Sal Mortillaro II's picture

Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Aspall Imperial English Cider by Aspall Cider House

December, 2018
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Aspall Imperial English Cider by Aspall Cider House is being evaluated as an English Cider (Category C1B in the 2015 BJCP Guidelines).  Though labeled as “imperial”, the declared 8% ABV still falls within the guidelines of the style.

This cider pours a dark gold color with brilliant clarity. There is a very slight carbonic activity in the glass leading to a few streams of consistent bubbles. There is no head that is formed, but a thin ring of fine white bubbles circles the glass. This cider has a high apple aroma with high apparent sweetness.  In the background is a low vinous character and touch of earthy notes. On the sip, the forward flavor is a very quick white-wine like flavor (similar to a semi-sweet Riesling) that quickly transitions into a semi-sweet sweetness and high bitter-sweet apple flavor. The cider's acidity appears to be low in intensity though it seems the sweetness of this cider overshadows a true representation of actual acidity and a low tannic quality is present which helps bring balance. The aftertaste consists of the noted wine character, apple, and sweetness though the sweetness is eventually dried out aided by the higher ABV of the cider.  The body of the cider is thin though a sweet “heaviness” adds to the perceived body. The cider has ample carbonation and aids in breaking up the sweetness. There is a slight alcoholic warmth in this cider. Overall, this a very good cider for those who enjoy a sweeter, desert like offering.  It’s well known that a classic pairing of pungent blue cheese and sweet Port are quite divine; I would be interested in pairing this sweeter cider with a milder English Stilton blue cheese.