Cider Glossary

  • Acetaldehyde

    Acetaldehyde is an organic chemical compound with the formula CH3CHO, and a byproduct of fermentation that causes a vinegar-like or green apple aroma.


  • Acids

    Sour-tasting or sharp, substances found in apples. Acids give refreshing sourness, bright flavor and a keen mouth-watering “feel”. To ferment cleanly, raw cider juice needs strong acid content.

    Definition from Farnum Hill Ciders

  • Additive

    Enzymes, antioxidants, preservatives or other substances added to juice before fermentation to control fermentation, prolong shelf life, or change flavor.

  • Adjunct

    Fermentable additions to juice used to make cider lighter, less expensive to ferment, higher alcohol content, etc.

  • Aerobic

    A type of organism, such as ale yeast (top fermenting) that needs oxygen to metabolize.

  • AFB

    AFB or Apple Flavored Beverages are produced from a base material that is not apple and then flavored with natural or artificial apple flavoring or extract. AFB’s may be marketed as apple flavored beverages, but never as cider.

  • Aftertaste

    As it sounds, Aftertaste is the taste left in the mouth after swallowing the cider. Interchangeable with terms length or finish.

  • Aggressive

    The term Aggressive is usually used to describe ciders that are either high in acidity, have harsh tannins or bothe. May also be used to described heavy handed flavor additions, an example could be “Aggressively Hopped”

  • Alcohol

    May refer to Ethyl alcohol or ethanol. Alcohol is a by-product of fermentation, caused by yeast acting on sugars in the juice. Alcohol content is expressed as a percentage of volume (abv) or weight (abw).

  • Alcohol by Volume

    Amount of alcohol in liquids calculated by percentage volume of alcohol per volume of liquid.

  • Alcohol by Weight

    Amount of alcohol measured in terms of the percentage weight of alcohol per volume, for example 5.0% alcohol by weights equals 5.0 grams of alcohol per 100 centiliters of beer. (ABW numbers are about 20% less than alcohol by volume.)

  • Alcoholic

    Warming taste of ethanol and higher alcohol’s. ALSO – Alcoholic is a broad term used for a person with a problem with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker’s health, personal relationships, and social standing. It is medically considered a disease, specifically an addictive illness.

  • Alcopop

    A nickname for sweet alcoholic soft drinks that target the entry level alcohol consumer market with pre-mixed drinks.

    Commercial examples: Mikes Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff ICE, Bacardi Breezers.

  • Ale Yeast

    Top fermenting yeast strains, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The top fermenting yeast perform at warmer temperatures than do bottom fermenting yeast’s used to brew lagers, and their byproducts are more evident in taste and aroma. Fruitiness and esters are often part of an ale yeast’s characteristics.

  • Anaerobic

    An organism, such as a bottom-fermenting lager yeast, that is able to metabolize without the presences of oxygen.

  • Apple Engine

    in the old days a horse used to walk round a solid granite trough to crush the apple. Then ingenios were originally designed with men turning wheels and cogs, and the apple was crushed between wooden teeth or granite rollers. Now high speed mills do the job fed by an elevator.

  • Apple Juice

    Definition From Farnum Hill:

    APPLE JUICE: 1) from raw apples. Once termed ‘sweet cider,’ it was re- dubbed ‘cider’ in the U.S. during Prohibition. 2) A stabilized, clarified juice product sold year-round, usually made by diluting apple juice concentrate.

  • Apple Juice Concentrate

    APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE: a stable syrup reduced from raw juice. Heat & fans evaporate 90% of the water; filters remove suspended fruit solids, Concentrated used for cider may be generic (from any varieties available) select (made from specified apple varieties) or bitter-sweet (made from tannic cider apples).

    Definition From Farnum Hill

  • Astringent

    A drying, puckering taste; tannic. Ciders that are astringent are not necessarily bad or good. Astringent ciders may be harsh and coarse to taste, usually because they are too young and tannic and need time to develop.

