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Cider Digest #1103

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Cider Digest
 · 9 Apr 2024

Subject: Cider Digest #1103, 29 December 2003

Cider Digest #1103 29 December 2003

Forum for Discussion of Cider Issues
Dick Dunn, Digest Janitor

Micro-brew draft cider advice? (Tracy Camp)
Re: Cider Digest #1102, BJCP bashing (Terence Bradshaw)
BJCP judging ("McGonegal, Charles")
Re: Cider Digest #1102, 28 December 2003 ("Rosalind Rogoff")
Cider Classification and BJCP (Robert Sandefer)
Re: Cider Digest #1102, BJCP Bashing ("Gary Awdey")
Re: BJCP and Cider recommendations (
RE: Cider Digest #1101, 26 December 2003 ("Schuler, Joseph (EAS)")
Re: Cider Digest #1101, 26 December 2003 (" Mark Johnson")
cider styles and NY Times tasting ("John Howard")

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Subject: Micro-brew draft cider advice?
From: Tracy Camp <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 12:44:54 -0800 (PST)

I've been a cider drinker for a number of years, and cider brewer for a
relatively short period of time. My first ciders where from a trip to
London as a student in college, and where for the most part english
macro-brewed cider. I've since come to appreciate the art and dedication
of makers of ciders often marketed in wine-bottles, but do miss just being
able to order a pint at whatever pub I may be dining at.

I'm currently living in Portland OR, have a educational background in
biochemistry and more recently business management. I've been fortunate
living in the nortwest to be a part of and benifitiary of the northwest
micro-brew culture. I've got it in my head that I need to start a
micro-brewery dedicated to draft cider.

I'd be interested in any advice, either about draft ciders (while working
in the business limitations of draft cider, I'd like to produce something
of a high quality and drinkability - NOT a too-sweet teen-ager drink as
most north american draft cider ends up being), or about the micro-brew
business (I'm in no position to open a pub, think keg sales to pubs,
caterers and the like around the Portland area).

Horror stories welcome, but if your going to call me a fool, please
explain why ;)

Also a big thanks to Andrew Lea for making available so much of his work
on the microbiology and chemistry end of cider.


Tracy Camp
Portland, OR


Subject: Re: Cider Digest #1102, BJCP bashing
From: Terence Bradshaw <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 15:46:46 -0500

I'll be leaving for a quick vacation in a few hours, but I feel I should
clarify my last posting to the digest on this topic, as it appears that the
issue of BJCP cider standards is a testy one. I will admit that I was one
of those with a 'snippy' tone, but I stand firm in feeling that the BJCP
styles do not accurately reflect the styles of cider really out there. The
original poster asked for commercially available examples of the BJCP
styles. My suggestion is that two of the styles do not reflect artisan
ciders but rather draft/fruit/six-pack styles, and that the third style,
New England, has no real commercial equivalent. I then offered commercial
examples of what I feel to be good artisan ciders available in the northeast.

Maybe we cidermakers do need to come up with our own guidelines for
judging/comparing ciders, but as we saw in the 'real cider' discussion here
a few months back that is both difficult to do and, from a competition
standpoint, not really supported by the group. Maybe we should all give the
BJCP folks their due for keeping cider alive as a category in their comps,
and therefore in the minds of the brewing public. And at the same time
those who wish to see the competition angle develop further can help either
the BJCP or another separate group to develop a style guide which reflects
the diversity of ciders out there.

