CIDER CATEGORIES

The PNWCA is an event intended to showcase the wide range of incredible cider the Pacific Northwest has to offer. With modern cider becoming more commonplace, there are “new styles” that do not fit under a traditional BJCP category. To ensure inclusion of all ciders, the PNWCA planning committee has established the categories below for the purpose of these awards. However, please note that any new category is based closely on established guidelines. Additionally, there have been changes to the categories for 2016, so please review carefully.

All entries will be judged on the following characteristics: aroma, flavor, appearance, mouthfeel and overall impression in accordance to the style they are entered. For ciders that qualify for multiple categories, it will be up to the discretion of the entrant to select the category he/she thinks is the best fit.

Any cider entered in categories H-O must declare the base style of cider and must follow guidelines in both categories. Additionally, a minimum of five entries is required in a category for that category to be eligible to be judged independently. PNWCA reserves the right to merge categories into hybrid categories at their discretion to ensure that awards are provided in meaningful categories with enough entries to provide healthy competition.

A – MODERN DRY
Made from a blend of culinary apples and may include (though not required) up to 10% wild or crab apples to balance acidity/tannins.  This is a low/no maturation cider.
ABV: Will vary.
FG: <1.007
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, moderate astringency and bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: Wine like with some esters, refreshing with medium to high acidity.

B – MODERN SWEET
Made from a blend of culinary apples and may include (though not required) up to 10% wild or crab apples to balance acidity/tannins.  This is a low/no maturation cider.
ABV: Will vary.
FG: >1.007
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, moderate astringency and bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: Apple aroma and flavor but not too austere or cloying. Refreshing with medium to high acidity.

C – TRADITIONAL DRY
Made from a majority blend of common apples (sweet, bittersweet, sharp, bittersharp, and/or heirloom) and may include, though not required, up to 10% wild or crab apples to balance acidity/tannins and has been matured for a minimum of 30 days.
ABV: Will vary.
FG: <1.007
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, moderate astringency and bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: Wine like with some esters, refreshing with medium to high acidity.

D – TRADITIONAL SWEET
Made from a majority blend of common apples (sweet, bittersweet, sharp, bittersharp, heirloom) and may include wild or crab apples to balance acidity/tannins and has been matured for a minimum of 30 days.
ABV: Will vary.
FG: >1.007
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, mild astringency and bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: Apple aroma and flavor but not too austere or cloying. Refreshing with medium to high acidity.

E – MODERN PERRY
Made from a blend of dessert or heirloom pears and may include (though not required) up to 10% Perry pears to balance acidity/tannins.
ABV: Will vary.
FG:  Varies
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, moderate astringency and bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: Pear aroma and flavor but not too austere or cloying. Refreshing with medium to high acidity.

F – TRADITIONAL PERRY
Made from a majority blend of Perry pears and has been matured for a minimum of 30 days
ABV: Will vary.
FG:  Varies
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, moderate astringency and bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: Pear aroma and flavor but not too austere or cloying. Refreshing with medium to high acidity.

G – OLD WORLD
Made with bittersweet or bitter-sharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making.
ABV: Will vary.
FG: 0.995-1.010
Appearance: Slightly cloudy to brilliant, medium to deep gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Full, moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency and some bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: No overt apple character, but various flavors and esters that suggest apples.  May have a “smoky” character or a “Farmyard nose.”

H – GINGER CIDER
This is a cider made with ginger or ginger juice.
ABV: Will vary depending on base cider used.
FG: Will vary depending on base cider used.
Appearance: Slightly cloudy to brilliant, Straw to gold to amber in color.
Mouthfeel: Average body.
Aroma/Flavor: Apple aroma and flavor but not too austere or cloying. Refreshing with medium to high acidity.