  • Attenuation

    Term used to measure the extent to which yeast converts fermentable sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

  • Austere

    Ciders may be considered austere if they are not terribly pleasant. An austere beverage is tyically overly dry and lacks richness.

  • Bacterial

    A broad term covering off-flavors such as musty, moldy, woody, lactic acid, vinegar, or potential microbiological spoilage.

  • Barrel

    A unit of measurement used by brewers in some countries. In Britain, a barrel holds 36 imperial gallons (1 imperial gallon = 4.5 liters), or 1.63 hectoliters. In the United States, a barrel holds 31.5 US gallons (1 US gallon = 3.8 liters), or 1.17 hectoliters.

  • Bitterness

    The perception of a bitter flavor- sensation at the back of tongue, can be measured in International Bitterness Units (IBU).

  • Body

    Body is the thickness and mouth-filling property of a drink described as “full or thin bodied”.

  • Bottle Conditioning

    A Secondary fermentation and maturation in the bottle, creating complex aromas and flavors.

  • Bottom Fermenting Yeast

    One of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Bottom-fermenting yeast works well at low temperatures and ferments more sugars leaving a crisp, clean taste and then settles to the bottom of the tank. Also referred to as “lager yeast”.

  • Bright Tank

    Used in the fermentation process, a Bright Tank is a liquid holding vessel in which cider is held after primary fermentation for maturation, clarification and also to naturally carbonate the beverage through a secondary fermentation. May also be called a secondary tank, or conditioning tank.

  • Brut

    French term for Dry – lacking sweetness in Cider or Perry. Most cider and perry is fermented to be naturally dry, as most of the sugar gets fermented out. Often these dry ciders are sweetened to produce medium or sweet ciders.

    Commercial example of Brut Cider: Clos Normand Brut Cider (FRANCE), Crispin Brut (USA)

  • Butterscotch

    In cider a butterscotch or buttery flavor is caused by the naturally occuring by-product of fermentation called Diacetyl. Diacetyl is broken down during fermentation but sometimes remains in finished cider. Bacterial infection can also lead to detectable Diacetyl flavors.

  • Cheese

    refers to neat layered mounds of chopped cider apple and straw which is built in situ within the press. Now cheese cloths are used, first horsehair then hessian, now nylon. In large farms the cheeses are built on small trolleys and wheeled in, pressed and then out. They weigh about a ton.

  • Cider

    Cider can mean many different things depending on where you are. In the United Kingdom  cider refers to an alcoholic beverage made from fermented apples. In the USA cider refers to a sweet, unfermented apple juice and the term Hard Cider refers to the fermented alcoholic beverage from apples.

    Definition From Farnum Hill: Cider: an alcoholic beverage fermented from apples, as wine is an alcoholic beverage fermented from grapes. The cider-making & wine-making crafts have much in common. Prohibition devastated both in the U.S, but only cider lost its true name. In the U.S. ‘cider’ has only begun to reclaim its worldwide meaning.

  • Cider Brandy

    Refers to the distilled liquor of cider aged in oak. The word brandy comes from the Dutch meaning burnt wine.

  • Ciderkin

    A “small” cider made from the second pressing. Often drunk at harvest and less potent for those wielding a scythe.

  • Cidermaker

    A Cidermaker is a person or company that makes Cider, much like a Brewer makes beer or a Winemaker makes wine.

    Dave White, Cidermaker at Whitewood Cider Co., Olympia, WA

    Dave White, Cidermaker at Whitewood Cider Co., Olympia, WA

  • Cidre

    French term for cider, a fermented alcoholic apple beverage.

  • Cidre Bouche

    A French sparking cider, typically bottled under cork and hood similar to champagne.

  • Conditioning Tank

    Used in the fermentation process, a Conditioning Tank is a liquid holding vessel in which cider is held after primary fermentation for maturation, clarification and also to naturally carbonate the beverage through a secondary fermentation. May also be called a secondary tank, or bright tank.

