G. 1.010-1.005, producing a cider of there aren’t enough high sugar apples. Examples include many sharp 5-6% ABV, but a good blend of apple juice for cider will have a and bittersharp cider apples (e.g., Brown’s Apple, Breakwell Seedling, minimum SG of 1.050 (12.5 Brix, 6.2% potential ABV). If your SG is Stoke Red), many late and mid-season eating apples (e.g. Frostbite, lower than this, try to find better apples rather than adding sugar, since Honeycrisp, Lobo, Wealthy, Haralson, Alexander, Winter Banana, low-sugar apple juice is likely to have other problems (e.g., high Freedom). nitrogen, excessive acidity).
Special Apples: These are apple varieties which add special If that isn’t possible, since low-alcohol ciders tend to be less
character to a cider (e.g., aromas, flavors, colors) even if they aren’t stable and more vulnerable to infection by microbes, you must add otherwise desirable for cidermaking. They are typically blended with sugar to bring the base apple juice up to a S.G. of at least 1.045. 2.25 more suitable apples. Examples: Dolgo or Kerr (acidity too high but ounces of sugar (or 3 ounces of honey) will raise the S.G. of 1 gallon of wonderful aroma), SG 1060, TA>2%) very special, various red flesh juice by 5 points (e.g., from S.G. 1.045 to 1.050).
apples are usually low in sugar and high in acid, but can impart a nice Any fermentable sugar will work, but sucrose (table sugar) is the pink color. cheapest and easiest to work with. When added to apple juice, the
Useless Apples: These apples are useless for making cider. Eat acids in the juice immediately convert it into invert sugar (a mixture of them, cook them or use them to make sweet cider or vinegar, instead. fructose and glucose) which is ideal for fermentation. They have very low sugar (SG < 1.045), high or very high acid (TA > It is possible to increase the potential alcohol by adding any other 0.8%), high nitrogen levels, and low tannin levels. Examples include sugar, such as fruit sugar (fructose) or corn sugar (dextrose AKA most early season apples (e.g., Yellow Transparent, William's Pride, glucose). Fruit or maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses or honey can Redfree, Duchesse, Melba) and most mass production eating apples also be used to increase sugar content, but these impart their own (e.g., McIntosh). flavors, turning ordinary cider into a specialty cider.
Generally, specialty sugars added to apple juice lose much of the
character during fermentation. If possible, add these sugars once Blending Your Juice fermentation has slowed or stopped.
Sugar Ranges for Apples and Apple Juice Blends
Sugar Content S.G. Brix Potential Alc. % Comment
Too low 1.040> 10 > 5> No good for cider
Low 1.050 12.5 6.2 Minimum for cider
Medium 1.055 13.5 7
High 1.060 15 7.8 good
Exceptional 1.070< 17+ 9+
Acidity: Acids determine how ―sharp‖ the cider will be and is Crisp, sparkling ―champagne-like‖ ciders can be at the top of the
expressed in terms of pH and total acidity. A sufficiently low pH (pH 3.0-range (i.e., 0.8% TA), while still English-style ciders are at the lower end 3.8) is necessary to inhibit bacterial action. of the limit (i.e., ~0.55%).
Ciders with low total acidity (below 0.3%) ciders taste insipid, Sharp apples might have up to double the desired level of acidity while those with too high an acid level (above 0.7-0.8%) can taste for a balanced cider, and some varieties of sharp apples might be too unpleasantly sour. The acidity of your juice blend should be between acidic to used in cider, except as a small part of an apple blend. 0.45-0.9% Total Acidity (T.A.) expressed as tartaric acid. Too much Ideally, you won’t need to adjust the sourness of your apple juice, acid gives a tart cider. Too little acid leaves the cider vulnerable to since the blend of apples will already contain enough acid. If necessary,
however, you can make your apple juice sourer, or give it a more infection during fermentation and can lead to oxidation and other ―off‖
flavors. For safety sake, your apple juice must have a pH of 3.8 or lower. complex sourness, by adding some combination of malic acid, citric
acid or lactic acid. Malic acid is the major acid naturally present in
apples, so it should predominate in any acid blend. As a rule of thumb, lactobacillus bacteria. This process makes the cider taste smoother and 20 grams of malic acid per 5 gallons will increase acidity by 0.1%. can give it a ―nutty‖ or ―bacon‖ flavor. MLF is desirable in some styles of
Extremely sour ciders often mellow with age, due to Malolactic cider (notably English Cider).
Fermentation (MLF), where malic acid is converted into lactic acid by
Acid Ranges for Apples and Apple Juice Blends
Acidity % TA Tartaric % T.A. Malic pH Comment
Low 0.1-0.4 0.1-0.35 3.8+ Insipid. Sweets or bittersweet apples
Medium 0.5-0.7 0.45-0.6 3.5-3.4 Balanced, ideal
High 0.8-1.0 0.7-0.9 3.3-3.1 Most eating apples
Very High 1.0+ 0.9+ 3.0- Sharp. Most cooking apples
Tannins: The type and amount of tannins present in the juice 0.015-1.025, resulting in higher residual sweetness. Also, since influence the finished cider. Tannins act as a natural preservative and nitrogen in apple juice takes the form of proteins (which are composed anti-oxidant, balances sweetness, aids perception of body and helps to of nitrogen-rich amino acids), and pectin is a haze-forming protein, clarify the cider. Excessive tannins are detectable as bitterness and apple juice which is lower in nitrogen is likely to be clearer and easier to
fine or filter to bright or brilliant clarity. astringency (drying or puckering aftertaste) in the juice. ―Hard‖ tannins
give bitter notes, while ―soft‖ tannins cause astringency. The drawback is that apple juice which is low in proteins and
Typically, dessert apples or apples for commercial apple juice or vitamins takes a long time (4-5 months) to ferment to completion and mass-produced ―industrial cider‖ will have about 1/5 the required tannin poor yeast health means that the fermenting juice is more vulnerable to levels. On the other end, extremely bittersharp apples might have 12 infection and incomplete (―stuck‖ fermentation). For this reason, many times as much tannin, or about double what is required for a semi-cidermakers add nitrogen in the form of yeast nutrient. Historically, sweet cider. farmhouse cider makers put a piece of meat into their cider barrels,
Sparkling ―champagne‖ style common cider should have low since the meat provided both amino acids and vitamins to the yeast. levels of tannins. English or French ciders will usually have higher There are also lurid tales of ―stuck‖ cider restarting fermentation after a levels of tannins due to the presence of special cider apples (i.e., rat drowned in the barrel, providing the same nutrients. bittersharp varieties). Aromatic Compounds: The esters and other aromatic
There is no quick and easy way to test for tannin levels, other compounds which give cider its characteristic aroma and flavor depend than by tasting the juice. Tannins also oxidize when the apples are on the varieties of apples pressed to make the juice. Not surprisingly, milled, giving the juice a darker orange or amber color. cider apples have the best aromatic profile for ciders. Dessert apples
If possible, avoid adding tannins to your juice. Instead, produce a can have excessively high levels of esters which seem out of place in a balanced juice blend with sufficient tannins to begin with. If that isn’t finished cider. Aromatic compounds are volatile and are easily lost possible, consider adding tannins to the finished cider when you have a during vigorous fermentation. The best cider is made using a slow better sense of how the finished cider will taste. If this isn’t possible fermentation.