I guess I'll close by supporting my previous statement ("these beer guys
wouldn't know an authentic cider if it kicked
them in the backside") with an observation that the best ciders are not
made by beer brewers, and vice versa. If you look at the brewing
publication's cider recipes (Gambrinus Mug, various brewer mags, even
Correnty's book) you'll find that the processes often include whatever
orchard-run juice is available, including a preponderance of culinary
varieties; fermentation with beer and/or wine yeast; chaptalization as an
assumed given; and often the suggestion to throw in a can of apple juice
concentrate. While these may or may not be steps that we in this group
would take in making our ciders, I feel that we place a lot of emphasis on
other factors as well including variety selection including non-culinary
fruit; keeving/maceration/racking management; ageing and oaking; and
cultural practices in the orchard itself such as nutrient management. The
resulting styles which we aim to emulate tend to be much broader than those
suggested by the BJCP. I might suggest the following categories:
Draft (sweet and dry)
West Country
Sweet French
New England
North American (culinary fruit, with amendments)
Perry (do we include sub-groups?)
I guess that covers it for my clarifications and suggestions. I'm looking
forward to some lively discussion in my inbox when I get home!

Terry B

>Subject: Re: BJCP and cider judging
>From: "Bill Slack" <>
>Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 16:38:34 -0500
>......First of all, the BJCP assuredly does
>not, nor did it ever, think cider or mead were varieties of beer. Our
>motivation to include them was to provide a disciplined and consistent way
>to evaluate these homemade products. No one else was doing it and we
>stepped into the gap......We certainly know that there are more than
>three categories of cider...etc

>Subject: RE: BJCP bashing
>From: "Brian Lundeen" <>
>Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2003 16:40:52 -0600
>.....The BJCP is not so ignorant as to consider
>cider or mead as types of beers. They are simply offering categories for
>ciders and meads to be judged as part of BJCP sanctioned events......
> > The other thing that bothers me about this is the risk that a
> > relatively active beer group will fill a niche and slow the
> > development of an
> > independent organization for promotion of cider.
>Well guess what, the only thing slowing you and mead lovers down is a
>complete lack of action on your parts to develop something comparable. Don't
>like ciders being judged by people who have only tasted a handful of
>examples? Then create a CJCP (and MJCP) and start holding events that are up
>to your standards. Look, we brewers know that we are not mead and cider
>experts. Dick has told us so. ;-) But until such time as you want to take
>the initiative and create organizations that better meet your needs, why not
>try thanking the BJCP for at least offering a place for cider and mead
>makers to compete, however flawed they might be...

Terence Bradshaw
1189 Wheeler Road
Calais, VT 05648

The views represented by me are mine and mine only................


Subject: BJCP judging
From: "McGonegal, Charles" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 21:58:54 -0600

Note: the following post has been 'typing enhanced' by my three-week old
boy. Newborns - the sleep depriver of choice world wide!

I also have my doubts about malto-philes critiquing cider (or mead), but the
very good point has been made that 'who else is going to do it?'

I admit I have never entered my cider in BJCP competitions. It never
occurred to me that there would be adequate expertise or interest in cider
at such events. I have always gone the wine competition route. Partly
beacuse most small wineries play with 'aaple wines' (and enter them in
contests) and partly from my own inclinations about the nature of cider.

I still have my doubts about the expertise present in the BJCP program with
regards to cider. Not with regards to over critical tasting ability, but
with experience in range of ciders, and appropriate expectations about
cider. And part of the problem is cider itself - it's essentially
impossible in most places to acquire a wide range of craft ciders - let
alone enough to start divying them up into categories.

(Aside: Does anyone else see some irony in the fact that the only real
character-based BJCP cider category (New English) is one that many
pomo-philes on this Digest would reject as being 'real cider' due to its
high level of adjuncts? I'm developing a personal belief that legitimate,
credible cider categories will probably end up 1) named by geography of
historic origin [eg: West County/Shire, New England, St. Lawerence,
Virginia, Jersey, New Jersey, ...] and 2) be defined mostly by cultivars of
apples, rather than production technique.)

Something else to consider in the 'beer judging vs. wine judging' vein:
Cider sensory characters have a different profile and balance than in grape
wine - but a wine person should be about to wax eloquently about cider with
their wine vocabulary. But given rampant grape snobbery, wine folks rarely
expect excellence or subtlety from cider - nor know just what to expect.
(Pity them - they concentrate on a handful of grape varietals. The lucky
cidermakers among us expect to build blends of upwards of a dozen varieties
at once, selected from among hundreds). On the other hand, most basic cider
characters are considered to be _defects_ in beers. I think that would
throw a monkey wrench into the aims of the most well meaning beer critic.