  • Cyder

    Cyder is generally an old British term used for real cyder, of wine strength ie 8-12% not the gassy liquid made from fermented apple concentrate, water and glucose syrup.

  • Cyder Royal

    “Distill one hogshead of cyder and add the spirit to another. Spice with coriander seed in a muslin bag and if an aide to digestion was needed add wormwood.” Richard Haines in 1684.

  • Cyser

    Cyser is cider strengthened with honey before fermentation. Common in medieval times. Also refers to apple flavoured mead. The addition of honey increases the gravity and the alcohol potential of the cider.

  • Diacetyl

    Diacetyl is a natural by-product of fermentation and is one of two major Vicinal Diketones produced during fermentation, the other is Pentainedione. Diacetyl tastes buttery or like butterscotch. Pentainedione provides a honey like flavor. If too much of either is present in finished cider it can be considered an off flavor.

  • Doux

    French term for Sweet.

  • Draught

    A cider style that is usually a clean, dry cider served on tap in a pub.

  • Dry

    As a style of cider, a Dry Cider would have no sweetness, usually being fully fermented with no residual sugars.

  • Dry Hopping

    The process of adding hops to fermenting or aging cider (or more commonly beer) to add or increase hope character and aroma.

    Commercial examples of dry hopped cider: Colorado Cider Company Grasshop-ah, Woodchuck Dry Hopped

  • Ester

    A volatile flavor compound naturally created in fermentation. Often fruity, flowery or spicy. Esters are created by the reaction of acids and alcohol and develop during fermentation. The chosen yeast strain and temperature used for fermentation determines what esters may be produced during fermentation. Cider that is said to be “Estery” has an Aroma or flavor that is reminiscent of flowers or fruits, which could be desirable.

  • FAB

    FAB, or Flavored Alcoholic Beverages include cider, spirit coolers and other flavored alcoholic beverages.

  • Firkin

    Small wooden barrel carried into the fields by farm labourers, holds half a gallon of cider. Also called a costrel. Popular in modern times for brining limited production beers to pubs.

  • FMB

    FMB’s are Flavored Malt Beverages, this could be a wine cooler, fruit ale or other alcoholic beverage made from a fermented malt base. Many of these many have fruit flavors, like apple, but they are not ciders made from fermented fruit juice.

  • Gribble

    Young tree that has grown from a pip from pomace thrown out at last year’s pressing.


  • Hops

    Hops are an herb added to cider (or more commonly beer) to add bitter aromas and flavors. The hops used for flavoring are the female flower of the plant Humulu Lupulus. There are many varieties of hops and they have unique flavors and aromas.


  • Keeving

    A method of making cider which allows some of the natural sweetness to remain.This is traditional both in Western England and the northwest of France, but whereas it has virtually died out as a commercial proposition in the UK, it is still very much alive for the production of ‘cidre bouché’ in France. The underlying principle is to remove nutrients from the juice by complexation with pectin at an early stage, to ensure a long slow fermentation which finishes and can be bottled while still sweet and without any fear of excessive re-fermentation later.

  • Mead

    Meads are produced by the fermentation of honey, water, yeast and optional ingredients such as fruit, herbs, and/or spices. According to final gravity, they are categorized as: dry (0.996 to 1009); medium (1010 to 1019); or sweet (1020 or higher). 

  • Mulling

    a way of using spices and sugar to make a warm and heartening winter drink. Usually involves cloves, mace, nutmeg and cinnamon in a muslin bag.

  • Pentainedione

    Pentainedione is a natural by-product of fermentation and is one of two major Vicinal Diketones produced during fermentation, the other is Diacetyl. Pentainedione provides a honey like flavor. If too much of either is present in finished cider it can be considered an off flavor.

  • Pomace

    term used for the milled or pulped cider apple and also used for the layers of spent apple after it has been pressed. Pomace is often fed to pigs, sheep and cows. They love it. Pectin is extracted for jam making.