(e.g., when making cider using dessert apples) carefully add grape If this is not possible, it is possible to restore fruity and floral tannins to a juice sample at a rate of 0.1%, then scale up the esters by back-sweetening the cider with unfermented juice. Some measurements to the full batch when you’ve achieved sufficient tannin ciderers freeze a gallon of apple juice from the same batch as they levels. used to ferment the cider and add it to the finished cider for exactly this
If you’re in a hurry and are making cider from dessert apples reason. Avoid using artificial flavorings, since they inevitably smell and which you know are deficient in tannin, approximately 1 level teaspoon taste artificial.
per 5 gallons of juice is generally enough and might be too much. Putting it all Together: For English-style cider, the ―perfect‖
It is also possible to increase tannin levels by adding the juice of apple juice blend has exactly 0.2% tannin and exactly 0.40% acidity. high tannin fruits, such as crabapples, elderberries, cranberries or Apple juice pressed from varieties such as Kingston Black come close blueberries. to this ideal, but typically you will need to blend.
It is possible to reduce the tannin level by allowing the crushed For North American common cider, the ideal juice blend will have apple pulp to macerate for 8-24 hours before it is pressed. This S.G. 1.060 (Brix 15 or 8% potential alcohol), moderate (or balanced technique darkens the color of the juice (tannins are responsible for acidity) with T.A. as Tartaric Acid of about 0.6-0.8%, and tannin content apples turning brown) and is used to ―soften‖ the flavor of French cider. based on the type of cider desired: higher from dry cider, lower for If the pulp is allowed to sit for too long, however, tannin levels can be sweet ciders.
reduced too far, resulting in an unbalanced or ―flabby‖ cider. In all cases, you want low nitrogen content to encourage slow
Nitrogen: Apple juice contains 5-10 times less nitrogen (in the fermentation.
form of proteins and amino acids) than grape juice or beer wort. Claude Jolicouer has a small Excel spreadsheet which will Likewise, apple juice is extremely low in the nitrogen based vitamin automatically calculate sugar and acidity levels in an apple blend at: thiamin (vitamin B1), which is necessary for yeast to convert pyruvate http://cjoliprsf.awardspace.biz/wizard.htm.
into ethanol. Apples from older trees and of ―vintage‖ varieties have
lower nitrogen content. Apples from fertilized orchards have higher Sulfur Dioxide and Yeast nitrogen content. Wild Yeast: Unpasteurized apple juice naturally contains wild This has a huge effect on fermentation speed since vitamins and yeasts, which naturally live on apple skins and are carried into the juice amino acids are critical for yeast growth. The less nitrogen there is in when it ferments. (The ―dust‖ you see on an unpolished apple fresh off your apple juice, the slower the yeast will ferment. This means that the tree is largely wild yeast.) While it is often possible to make good fewer aromatic compounds are driven off during fermentation and the cider using just the naturally occurring yeast, most wild yeasts are of yeast will naturally stop fermenting when S.G. reaches approximately the S. Kloeckera or S. Candida strains, meaning they can produce off
flavors and might not ferment well in high-alcohol environments cider, and can cause headaches or even asthma attacks in people who (anything above 1-2% ABV). For this reason, you might wish to add are sensitive to sulfites. For these reasons, sulfite levels should be kept sulfur dioxide (AKA Campden tablets or SO) and add cultured yeast. as low as possible - some ciderers prefer a SO concentration of 50-75 22
Unless you add sulfur dioxide, wild yeast will usually start ppm. In any case, total sulfur dioxide levels should never exceed 200 fermentation within a day. They often quickly die after a few days, as ppm.
the alcohol level rises; leaving a high level of residual sugar in the Add sulfur dioxide 12-24 hours before adding your yeast in order partially-fermented cider and leaving it open to infection by other to give it time to act against wild yeast and bacteria and give free sulfur organisms. dioxide a chance to outgas from the juice. The cultured yeast will be
Sulfur Dioxide: Sulfur dioxide is commonly used prevent inhibited as well, if it is added too soon after the SO. 2
spoilage organisms from ruining wine or cider. Unlike processes such If making cider with wild yeast, use half the amounts indicated on as pasteurization, it doesn’t kill yeast and bacteria, but it does inhibit the table or less, in order to inhibit spoilage bacteria while keeping the their growth, allowing cultured yeast to get a head start when wild yeast alive.
fermentation begins. High-acid cider (3.0 pH or below) doesn’t need sulfites, since the
Sulfites added at the beginning of fermentation bind to other acidity is sufficient to kill any unwanted microbes. When adding cultured chemicals (typically acetaldehyde) and drop out of solution by the time yeast, the amount of sulfur dioxide needed depends on the pH of the fermentation is finished, so their impact on the finished cider is reduced, apple juice:
but sulfites added at the end of fermentation are much more noticeable.
Excessive levels can impart unpleasant dry and sulfury notes to the
Recommended Sulfur Dioxide Levels for Apple Juice
Juice pH SO2 (ppm) Campden Tablets*
> 3.8 Reduce pH to 3.8 with malic acid
3.8-3.5 150 3
3.5-3.3 100 2
3.3-3.0 50 1
3.0 < None None
* Per gallon or ml of 5% SO stock solution per liter. One Campden tablet typically imparts 50 ppm sulfur dioxide to 1 gallon of juice. 2
Yeast: Yeast strain depends on the style of cider you’re trying to But, if you are certain that your apple juice has insufficient acid make, and what character you want the final cider to have. Typically, levels, you can carefully add malic acid crystals at the rate of 1 gram any strain of wine yeast will work, but specialized cider yeasts are also per liter (0.1%) until acid levels are sufficient. Even so, it’s better to wait available. Common wine yeasts used for cider are Lalvin EC-1118 and until the cider has at least partially fermented and then taste it to K1V-1116, Riesling, Montrachet and Champagne yeast strains. Ale and determine if it needs acid for balance.
even lager yeasts can also work, especially when making lower-alcohol Other acids which can be present in cider are tartaric, citric and ciders. I’ve successfully made cider using English ale yeast (Munton’s lactic acids. These are all available at homebrewing stores, but there is Windsor and Nottingham, Wyeast Thames Valley and British Ale II) and no reason to add them to your apple juice. Instead, they should be recultured Trappist (Chimay) yeasts. added sparingly, if at all, to the finished cider to balance acidity.