The thing craft beer associations bring is _interest_. There is a
tremendous curiosity in the craft beer world about so called 'alternative
fermentations'. And they mean sake, mead and cider. Wine hardly raises an
eyebrow. Beer associations judge cider because their membership is
interested in it. Hallejulah!! People interested in making and tasting
cider! That means people interested in _buying_ cider. And people
interested in sharing cider with friends who haven't yet been interoduced to
it. People who recognize the value in craft-type products and are longing
for diversity on store shelves. We need LOTS of folks like that to create a
market big enough to support all the regional, individualistic, eccentric,
wonderful cideries we all would like to see someday.

In a recent presentaion to the Great Lakes Fruit Expo (during the well
attended 'hard' cider session), Rex Halfpenny (also of the BJCP, among many
hats) noted several reasons why cidermakers should look to the craft beer
movement for inspiration and lessons. While I can't speak for him (nor even
agree with everything said) he had some valuable points to make. 1) Craft
beer fans have already broken the mold of conformity by wanting something
other than 'Bud'. They are a sizable, valuable and receptive audience to
pitch cider to. 2) Craft beer makers, as a group, have only (relatively)
recently banded together and formed organizations for mutual marketing,
promotion and lobbying. So the memory of how to do it is still fresh.
Wineries and their organizations suffer from fatal grape snobbery (this was
refuted from the audience - but is essentially true), and despite their
experience, are going sit on the sidelines and watch to see if any cider
market emerges. They will then copy the most successful parties.
Followers, not leaders.

Craft beer fans and their organizations should be allies in the struggle to
create a viable cider market. They should be allies - friends with a
common, broadly defined goal of increasing beverage diversity, excellence
and uniquiness of individual producers. For now, they are the 'de facto'
organization of choice for most people interested in non-grape
fermentations. They are many, we are few. Consider that the CD cirulation
is on the order of a few hundreds - and few even of us have enough
experience in cider to call 'expertise' (And I not among them, except in my
niche). Even the Mead Digest is nearly an order of magnitude larger - and
there isn't even a Woodchuck-analog in the mead world! Think of how many
craft brewers there are. We can lament the failings of their well-intended
efforts - but will have to suffer with those efforts until someone can come
along with the time, energy and charisma to forge a union of cidermakers and
create a lasting organization to take over on the cider front.


Subject: Re: Cider Digest #1102, 28 December 2003
From: "Rosalind Rogoff" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2003 20:33:35 -0800


I have not submitted anything to the list before, but now I have a
couple of questions. I'm not a cider maker, but a cider drinker. I
would like some recommendations for where to find good cider in Northern
California. The stuff in the Supermarkets is very disappointing.

Also I just purchased a 30 bottle wine cellar. I put a couple of
bottles of French Cidre and Poire on the top shelf, which is where red
wine is supposed to go. That will keep the wine (or cider and perry) at
50-55 degrees. The lower shelves are for white wine and are 45-50
degrees. What is the correct temperature for storing and serving cider?

Roz Rogoff
San Ramon, CA


Subject: Cider Classification and BJCP
From: Robert Sandefer <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 00:16:17 -0500

The recent thread on the BJCP and its cider guidelines have brought up my
favorite topic--cider classification.

Benjamin Watson comments that grouping ciders regardless of style in a
tasting/competition is questionable. Terence Bradshaw claims that most
BJCP judges haven't had "real cider."

These points show IMO why it is VITAL and NECESSARY for this forum (or
some group at least) to decide what cider is and what cider styles exist.
As people who care about cider and have (some hopefully) knowledge about
it, we are positioned to answer these questions and develop a rigorous and
complete (or nearly so) classification of cider and cider styles. This
classification can then be used to educate consumers, producers,
competitions, etc., about the variety, quality, and desirability of cider
and cider styles/types.

