All judging will be conducted using “blind” panels made of 3-5 judges each. Each entry will be identified by a randomly-assigned registration number. Judges will see only that number along with important information needed to properly evaluate the entry, such as style, level of carbonation, level of sweetness, and any special ingredients or process used in production. Ciders are evaluated individually, and scored using a 21 point scale.
Commercial entries will be poured out of sight of judges and identified only by registration number. Noncommercial entries must be sent in bottles free of permanent labels or markings to ensure the blindness of the judging. They will be poured at judging tables and identified only by registration number. Failure to abide by this requirement may result in disqualification.
Judges will be a combination of cider industry professionals, cider experts, sensory analysis experts, experienced BJCP and nonBJCP judges, and qualified members of the media. Medals are awarded based on the score assigned by the Primary judging panel.
Gold Medal: 18-21 points
Silver Medal: 14-17 points
Bronze Medal: 11-14 points
All entries that earn a Gold Medal in the Primary judging are eligible for Best of Show judging. The Best of Show judge panels evaluate these top-scoring entries for Best in Class and Honorable Mention honors.
If a Best of Show judge panel detects a serious flaw during their evaluation (such as mousiness), that entry will be referred to a Secondary judging panel. The Secondary panel will thoroughly re-evaluate the entry, complete a new scoresheet, and assign a new score that takes the place of the score assigned by the Primary panel.