Class 3: Traditional French Cider
- This includes styles from Normandy and Brittany and other ciders inspired by those styles, including ciders made by various techniques to achieve the French flavor profile.
- These ciders are made with bittersweet and bittersharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. ABV: 2-5%.
Fruity character/aroma. This may come from slow or arrested fermentation (in the French technique of défécation) or approximated by back-sweetening with juice. Tends to a rich fullness. MLF notes of spicy-smoky, phenolic, and farmyard are common but not required and must not be pronounced. The French expect more subtle MLF character than do the English.
Clear to brilliant, medium yellow to amber color.
Typically made sweet to balance the tannin levels from the traditional apple varieties.
Medium to sweet, full-bodied, rich. Medium to full mouth-filling. Moderate tannin, perceived mainly as astringency. Carbonation moderate to champagne-like, but at higher levels it must not gush or foam.
Class 4: Traditional English Cider
- This includes the English “West Country” ciders and other ciders inspired by that style.
- These ciders are made with bittersweet and bittersharp 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. ABV: 5-8%.
No overt apple character, but various flavors and esters that suggest apples, particularly tannic varieties. English-style ciders commonly go through malolactic fermentation (MLF) 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.
Barely cloudy to brilliant. Medium yellow to amber color.
Full. Moderate to high tannin, perceived as astringency and some bitterness. Carbonation still to moderate. Bottle-fermented or bottle-conditioned ciders may have high carbonation, up to champagne levels, but not gushing or foaming.
Class 5: Modern Ciders
- Are made primarily from culinary/table apples.
- Compared to other standard styles, these ciders are generally lower in tannin and bit higher in acidity. ABV: 5 – 8%.
Sweet or low-alcohol ciders may have apple aroma and flavor. Dry ciders will be more wine-like with some esters. Sugar and acidity should combine to give a refreshing character. Acidity is medium to high, refreshing, but must not be harsh or biting. A refreshing drink. Sweet ciders must not be cloying. Dry ciders must not be too austere.
An ideal cider serves well as a “session” drink, and suitably accompanies a wide variety of food.
Brilliant, pale to yellow in color.
Class 6: “Premium” Carbonated Ciders
- Made according to the traditional method, consisting of a second fermentation in the bottle or tank (Charmant).
- This ciders are made technical and conceptually close to Champagne, Sekt or Cava in terms of wines.
- ABV: Usually higher tan traditional cider 6%- 9%.
Clean aromas, frank, with predominance of apple. Flavour and aroma vary, but are derived of the apple varieties used. Phenolic, farmyard, acetone or sulphuric aromas are unacceptable in this style. It must be a good balance of acidity and low astringency.
Straw yellow to golden yellow colours. Clean and bright.
Fresh and light-medium body with pleasant acidity.
Class 7: Apfelwein
- German Word for Cider. Mainly made from acid, semi-acid varieties.
- Some of them really old varieties indicated exclusively for cider making. Unlike ciders made in Spain may not contect high VA (Volatil Acidity). ABV: 5% – 6%.
Aromas close to dry white wines. Green and crisp apples. Usually moderate citric acidity and low or non sweetness. Green apples with dry aftertaste.
Clear pale Straw. Can be clean and bright, also cloudy ciders are commun.
Fresh apple taste, crisp dry finish. No bitterness at all. Usually defined as a hybrid between a wine and a cider. Some with low carbonation.
Single-variety Apfelwein can be found, such as those made of “Boskoop”.
Class 8: Flavoured Cider and Perry
- Are ciders with other fruits, fruit juices, hops or spices added. Also Perry must be included in this Style.
The cider character must be present and must fit with the other fruits, hops or spices. Perry relatively full, low to moderate tannin apparent as astringency. In case of Perry must be a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. No bitterness. Generally quite pale.
Clear to brilliant. Color appropriate to added fruit, but should not show oxidation characteristics. Perry slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.
Substantial.Depending on fruit, hops or spices added. Perry relatively full, moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency.
Class 9: Ice Ciders
- Juice is concentrated before fermentation, either by freezing the fruit before pressing it, or by freezing the juice and then removing water as it thaws.
- The fermentation stops or is arrested before the cider reaches dryness.
- No additives are permitted in this style; in particular, sweeteners may not be used to increase gravity. ABV: 7 – 13%.
Fruity, smooth, sweet-tart. Acidity must be enough to prevent it being cloying.
Full body. May be tannic (astringent and/or bitter) but this should be slight, to moderate at most.
Entrants MUST specify starting gravity, final gravity or residual sugar, and alcohol level. Entrants MUST specify carbonation level (3 levels).