Pasteur Champagne yeast works well and can ferment high- Oxygen: If you wish, you can aerate your apple juice when you gravity ciders, but can ―strip out‖ some flavor. Wine yeasts designed for pitch the yeast, just as you would for beer.
light, fruity wines (e.g., Chardonnay, Epergne, Montrachet) preserve Pectin Enzyme: Pectins are a class of branched carbohydrate more apple character and are good for French or strong ciders, while chains naturally found in the cell walls of many fruits. They are English Ale yeasts are ideal for producing English and American responsible for making fruit juice hazy, but also contribute body and farmhouse ciders. perception of smoothness.
Factors to consider when choosing a yeast for your cider are: cold Pectinase, or pectin enzyme, breaks pectins down into sugars tolerance (some strains will continue to work down to ~41 ?F, 5? C), and simpler carbohydrates. If added to apple pulp during pressing it alcohol tolerance (some strains don’t ferment well above about 8% ABV helps to increase juice yields. If added to apple juice, it slightly - important if making an applewine, New England cider or iced cider), increases the fermentability of the juice and helps to clarify the finished attenuation, flocculation and aroma/flavor profile. cider.
For simplicity’s sake, beginners should start with robust, neutral- While pectin is usually water soluble, it is precipitated by alcohol, flavored yeast which allows the character of the apples to show through. so it can be a problem in the finished cider. Juice blends made from K1V-1116 is a safe choice. dessert apples, tart apples (including crabapples) or apples which have
It is generally safe to pitch dry yeasts directly into your apple juice. been in storage for a long time can have high levels of pectin. In such If you wish, however, you can make a ―starter‖ by pitching your yeast cases, the pectin haze might not clear on its own. Likewise, apple juice into a quart or half gallon (for a 5 gallon batch) of sterile juice or sugar which has had lemon juice (citric acid) added to it, or which has been water solution 12-24 hours before adding it to your apple juice. heated (e.g., heat pasteurized) is likely to have a persistent pectin haze.
Pectin removal is also vital if you filter your cider, since the large,
gummy pectin molecules can quickly clog filters. Other Additions In such cases, you might need to add pectinase, which breaks Acids: Apple juice contains many organic acids, mostly malic and down pectins over a period of about a week. tartaric acids. As a rule of thumb, if you’re working with good-quality Testing for Pectin: Pectin is precipitated by alcohol, so a quick apples and have chosen your juice blend well, you don’t need to add and simple test for the presence of pectin is to add one part of your acid. apple juice to one part 70% alcohol (iso-propanol and vodka both work).
If pectin is present, it will gel, causing the sample to become cloudy and top up the new container. (Some of the original apple juice can be begin to precipitate. This gives you a sense of how much pectin is in frozen and held in cold storage for this purpose).
your juice. Stuck Fermentation: Especially with a weak fermentation, cider
Adding Pectin Enzyme: Pectinase is available in both dry and might stop fermenting above the desired final gravity (1.025 for sweet liquid forms for winemaking. Add it to the juice according to the ciders, 1.015 for semi-sweet, 1.010 or less for dry ciders). In such manufacturer’s directions. cases, you might be able to restart fermentation by adding yeast
Sugar: Avoid adding sugar to your apple juice unless you’re nutrient, aerating the apple juice (e.g., 20 minutes vigorous stirring) or making New England Cider, apple wine or some other form of fortified slightly increasing fermentation temperature (but most cider yeasts cider. If you’re using the right sort of apples they should have sufficient work best at around 60 ?F, 15 ?F).
sugar levels already. Extremely acidic ciders might also be slow to ferment. In such
If you must add sugar to your apple juice, add neutral flavored cases, you might want to delay the first racking by a month in order to sugar or syrup such as white sugar (sucrose) or glucose (dextrose) encourage malolactic fermentation. Fully fermented cider shouldn’t be rather than more expensive and delicately-flavored sugars such as left on its lees for more than a few weeks, however. honey or maple syrup. Racking: When racking, avoid aerating the cider and try to leave
Instead, add strongly flavored specialty sugars later once behind as much trub as possible. Run the transferred cider into the fermentation has slowed, ―feeding‖ the fermentation, or use them to bottom of the new vessel without splashing or allowing it to cascade back-sweeten the finished cider. This preserves more of the specialty down the walls. Once you’ve racked your cider, minimize headspace sugar character. and contact with the outside air. If possible, blanket the cider with a
Tannin: Grape tannin is available at homebrewing stores as a layer of carbon dioxide. This will help to keep out spoilage organisms winemaking supply. Like acids, tannin shouldn’t be added to your apple and will also prevent oxidation.
juice. Instead, it should be carefully added after the cider has finished Some cidermakers add 50 ppm of sulfur dioxide at every racking fermenting in order to balance sweetness. Alternately, instead of adding to combat oxidation and risk of spoilage, but this is generally grape tannin, you can add a bag of oak chips or oak cubes to the unnecessary and might add excessive sulfites to the finished cider. finished cider. This potentially gives you more control over the degree Added sulfites are also likely to inhibit malolactic fermentation. of tannin since you can remove the oak chips when you’ve determined When cider is racked, otherwise clear cider might throw a haze or that the cider is dry enough. precipitation as yeast falls out of solution. Maturing cider should not sit
Yeast Nutrient: If you want a quicker, stronger fermentation for for more than a few months on the lees, however, lest it pick up your cider, but possibly at the risk of reduced quality, add yeast nutrient. autolyzed yeast notes.