If we as cider-makers and -lovers do not rise to this task, then who will?
The BJCP and AHA have developed guidelines, and who's to say they

The AHA and BJCP classification/guidelines for beer seem to include
procedural differences (ale vs lager vs mixed), regional differences
(England, Scotland, Germany, etc), color, alcoholic strength, and
ingridients (barley, wheat, fruit, etc).

While I do not think this classification style is perfect, it does provide
a certain base upon which beer can be made, defined, and evaluated. It
also helps educate people. Porter and stout are too different styles. Why?
To answer that question, a reader studies the historical and social events
that impact and accompany the development of these styles.

Bill Slack writes that the BJCP guidelines were not intended to deny the
existence of "worthy
categories of cider and perry...."

Unfortunately, IMO, that is exactly what simple guidelines do. Suppose
someone (say an amateur homebrewer) is reading around and comes across a
list of beer, cider, and mead styles. There are dozens for beer but only 4
for cider. Why should this fictional homebrewer think there are other
cider styles? Eventually, he/she may come across this Digest or other
information sources but that is a hit-or-miss proposition. If however
he/she knows (from a common set of guidelines) that there are three
regional cider styles from Antarctica, then our reader can go looking for
that information, instead of wandering into it. (Ideally, the guidelines
will help answer questions relating to recipe formulation.)

I agree with Brian Lundeen that bashing the BJCP won't help anyone or
anything. But, I do believe that by showing the variety, complexity, and
quality of cider, we can educate the public and help cider to stand openly
and profitably with beer and wine.

To stimulate further conversation, I ask the following questions:
1. What is the single most important variable for cider styles? Regional
affiliation? Color? Apple variety? In other words, what is most
responsible for differentiating ciders from each other?
2. What variables are also important for defining cider styles?
Possibilities include: sweetness, acidity, tannin content, alcohol
concentration, country/county of origin, apple varieties used, carbonation
(no, some, a lot), color, and flavorings (fruit, spices, herbs, honey,
etc). Ideas welcome.
3. What styles/differences are historically recognized?
4. What are the effects of various procedures (malolactic fermentation,
juice concentration via freezing, fortification, adjunct use) and do these
effects/differences, if any, distinguish one style from another. Or, do
they differentiate ciders within a given style?

Awaiting responses, rebuttals, etc.
Robert Sandefer


Subject: Re: Cider Digest #1102, BJCP Bashing
From: "Gary Awdey" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 10:54:38 -0500

Brian Lundeen wrote:
>The BJCP is not so ignorant as to consider
>cider or mead as types of beers. They are simply offering categories for
>ciders and meads to be judged as part of BJCP sanctioned events.

I didn't mean to imply BJCP ignorance and apologize if it seemed so. On the
contrary, I believe an influential part of BJCP is not only informed about
cider but well informed (and Bill Slack's response only reinforces this
belief). This makes the current labeling all the more troubling. It
would be a simple matter for BJCP to acknowled in a few words near it's
category headings that while cider and mead are not beers they are listed
because there
is interest in these worthwhile craft cousins and currently not as many
venues for tasting as there is interest in these beverages (or something
along those lines). Rather than voice this suggestion directly to BJCP I
wanted to
sound out the Digest first and see if others felt the same way. Bill's
response gives the
impression that BJCP's style committee would give serious consideration to
any reasonable suggestion.

I'm an outsider to BJCP. I enjoy craft beers but my passion is focused
around cider. From where I stand it looks like BJCP is an evolving entity
that has expanded it's original scope. If "Beer" in this (or a similar
existing organization's) name was changed to the more inclusive "Craft
Beverage" and "judging" was changed to "appreciation" then I wouldn't
hesitate a moment to apply for membership and take an active role from
within. Perhaps some other cider folks might feel the same.