  • Posset

    A drink made with cyder,sugar,cream,eggs and spices.

  • Press

    a device for pressing apples. There are beam presses, single thread wooden presses, double metal thread presses, capstan presses, hydraulic presses, belt presses and centrifugal presses.

  • Residual Sugar

    This is the amount of sugar that is left after fermentation is complete. This sugar is measured in grams per litre of cider. Residual sugar contributes to the finished ciders apparent sweetness. Less residual sugar generally produces a dry cider.

  • RTD

    RTD means Ready To Drink. Generally this is a premixed product to be consumed from the package – a mix of alcohol and fruit juice may make a pre-made cocktail or alcopop style drink.

    Commercial examples include: Smirnoff Ice, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Bacardi Breezer, Skyy Blue, Jack Daniel’s Hard Cola

  • Scratter

    Mill for cutting up apples whilst crushing sometimes driven by a horse.

  • Scrumpy

    Cider made with apples that have been scrumped or stolen. A slightly derogatory term today when compared to the high quality ciders. It is an unfiltered cider produced with natural yeasts.

  • Sharp

    A Sharp is a type of apple that is relatively high in acidity but low in tannins and sugars – the fruit will taste sharp (acidic) but not astringent (bitter). Many cooking apples fit this profile. Eating a Sharp apple is like sucking on a slice of lemon. The Granny Smith is America’s best known sharp apple, Heirloom varieties such as the Rhode Island Greening are gaining popularity amongst cider makers seeking sharp apples.

  • Shekar

    Hebrew term for cider, refers to strong drink made from fermented apple juice.

  • SIcera

    Latin term for cider, refers to strong drink made from fermented apple juice.

  • Sidra

    Spanish term for Cider.

  • Sidro

    Italian term for Cider.

  • Sikera

    Greek term for cider, refers to strong drink made from fermented apple juice.

  • Sweet

    In apple varieties: Sweet, or Sweets – an apple that is high in sugar content and typically low in acide and tannins.  Most apples in stores that are meant for eating are sweets. Eating a sweet apple is like eating a sugar cube. Common sweet apple varieties: Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Johngold, Macoun and Braeburn.

    In cider: A high level of sweetness in the final cider, based on the amount of sugar. Sweet ciders will be sweeter than dry ciders. Sweetness may be added or natural, and may be artificial engineered sugars added after fermentation.

  • Syllabub

    A light frothy pudding made with cider, cream and cider brandy.

  • Tannins

    Tannins are the bitter, astringent substances found in some varieties of apples. They contribute bitterness & complex, earthly flavors, and dryness and body in the “mouthfeel”. Tannin presence can be due to type of apple used to make cider or barrel aging process.

  • Trocken

    Trocken is the German term for Dry.

  • Tundish

    Old type of funnel used for filling barrels.

  • Verjuice

    Sharp green juice from fresh crab apples and cider apples, used in possets and syllabubs.


  • Vintage

    Vintage may refer to a cider makers premium cider, made from their best apples or most cider-specific apple varieties. Many cider makers will age their vintage ciders in oak barrels producing a strong flavored, more complex, bolder style cider.

  • Volatile Acidity

    Volatile acidity may be present as ethyl acetate (with an odor similar to nail polish remover), or as acetic acid (presence of an odor like vinegar). Volatile acidity is popular amongst Spanish ciders from Asturias, but may be considered a fault amongst cider styles from other regions.

    The formation of bacteria like acetobacter or lactic acid bacteria by unsound cider making practices, Volatile acidity is commonly seen in perry’s due to the metabolism of citric acid by lactic acid bacteria.

  • Wassail

    The act of drinking a toast to the Cider God in the orchard, along with shotguns, songs and banging of old pans. Wassail cups and bowls are much prized. Most celebrate this on Twelfth Night, 5th Jan but others still choose the old New Year, 17th January.