Yeast nutrients might be necessary when fermenting a high-gravity Maturation: Once fermentation has ceased, cider should be put cider, or one with a high honey or simple sugar content. Commercial in a closed fermenter to continue maturing. Depending on the style, the producers add ammonium phosphate or ammonium sulfate and thiamin, temperature and your level of patience, cider can age for weeks or in doses of up to 0.2 milligrams per liter of thiamine and up to 300 years. Most cider is ready to drink within 3 months after fermentation milligrams per liter of ammonium salts. Homebrewers can add starts, but aging for another 3-9 typically improves flavor. Cider doesn’t winemaker’s yeast nutrient according to the manufacturer’s directions. age well, however, and even well-maintained cider begins to decline if These nutrient blends are usually some combination of urea, thiamine stored for more than a few years at room temperature. Up to 50 ppm (vitamin B1) and ammonium sulfate. sulfur dioxide can help combat oxidation and aid storage stability, as
A traditional cidermakers technique was to put a piece of meat additions to the fermenting or fermented cider don’t long as total SO2
into the fermenting cider, so that it slowly released amino acids and exceed 200 ppm.
vitamins into the cider. A more salubrious modern equivalent might be Malolactic Fermentation: When fermentation is slow, over a
to ―feed‖ the fermentation by adding a tiny amount of yeast nutrient to period of months, Lactobacillus or Leuconostoc bacteria in the the fermenting cider at intervals. fermenting juice convert malic acid into lactic acid and carbon dioxide; a
process called malolactic fermentation (MLF). Traditionally, it occurs the
summer after the cider is laid down, as temperatures in the ciderhouse Fermenting and Maturation warm. Fermentation: Wild yeast will begin fermentation within a day in MLF gives the cider a crisper, less lingering sourness and a more unsulfited apple juice. Yeast cultures will usually begin fermentation rounded, smoother flavor due to reduced levels of malic acid (which has within 48 hours. a fruit-like sourness) and increased levels of lactic acid. In bittersweet If the juice is sulfited but no yeast is added, surviving wild yeasts ciders it can produce characteristic ―spicy‖ notes (often detectable in will multiply to sufficient levels to begin (noticeable) fermentation within Norman ciders) or ―bacon‖ or ―smoky‖ notes (typical of English ciders). two weeks. MLF is common, even desirable, in English and French ciders, Ideally, cider is fermented at temperatures of 40-60? F, but cider but it can make ciders which were already low in acid seem insipid. fermented using ale yeast will work happily at 55-65? F. For best flavor, Reduced acidity can also leave the cider vulnerable to infection by other cider needs to ferment slowly. One source suggests topping up the organisms, especially if pH goes above 3.8. cider fermenter, leaving much less head space than one would for a MLF can be detected if the cider begins to produce gas but batch of beer, and using a blow-off fermentation for the first couple of doesn’t become turbid or hazy due to the presence of suspended yeast weeks to remove suspended particles of pectin and other materials. cells. ―sheen‖ in an otherwise clear cider is also a sign of lactobacillus Leaving too much headspace can contribute to acetobacter infection. bacteria at work, although this is considered to be a fault in cider Depending on temperature and yeast health, the cider should be entered in competition. fully fermented in anywhere from a few weeks to 4-5 months. After 4-5 MLF is enhanced if the cider is allowed to sit on a small amount of months, or once the S.G. has dropped to 1.010 or so, taste the cider. If autolyzed yeast, since the decaying yeast provides nutrient to the it is excessively sharp, allow it to stand on its lees for another month to lactobacillus bacteria. It is difficult to deliberately induce, although there encourage MLF. Otherwise, rack it to secondary, using fresh cider to
are lactobacillus cultures available which can be added to cider to start volumes of dissolved carbon dioxide, petillant cider has 1.2-1.8 volumes it. and sparkling cider has 1.9-3.0 volumes.
MLF can be inhibited by using sulfur dioxide at racking. Bottle-Conditioning: Bottle-conditioning cider is harder, since
cider takes a long time to come into condition and the yeast is likely to
be in very bad health when it’s time to bottle. Advanced Techniques The simplest, but riskiest, strategy is to track the drop in S.G. as Adjusting Acids and Tannins: When the cider is fermented and the cider ferments to terminal gravity and then bottle it when S.G. has had some time to mature, you can adjust acidity and tannin levels reaches about 1.010, allowing it to finish fermenting in the bottle. by adding tannins. Alternately, you can add a bit of new yeast, some fresh juice and some Adding Tannins and Acids: Add tannins or acids (citric, lactic, yeast nutrient to your cider once it reaches terminal gravity. malic or tartaric) in 0.1% increments to test batches. Taste carefully and In either case, there is the risk that yeast in the bottle will keep careful notes before you do anything to the whole batch. Also see contribute off-flavors and that bottle-conditioned cider will no clear Blending, below. properly. The latter is a serious fault if you plan to enter your cider in Reducing Acids: It is difficult to remove acids from cider, but it competition. Even for styles where haze is allowed, judges often take can be done by adding potassium carbonate (calcium carbonate gives off points for appearance if they assume that all cider should have cider a chalky flavor). Add potassium carbonate in 0.1% increments to brilliant clarity. test batches. Taste carefully and keep careful notes before you do Degorgement: French cidermakers (and obsessive home anything to the whole batch. cidermakers) solve the problem of hazy, yeasty bottled cider by using Reducing Tannins: It is possible to remove some tannins (and the method champegnoise, just like champagne makers. The cider is associated chill haze) by fining with gelatin or similar fining agent. primed with sugar and then allowed to partially ferment and clarify in a Crash-chilling the cider for several days after adding finings will also corked bottle. Then the bottle is inverted to allow the lees to fall into the help precipitate tannins. neck. Once the lees have settled, the neck is immersed in bath of salt Blending: Blending ciders after fermentation is complete is a and ice. This ice bath freezes the lees in the neck of the bottle making great way to achieve perfect flavor balance. But, like any other aspect them stick to the cork, so when the cork is drawn, the frozen lees come of brewing, it’s an art. Guidelines for blending: with it, thus clarifying the cider. The bottle is then recorked and fitted * Only blend if required. Don’t mess with your cider if you don’t with a wire cage, allowing carbonation to continue without blowing the have to. top off the bottle. * Blend well before final racking for kegging or bottling. Changes If you bottle-condition your cider, be sure that the bottle (and the in acidity, nutrients and yeast levels occur when batches are blended. cap) is up to the task! Highly-carbonated champagne-style ciders (i.e., This might cause fermentation to restart, make otherwise clear ciders to any cider with more than