Its a goal of mine to win in the IPA category with an AIPA - its always very popular and a style that many seasoned brewers have great recipes for. I assume its also heavliy swayed by palate fatigue and over-the top bitterness.
I thought my best bet was to push the ABV past the style guidelines, almost to an IIPA, but keep it fairly dry with some sucrose. Condition if needed to remove over the top alcohol warmth, then dry-hop the hell out of it.
Is this 'cheating'?
ahh the million dollar question. I wonder the same thing. obviously there is nothing to stop you from doing this, just as there is nothing to stop me from entering the 80/- I just brewed as a 60/- except ethics. it's frustrating therefore that I might never be able to win with an actual 60/- without 'cheating' in this way.
So, to recap, we have 1 strategy for doing better in comps;
1) brewing to the top end of the style guidlines or beyond and more so brewing to the top end of the whole category and ignoring the lower gravity sub categories.
what else ya got?