>> The other thing that bothers me about this is the risk that a
>> relatively active beer group will fill a niche and slow the
>> development of an
>> independent organization for promotion of cider.
>Well guess what, the only thing slowing you and mead lovers down is a
>complete lack of action on your parts to develop something comparable.

Lack of widespread tasting events is a valid criticism, though I wonder if
the root cause is really a complete lack of action so much as lack of
conveniently available ciders. This is due to there being relatively few
cidermakers in North America and to difficulty in overcoming distribution
infrastructure problems (maybe not so much in Al Boyce's state, but my state
is definitely one of the difficult ones, and when I contacted my state
legislator expressing an interest in reform I got a response that seemed to
have been crafted by the apparently well-funded Washington, DC-based Wine &
Spirits Wholesalers of America). I'd guess the craft beer movement
experienced something similar in it's early days when there were far fewer
good examples available to consumers than there are today. In a local
gourmet shop that specailizes in craft beverages I find an impressive 400
linear feet or so of shelf space dedicated to various craft beers, about 100
feet to non-cider alcopop, and about 2 or 3 feet to ciders (roughly half of
which is filled by Hornsby's and/or Woodchuck at any given time, with
especially good representation of the "raspberry flavored" genre). Perhaps
this relates somewhat to the point Ben Watson made in his response about
lumping ciders together because there are so few. And to extend Ben's wine
analogy to ale, how well would Lambic ale do in competition if it was lumped
with all other ales into one category?

Under current distribution laws in a number of states some of the more
practical suggestions for obtaining a wider variety decent ciders might be
of questionable legality (or draw undue attention to those who are willing
to push the limits of enforcement in interstate shipment). I have firsthand
knowledge of putting together
small local tasting events and have also witnessed the larger-scaled
Ciderday in
Franklin County, Massachusetts. Organizing these events looks simple but it
actually takes a fair bit of preparation. I don't mean to discourage Al
Boyce's laudable efforts to give cider better exposure. In seeking advice
from our group he sets a very good example by not simply taking what's
available on the supermarket shelves.
Credit and recognition is well deserved. My sincerest apologies to Al for
my failure to make this more explicit in my last posting.

Thanks to reciprocity, Al's home state of Minnesota can receive direct
shipment of cider from several states with cideries or cider wineries:
California (Rhyne Cider at, Oregon (White Oak
Cider at, Washington
( and Wisconsin
( come immediately to mind. I believe Al can
also order Eric Bordelet ciders and perrys, as well as Etienne Dupont cider
from a California merchant (



Subject: Re: BJCP and Cider recommendations
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 10:40:37 -0600

Gary Awdey replied on Dec 23 -

>I didn't mean to be snippy, but do want to point out the absurdity of
>classifying cider as a type of beer.

Agreed - it WOULD be absurd to consider cider as a type of beer. No one I
know of in the BJCP thinks cider is a type of beer.

> I confess to having ambivalent feelings about cider judging as a part of
> BJCP unless the judging is meant to be personal and outside of what most
> people would consider to be competition.

Many people who create a thing like to know how it stacks up against the
same thing made by other people - be it beer, mead, cider, pickles or tea
cozys. Hence competitions will always exist. No one is forced to
participate. But in tasting many ciders side-by-side, many people have
learned the broad and pleasant diversity of cider, and in learning this,
have improved their own cider-making. The easiest way to assemble such a
broad side-by-side tasting is in a competition.

> It just bothers me that this is being done under
> the name "beer" and it bothers me that this is being done to a
> "certification" (implying that a high level of competence has been achieved)
> rather than as a process of gradual, enjoyable and ongoing personal
> enlightenment (Or am I alone in thinking this?).

Many people who make beer also like to make cider and mead. The BJCP has
recognized this, and is trying to server their membership by developing
cider standards for use in competitions. In teaching a segment about Cider
in the certification class, we are taking a step to give potential cider
judges some tools with which to judge cider. Does that make them experts?
Certainly not. Does that make them better cider judges than they would
have been had they not had the class? One would hope. It also may turn
some people who thought they only liked beer on to the wide world of cider
- - not a bad side effect either.