more than 2.5 volumes of carbon dioxide) throw a haze or sediment, or otherwise alter the character of the blend. should be bottled in a champagne-style bottle with a thicker walls and a * Blending can only tweak the character of the mixed ciders. You punted base. Corks or caps should be held in place with wire cages. can’t blend to correct serious faults. Fining: Finings can be used to remove haze from cider. This is * Test blends using small samples of the ciders to be blended very important for cider entered into competition, especially for styles before mixing the entire batch. where bright or brilliant clarity is an option. In addition to pectinase * If blending to sweeten (or back-sweetening with sugar or juice) (described above), traditional cider finings include egg whites (albumin), blend to the desired level of sweetness (S.G. 1.025 for sweet, 1.015 for blood, gelatin, milk (casein), isinglass and Irish moss. Modern finings semi-sweet) first, then blend to get the right levels of tannins and acids. include bentonite (kaolin clay), casein, carrageenan (the active * If you must add acids or tannins to the blend, add them to your ingredient in Irish moss), alginate, diatomaceous earth, PVPP test mixtures in 0.1% steps. (Polyclar?), kieselsol (colloidal silica), copper sulfate, dried albumen, * Keep careful notes of volumes used in test blends before hydrated yeast, and activated carbon. blending entire batches! Most of these fining compounds work via the electrostatic Carbonation: For purposes of the BJCP, cider can be still (i.e., principle – attracting molecules with an opposite charge to form larger flat), petillant (i.e., lightly carbonated) or sparkling (i.e., carbonated). clumps of material which drop out of solution more quickly. Activated Many brewers (and judges) are unsure exactly what petillant carbon, PVPP, fining yeast and copper sulfate work on the adsorbent means, however, so ―petillant‖ cider can be anywhere from barely principle, chemically adhering to the surface of the undesirable carbonated (with carbonation just detectable as a tingling on the tongue) compounds to form larger particles. Fining yeast can remove excessive to slightly carbonated (to about the level of a cask-conditioned ale). In copper, while copper sulfate can remove unwanted sulfur compounds. competition, it’s safer to describe your cider as still (if it is truly In both cases, however, the finings must be removed using a different uncarbonated) or carbonated. type of fining. Some types of finings can remove tannins and To Carbonate or Not to Carbonate?: Carbonating your cider melanoidin compounds, which may be undesirable. Gelatin, casein and helps lift aromas out of solution, improving aroma, and also makes the PVPP can be used to remove quercetin (an astringent compound cider seem fuller-bodied and drier in the mouth. associated with oak-aging). A book on wine-making will give much The danger of carbonation is that it can be hard to control the more information. exact carbonation level (especially if bottle-conditioning) and Keeving: Keeving is a French technique used to reduce nitrogen carbonation can negatively affect perceptions. A huge gushing head is levels in the fermenting apple juice. It only works for apple varieties a fault, not just because of the mess, but also because the carbon which are high in tannins and low in yeast nutrient, and requires careful dioxide can scrub too many delicate aromas out of the cider, giving a temperature control. During keeving the apples are pulped (cuvage or huge initial ―bloom‖ of aroma which doesn’t carry through into the flavor. maceration) and allowed to sit for up to 24 hours before the pulp is Likewise, carbonation can make a cider seem too tart and astringent. pressed. Then, salt and wood ashes or calcium chloride and a special Force Carbonation: If you have a kegging system, it is easy to enzyme are added to the juice. get the exact level of carbonation you desire in your cider. Otherwise,
it’s a bit tricky. As a rough rule of thumb, still cider has less than 1.2
The juice is then placed in sanitized barrels and is allowed to semi-sweet cider rack again when S.G. is at about 1.015. Then, monitor slowly ferment at temperatures of about 5 ?C for up to a week. During the cider for several weeks to determine that fermentation doesn’t
this period of very slow fermentation, the pectin in the juice converts to restart. Once you’re sure that fermentation has stopped, you can back-
pectic acid, which forms a brown scum (the ―chapeau brun‖) on top of sweeten, making sure that you don’t do anything to restart fermentation, the fermenting cider while the yeasts, bacteria and other substances such as adding oxygen or yeast nutrient. If you can, rack the cider on a
clear, sunny day (when the barometric pressure is high) since higher precipitate to the bottom of the barrel (―defecation‖). The cider is then
racked into a new container so that the scum on the top and bottom is atmospheric pressure helps to keep suspended yeast to a minimum. left behind. Even so, there is a risk that fermentation might continue in the
Keeving can reduce protein levels by up to 50%, resulting in keg or bottle. Ciders of this sort often become petillant, sparkling, or nutrient-poor juice which ferments slowly and ultimately stops even explosive if stored for any length of time.
fermenting at 2-4% ABV. This produces a clearer, more flavorful cider. Racking and back-sweetening is best for ciders which will require Smooth, mellow French cidre bouche depends on keeving for its unique no further blending, which can be force-carbonated, and which will be character. consumed within a few weeks of packaging.
Sweetening: It is easy to let a cider ferment to completion, with a Waiting: If a cider has finished fermentation, has been racked off final gravity of 1.010 or less. Sweet and semi-sweet ciders are more the lees at least once, and has been conditioning for several months, it popular, but trickier to produce. There are two ways to get higher levels might be possible to back-sweeten the cider without fermentation of residual sugar in cider: stop fermentation prematurely and/or back-restarting. This carries the same risks and drawbacks as Racking. sweeten the cider once the yeast has been killed or gone dormant due Yeast Inhibitors: Used in conjunction with some other method of to lack of nutrients. The latter technique allows you to produce ―fruitier‖ stopping fermentation, such as Filtration, Fining, Racking or Waiting, ciders since you can back-sweeten with unfermented apple juice. It also you can also reduce the chances that the yeast will re-start works well for specialty ciders made with delicately-flavored sugars like fermentation by adding naturally-occurring yeast inhibitors such as maple sugar or honey, since those flavors and aromas don’t need to potassium sorbate or benzoate, at levels up to 200 ppm. survive fermentation. Both potassium sorbate and benzoate are available from
Commercial cider producers allow the cider to ferment to terminal winemaking supply shops. Potassium sorbate is most effective if you gravity, then centrifuge and/or filter the cider (see Filtering) to remove add about 50 ppm of sulfur dioxide (Campden tablet) at the same time. the yeast and then back-sweeten it. French cider producers maintain a Total levels of sulfite and sorbates should not exceed 200 ppm, high level of residual sweetness by Keeving (see above) so that the however.