I – WOOD AGED CIDER
A cider that uses the traditional production method of aging in an oak cask or barrels, although other woods can be used.
ABV: Will vary depending on base cider used.
FG: Will vary depending on base cider used.
Appearance: Varies with base style, often darker than unadulterated base cider, particularly if toasted/charred oak and/or whiskey/bourbon barrels are used.
Mouthfeel: Varies with base style.  Often fuller and may exhibit additional alcohol warming if wood has been in contact with other alcoholic products.
Aroma/Flavor: Varies with base style. Wood usually contributes a woody or oaky flavor, which can occasionally take on a raw “green” flavor if new wood is used. Other flavors that may optionally be present include vanilla (from vanillin in the wood); caramel, butterscotch, toasted bread or almonds (from toasted wood); coffee, chocolate, cocoa (from charred wood or bourbon casks); and alcohol flavors from other products previously stored in the wood (if any). The wood and/or other cask-derived flavors should be balanced, supportive and noticeable, but should not overpower the base cider style. Occasionally there may be an optional lactic or acetic tartness or Brett funkiness in the cider, but this should not be higher than a background flavor (if present at all).

J – FRUIT
This is a cider made with other fruits or fruit juices.
ABV: Will vary depending on style of base cider.
FG: Will vary depending on style of base cider.
Appearance: Should be appropriate to base cider.  However, FHS additions may add to some haze to base cider.
Mouthfeel: May vary depending on base cider selected and as appropriate to that base cider.  Some FHS may add additional body and/or slickness, although fermentable additions may thin out the cider.  Some FHS may add a bit of astringency.
Aroma/Flavor: The character of the particular FHS added should be noticeable in the aroma and flavor. May range from subtle to aggressive. Balance between FSH and base cider is vital, and should not be artificial or overpowering so as to overwhelm the cider.

K – SPICE/HERB
This is a cider made with herbs or spices (FHS) added.
ABV: Will vary depending on style of base cider.
FG: Will vary depending on style of base cider.
Appearance: Should be appropriate to base cider.  However, FHS additions may add to some haze to base cider.
Mouthfeel: May vary depending on base cider selected and as appropriate to that base cider.  Some FHS may add additional body and/or slickness, although fermentable additions may thin out the cider.  Some FHS may add a bit of astringency.
Aroma/Flavor: The character of the particular FHS added should be noticeable in the aroma and flavor. May range from subtle to aggressive. Balance between FSH and base cider is vital, and should not be artificial or overpowering so as to overwhelm the cider.

L – HOPPED
This is a cider that has hops added, either pre or post fermentation.
ABV: Will vary depending on style of base cider.
FG: Will vary depending on style of base cider.
Appearance: Should be appropriate to base cider.  However, hop additions may add to some haze to base cider.
Mouthfeel: May vary depending on base cider selected and should be appropriate to that base cider.
Aroma/Flavor: The character of the particular hop(s) added should be noticeable in the aroma and flavor. May range from subtle to aggressive.

M – WILD FERMENT
Made with a blend of culinary apples or traditional bittersweet or bitter-sharp apples. May include wild or crab apples to balance acidity/tannins using non-saccharomyces yeast.
ABV: Will vary depending on base cider used.
OG/FG: Will vary depending on base cider used.
Appearance: Slightly cloudy to brilliant, medium to deep gold in color.
Mouthfeel: Average body, moderate to high tannins apparent as astringency and some bitterness.
Aroma/Flavor: May not have an overt apple flavor but would have a distinct “Farmhouse nose” or “scrumpy” characteristics.

N – SINGLE VARIETAL
This is a cider made with a single varietal apple.
ABV: Will vary depending on apple used.
FG: Will vary depending on apple used.
Appearance: Should be appropriate to apple used.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light body, moderate astringency and bitterness
Aroma/Flavor: Will vary depending upon apple used

O – SPECIALTY
This is a catchall category for any cider that does not fit into an existing style or category.
ABV: Varies depending on style of cider.
FG: Varies depending on style of cider
Appearance: Should be appropriate to base cider. Unusual ingredients or process can affect appearance to be greatly different than declared style.
Mouthfeel: May vary depending on the base cider selected and as appropriate to that base cider. Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base cider style being presented. Unusual ingredients or processes may affect the mouthfeel so that the result is quite different from the declared base style.
Aroma/Flavor: The character of the stated specialty ingredient or nature should be evident in the aroma. The marriage of specialty ingredients or nature with the underlying cider should be harmonious, and the specialty character should not seem artificial and/or totally overpowering.

Download the Entire Cider Categories  (pdf). Questions regarding style or submissions? Contact us.