> ... the idea that anyone can try eight or ten ciders and become a qualified
> judge of the beverage strikes me as a little presumptuous.

It is presumptuous - no argument here. But since the competitons are going
to happen anyway, why not attempt to TRAIN the judges who are going to be
doing the judging? Better that than having people who have never learned
about, made or (gasp!) even TASTED a cider doing the judging! What ends up
happening is that the BJCP members who drink, make, and are interested in
ciders are the ones who volunteer to judge ciders. Generally, these people
have tasted MORE than eight or ten of them....

> The other thing that bothers me about this is the risk that a relatively
> active beer group will fill a niche and slow the development of an
> independent organization for promotion of cider.

I hope that, should an independent organization be formed for the promotion
of cider, they and the BJCP will coexist peacefully and cooperate in the
formation of cider guidelines that can be used in competitions. I think it
entirely possible that once said independent cider organization creates
said cider guidelines that the BJCP may even drop their cider curriculum
and use that of the new organization in training their judges in ciders. I
think that BJCP members who love cider would probably belong to BOTH
organizations (I'll be the first one!)

Thanks for your comments Gary! Hope to see you at an event sponsored by
the new CJCP (Cider Judge Certification Program) some day! ;-D

Now, back to my original question:

> We are preparing for our 2004 BJCP class, and I would like to present some
> excellent examples of Ciders for evaluation practice. What commercially
> available examples would you recommend for A) Standard Cider, B) Standard
> Perry, C) New England-Style Cider, D) Specialty Cider (other fruits or
> adjuncts) and E) Specialty Perry? Please provide websites and/or phone
> numbers of the cider makers if you have them.




Subject: RE: Cider Digest #1101, 26 December 2003
From: "Schuler, Joseph (EAS)" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 13:48:04 -0500

Hello All,

First of all, thank you very much for all of the information that all of
you share so willingly, as well as the enjoyable reading you have provided
me over the past few months of my participation on this list.

Secondly, what types of yeast do you folks use? I am looking to ferment
a local farm's cider. Has anyone used muntons?


Joseph Schuler


Subject: Re: Cider Digest #1101, 26 December 2003
From: " Mark Johnson" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 11:53:42 -0800

This is my first post to the group. I consider myself an amatuer in all
things fermentable.

I think Cider, be it made from Apples, Pears, Cherrys, or other fruit,
should be promoted on their own.

However, I think there is a difference between Apple and Pear, (and maybe
Quince?), etc, and the softer fruits.

I am not 100 percent sure where one would draw the line between Apple Wine,
say and Apple Cider.

I think it is important to try to start making Ciders from one variety of
Apple or Pear (I use Bartletts) to help gain more understanding of the
unique differences in the varieties. One can always blend after the cider
is made, just as winemakers do.

That is my 2 cents.

Mark Johnson, Walnut Creek, CA


Subject: cider styles and NY Times tasting
From: "John Howard" <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 15:48:39 -0500

The fact that the Times made a muddle of their cider tasting is
disappointing but not surprising, and simply proves Ben's point;
understanding of cider in the US has a long way to go. The upshot is that
there were 3 cider articles (that I am aware of) in the Times in 2003. That
must be a record.

For a cider newbie, judging cider from a wine (or beer) perspective is a
natural starting point. Still, it's interesting that these sophisticated
foodies gravitated toward the Normandy ciders. One has to admit, the French
have a wonderful way with the stuff. I'm surprised there aren't more people
here in the US emulating the French style, particularly given the neophyte
consumer's inclination toward sweeter ciders. Most US artisanal cider
producers seem to recognize the sweet market factor and try to be
accommodating but frankly, the ones I've tasted are missing the complexity
of French ciders by a wide margin. As my son would say, "What's up with

John Howard


End of Cider Digest #1103

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