yeast doesn’t have sufficient nutrient to complete fermentation. Other Sorbate should not be added to cider which has undergone methods are listed below. malolactic fermentation, or which is likely to do so, since lactic acid
Artificial or non-fermentable sweeteners: Unfermentable sugars bacteria reacting with sorbate can produce geranium-like off-flavors. such as lactose or artificial sweeteners such as saccharine can be
added to cider to sweeten it, but their use is problematic. Lactose can Other Cider-Like Beverages be fermented by lactobacillus bacteria which might be present in the Perry and cider-strength ―wines‖ made from other fruits, such as cider, and artificial sweeteners often contribute bitter and ―artificial‖ plums or peaches, basically follow the rules for cider. You must balance flavors. Saccharine doesn’t work well in cider. Sucralose (AKA sugar, acidity, tannins and nitrogen levels to produce an optimal juice Splenda?) allegedly works well. blend, and then ferment slowly using commercial yeast. Fining: Fining to remove yeast works in a similar manner to Perry: Perry is very similar to cider, except that it is virtually Racking (see below), except that you use a fining agent to precipitate impossible to find cider-quality pears which press well. Typical dessert the yeast. Add fining agent according to the manufacturer’s instructions, pears like Bartlett or Bosc pear produce a very fine, wet pulp which but be aware that fining agents can take much longer than advertised to doesn’t press well. They also might not have the proper levels of sugar, clear, and that some fining agents are designed to operation in acid and tannins. conjunction with filtration. Crash-cooling the cider for several days, or Other Fruit Ciders: Homebrewers have made good ciders from cold-conditioning it, can also help to precipitate yeast. Fining can be peaches, plums and cherries, among other fruits. As with perry made combined with Filtering or Racking. from dessert pears, there are problems with the pulp not pressing well, Filtering: Yeast can be removed from cider by running it through as well as insufficient levels of sugar, acids and tannins. Additionally, a 10 micron filter. Just be sure that the cider has very low pectin levels many tree fruits have pits which might need to be removed before the and is otherwise fairly clear before you filter or else your filters can clog. fruit can be pulped. Expect a lot of work and a lot of mess! Sheet filters are also difficult, messy and slow to use, especially if you don’t have a pump to help the process along.
Part 2 - Cider History and Styles Pasteurizing: Blend sweetener with the fully-fermented cider,
then pasteurize the bottles at approximately 154 ?F (68 ?C) for 20 Cider has been around in one form or another since Neolithic minutes. The drawback of this method is that it makes bottle times, and virtually every European culture has produced some form of conditioning impossible and can also impart unpleasant ―cooked‖ cider. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, cider was highly prized characteristics to the finished cider. in England, France and Spain. American colonists brought apples and thth Racking: This method is a deliberate attempt to induce stuck cider-making techniques to North America. Throughout the 17 and 18
fermentation by repeatedly racking the fermenting cider off the lees. By centuries, American colonists relied on hard cider as a safe beverage, reduce the amount of yeast nutrient available, you slow or stop especially when early attempts to grow hops and barley in North fermentation. America proved unsuccessful. thth When fermentation is almost complete (e.g., S.G. 1.030 or less) Cider’s downfall in popularity came in the 19 and 20 centuries.
and S.G. is dropping at the rate of less than 1 degree S.G. per day, As both Great Britain and the United States become more urbanized, rack the cider into a new vessel, leaving most of the yeast behind. For cider became increasingly more expensive, both due to increased sweet cider, rack again when the cider is at about 1.020-1.025. For demand and due to the cost of transporting cider from the countryside
to the city. Since cider doesn’t keep very well, especially when exposed (10% or more RS). In sweeter ciders, other components of taste —
to the rigors of travel over primitive roads, its quality suffered. Even particularly acidity — must balance the sweetness. The level of
worse, unscrupulous merchants adulterated cider or stored it in metallic sweetness must be specified in order to arrange flights of tastings and containers, ruining its flavor and in some cases poisoning those who entries within flights. Tasting always proceeds from drier to sweeter. thdrank it. (―Devonshire colic‖ or ―apple palsy‖ were 19 century terms There are three categories of sweetness:
used to describe the symptoms of poisoning from drinking cider which Dry: below 0.9% residual sugar. This corresponds to a final had been contaminated by exposure to lead.) By contrast, beer, which specific gravity of under 1.002.
was produced in the city, could be relied upon to be fresh and Medium: in the range between dry and sweet (0.9% to 4% residual wholesome. As a result, cider’s reputation suffered badly – it was soon sugar, final gravity 1.002 to 1.012). Sometimes characterized as either considered to be a drink fit only for the most desperate of the urban 'off-dry' or 'semi-sweet.'
poor or for backcountry yokels who didn’t know any better. In the U.K., Sweet: above 4% residual sugar, roughly equivalent to a final although cider’s reputation has improved somewhat, it still has the gravity of over 1.012.
something of same stigma that malt liquor has in the U.S. – a cheap, If a cider is close to one of these boundaries, it should be inferior beverage consumed by those too young, too poor or too far identified by the sweetness category which best describes the overall gone to care. impression it gives.
In the U.S., two other factors contributed to cider’s demise. The Acidity is an essential element of cider and perry: it must be first factor was that German lager brewers produced light, crisp beers sufficient to give a clean, refreshing impression without being puckering. which filled the same market niche that cider once occupied. The Acidity (from malic and in some cases lactic acids) must not be thsecond factor was the Temperance Movement of the late 19 century confused with acetification (from acetic acid — vinegar): the acrid thwhich culminated in Prohibition early in the 20 century. New England aroma and tingling taste of acetification is a fault. and the Upper Midwest were the main cider-producing regions of the Ciders and perries vary considerably in tannin. This affects both country, but they were also had strong Temperance Movements. bitterness and astringency (see "Mouthfeel" below). If made from Furthermore, hard cider became associated with apple brandy, rather culinary or table fruit, tannins are typically low; nevertheless some than being seen as a healthful, ―temperance beverage‖ as it once had tannin is desirable to balance the character. The character contributed been. As a final blow, an unseasonably cold winter in 1917 killed by tannin should be mainly astringency rather than bitterness. An overt millions of apple trees, devastating the U.S. cider industry on the eve of or forward bitterness is a fault (and is often due to processing Prohibition. After Prohibition ended, the hard cider industry was nearly techniques rather than fruit).
dead. Only with the rise of the craft-brewing movement in the U.S. and
the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in the U.K. has craft cider-making Appearance been revived. Clarity may vary from good to brilliant. The lack of sparkling clarity In France and Spain, however, cider has never gone out of style. is not a fault, but visible particles are undesirable. In some styles a In Asturias, Galicia and the Basque Country of Spain, ―sidera‖ was the "rustic" lack of brilliance is common. Perries are notoriously difficult to traditional drink of choice. In France, cider from Brittany and Normandy clear; as a result a slight haze is not a fault. However, a "sheen‖ in has always enjoyed a strong following, along with the sublime apple either cider or perry generally indicates the early stage of lactic and pear brandies of the region. Likewise, In Germany, especially in contamination and is a distinct fault. Hesse and the Saar valley, Apfelwein has always been a treasured Carbonation may vary from entirely still to a champagne level. No local beverage. or little carbonation is termed still. A moderate carbonation level is termed petillant. Highly carbonated is termed sparkling. At the higher
levels of carbonation, the "mousse" (head) may be retained for a short BJCP Cider Guidelines time. However, gushing, foaming, and difficult-to-manage heads are Cider is fermented apple juice. Perry is fermented pear juice. faults. There are two categories for cider/perry: Standard (Category 27) and Specialty (Category 28).
Mouthfeel The Standard category covers ciders and perries made primarily
or entirely from the juice of apples or pears (but not both at once). The In general, cider and perry have a mouthfeel and fullness akin to only adjunct permitted in the Standard category, and only in some sub-a substantial white wine. The body is less than that of beers. Full-categories, is a limited addition of sugar to achieve a suitable starting sparkling ciders will be champagne-like.
gravity. Note that honey is not a "sugar" for this purpose; a cider made
with added honey must be entered either as a Specialty cider or as a Ingredients Cyser under the appropriate mead sub-category. Other sugar sources The apple and pear varieties are intended to illustrate commonly that also add significant flavors (brown sugar, molasses) would also used examples, not dictate requirements when making the style. In create a Specialty cider (such as New England style). general, adjuncts are prohibited except where specifically allowed in particular styles, and then the entrant must state them. Common Aroma and Flavor processing aids, and enzymes, are generally allowed as long as they
Ciders and perries do not necessarily present overtly fruity are not detectable in the finished cider. Yeast used for cider/perry may aromas or flavors — in the same sense that a wine does not taste be either "natural" (the yeast which occurs on the fruit itself and/or is overtly of grapes. Drier styles of cider in particular develop more retained in the milling and pressing equipment) or cultured yeast. Malo-complex but less fruity characters. In fact, a simple "apple soda" or lactic fermentation is allowed, either naturally occurring or with an "wine cooler" character is not desirable in a cider or perry. added ML culture. Enzymes may be used for clarification of the juice
Some styles of cider exhibit distinctly NON-fruity tastes or aromas, prior to fermentation. Malic acid may be added to a low-acid juice to such as the "smoky bacon" undertones of a dry English cider. bring acidity up to a level considered safe for avoiding bacterial
The sweetness (residual sugar, or RS) of a cider or perry may contamination and off-flavors (typically pH 3.8 or below). Entrant MUST vary from absolutely dry (no RS) to as much as a sweet dessert wine state if malic acid was added. Sulfites may be added as needed for
microbiological control. If used, the maximum accepted safe level for 27C. French Cider sulfites (200 mg/l) should be strictly observed; moreover, any excess This includes Normandy styles plus ciders inspired by those sulfite that is detectable in the finished cider (a "burning match" styles, including ciders made by various techniques to achieve the character) is a serious fault. French flavor profile. These ciders are made with bittersweet and bitter- Sorbate may be added at bottling to stabilize the cider. However, sharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. any residual aroma/flavor from misuse or excessive use of sorbate (e.g., Traditional French procedures use small amounts of salt and a "geranium" note) is a distinct fault. calcium compounds (calcium chloride, calcium carbonate) to aid the Carbonation may be either natural (by maintaining CO2 pressure process of pectin coagulation. These compounds may be used, pre-through processing or by bottle-conditioning) or added (by CO2 fermentation, but in limited quantity. It is a fault if judges can detect a injection). salty or chalky taste. Aroma/Flavor: Fruity character/aroma. This may come from slow 27A. Common Cider or arrested fermentation (in the French technique of défécation) or
A common cider is made from culinary/table apples, with wild or approximated by back sweetening with juice. Tends to a rich fullness. crab apples often used for acidity/tannin balance. Appearance: Clear to brilliant, medium to deep gold color.
Aroma/Flavor: Sweet or low-alcohol ciders may have apple Mouthfeel: Medium to full, mouth filling. Moderate tannin aroma and flavor. Dry ciders will be more wine-like with some esters. apparent mainly as astringency. Carbonation moderate to champagne-Sugar and acidity should combine to give a refreshing character, like, but at higher levels it must not gush or foam. neither cloying nor too austere. Medium to high acidity. Overall Impression: Medium to sweet, full-bodied, rich.
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color. Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (petillant or
Mouthfeel: Medium body. Some tannin should be present for full). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (medium, sweet). Entrants MAY slight to moderate astringency, but little bitterness. specify variety of apple for a single varietal cider; if specified, varietal
Overall Impression: Variable, but should be a medium, character will be expected.
refreshing drink. Sweet ciders must not be cloying. Dry ciders must not Varieties: Nehou, Muscadet de Dieppe, Reine des Pommes, be too austere. An ideal cider serves well as a ―session‖ drink, and Michelin, etc.
suitably accompanies a wide variety of food. Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.065, FG: 1.010 – 1.020, ABV: 3 –
Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, 6%.
petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry, medium, Commercial Examples: Etienne Dupont Cidre Normand 2007.
Varieties: Common (Winesap, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, 27D. Common Perry Braeburn, Jonathan), multi-use (Northern Spy, Russets, Baldwin), Common perry is made from culinary/table fruit. crabapples, any suitable wildings. Aroma/Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. Vital Statistics: OG: 1.045 – 1.065, FG: 1.000 – 1.020, ABV: 5 – It tends toward that of a young white wine. No bitterness. 8%. Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale. Commercial Examples: Bellwether Spyglass. Mouthfeel: Relatively full, low to moderate tannin apparent as astringency.
27B. English Cider Overall Impression: Mild. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to
This includes the English ―West Country‖ plus ciders inspired by lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness, that style. These ciders are made with bittersweet and bitter-sharp ropy/oily characters are serious faults.
apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still,
Aroma/Flavor: No overt apple character, but various flavors and petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (medium or esters that suggest apples. May have ―smoky (bacon)‖ character from a sweet).
combination of apple varieties and MLF. Some ―Farmyard nose‖ may Varieties: Bartlett, Kiefer, Comice, etc.
be present but must not dominate; mousiness is a serious fault. The Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.060, FG: 1.000 – 1.020, ABV: 5 –
common slight farmyard nose of an English West Country cider is the 7%.
result of lactic acid bacteria, not a Brettanomyces contamination. Commercial Examples: Spire Organic Pear (unofficial).
Appearance: Slightly cloudy to brilliant. Medium to deep gold
color. 27E. Traditional Perry Mouthfeel: Full. Moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency Traditional perry is made from pears grown specifically for that and some bitterness. Carbonation still to moderate, never high or purpose rather than for eating or cooking. Many ―perry pears‖ are nearly gushing. inedible. Overall Impression: Generally dry, full-bodied, austere. Aroma/Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still or It tends toward that of a young white wine. Some slight bitterness. petillant). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry to medium). Entrants Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale. MAY specify variety of apple for a single varietal cider; if specified, Mouthfeel: Relatively full, moderate to high tannin apparent as varietal character will be expected. astringency. Varieties: Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Dabinett, Foxwhelp, Overall Impression: Tannic. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to Yarlington Mill, various Jerseys, etc. lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness, Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.075, FG: 0.995 – 1.010, ABV: 6 – ropy/oily characters are serious faults. 9%. Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, Commercial Examples: Farnum Hill Extra-Dry (NH), Wandering petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (medium or Aengus Wickson Single Varietal Cider (unofficial), Belwether Heritage. sweet). Variety of pear(s) used must be stated. Varieties: Butt, Gin, Huffcap, Blakeney Red, etc.
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.070, FG: 1.000 – 1.020, ABV: 5 – Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium-gold. Cloudiness 9%. or hazes are inappropriate. Dark colors are not expected unless
Commercial Examples: Oliver’s Blakeney Red Perry (UK), strongly tannic varieties of fruit were used.
Oliver’s Herefordshire Dry Perry (UK). 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. 28A. New England Cider Overall Impression: Like a dry white wine, balanced, and with This is a cider made with characteristic New England apples for low astringency and bitterness. relatively high acidity, with adjuncts to raise alcohol levels. Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, Aroma/Flavor: A dry flavorful cider with robust apple character, petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry or strong alcohol, and derivative flavors from sugar adjuncts. medium). Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium yellow. Vital Statistics: OG: 1.070 – 1.100, FG: 0.995 – 1.010, ABV: 9 – Mouthfeel: Substantial, alcoholic. Moderate tannin. 12%. Overall Impression: Substantial body and character. Commercial Examples: None, although the Lolo Romy sort of Comments: Adjuncts may include white and brown sugars, counts. molasses, small amounts of honey, and raisins. Adjuncts are intended to raise OG well above that which would be achieved by apples alone.
28D. Other Specialty Cider/Perry 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 This is an open-ended category for cider or perry with other age spirits, some flavor notes from the spirit (e.g., whisky or rum) may adjuncts such that it does not fit any of the categories above. This also be present, but must be subtle. Entrants MUST specify if the cider includes the use of spices and/or other sweeteners. A cider with added was barrel-fermented or aged. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level honey may be entered here if the cider character remains dominant. (still, petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry, Otherwise it should be entered as mead in the cyser sub-category. medium, or sweet). Aroma/Flavor: The cider character must always be present, and
Varieties: Northern Spy, Roxbury Russet, Golden Russet. must fit with adjuncts.
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.060 – 1.100, FG: 0.995 – 1.010, ABV: 7 – Appearance: Clear to brilliant. Color should be that of a common 13%. cider unless adjuncts are expected to contribute color.
Commercial Examples: Crispin Irish Stout Yeast and Molasses Mouthfeel: Average body, may show tannic (astringent) or heavy (unofficial), Spire Brown Sugar and Molasses (unofficial, and a bit low in body as determined by adjuncts.
alcohol for the style). Comments: Entrants MUST specify all major ingredients and
adjuncts. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, petillant, or
sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry or medium). 28B. Fruit Cider Vital Statistics: OG: 1.045 – 1.100, FG: 0.995 – 1.020, ABV: 5 – This is a cider with other fruits or fruit-juices added - for example, 12%. berry. Note that a ―cider‖ made from a combination of apple and pear Commercial Examples: Wandering Aengus Dry Oaked Cider, juice would be entered in this category since it is neither cider nor perry. Crispin Trappist Yeast and Maple Syrup (unofficial), Isastegi (Spanish Aroma/Flavor: The cider character must be present and must fit Asturian cider - unofficial). with the other fruits. It is a fault if the adjuncts 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. Other Cider Varieties Appearance: Clear to brilliant. Color appropriate to added fruit, In addition to the cider and perry varieties listed in the BJCP but should not show oxidation characteristics. (For example, berries Guidelines, several other varieties of cider exist. If you brew these, they should give red-to-purple color, not orange.) should probably be entered in Category 28D in competition. Mouthfeel: Substantial. May be significantly tannic depending on Apfelwein: A German cider associated with Hesse and the Saar fruit added. Valley. It is a tart, sour beverage of 5.5-7% ABV. It is also called Overall Impression: Like a dry wine with complex flavors. The Apfelmost, Viez or Saurer Most. apple character must marry with the added fruit so that neither Applejack: Applejack is distilled American apple brandy, dominates the other. traditionally associated with New Jersey (which was renowned for its Comments: Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (still, ththapples in the 18 and 19 centuries). Modern applejack is made in petillant, or sparkling). Entrants MUST specify sweetness (dry or much the same fashion as Calvados, except that it isn’t aged as long medium). Entrants MUST specify what fruit(s) and/or fruit juice(s) were and the apple brandy might be diluted with grain neutral spirits as well added. as water at packaging. Modern applejack is rougher and has less apple Vital Statistics: OG: 1.045 – 1.070, FG: 0.995 – 1.010, ABV: 5 – aroma and flavor than Calvados. 9%. Traditional applejack is an American specialty made by freeze- Commercial Examples: Belwether Cherry Street, Belwether distilling New England or Common Cider. Cider was left in an unheated Black Magic (unofficial) Lolo Romy (unofficial and a bit strong at 12%). building over the winter. The cycle of warming and cooling over the course of a winter day, allowing the alcohol to liquefy and run out of the 28C. Applewine water ice. By removing the water ice, the ciderer could gradually
The term for this category is traditional but possibly misleading: it increase the strength of the remaining liquor. Applejack was traditionally is simply a cider with substantial added sugar to achieve higher alcohol 30-40% ABV, but it had a ferocious reputation because it was capable than a common cider. of causing appalling hangovers or even death in those who drank too
Aroma/Flavor: Comparable to a Common Cider. Cider character much of it. This is because freeze-distilling concentrates fusel alcohols, must be distinctive. Very dry to slightly medium. aldehydes and other toxic compounds which are normally driven off
during heat distilling.