Author Topic: Which Category: Specialty or Dark Lager?  (Read 711 times)

Offline mightybrewmouse

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Which Category: Specialty or Dark Lager?
« on: February 18, 2012, 07:13:24 AM »
I'm a new AHA member and plan to enter the AHA competition for the first time this year. One of my prospective entries is a dark lager, except that I primed it with honey (didn't realize I had run out of corn sugar until the middle of the bottling process...oops.). After four weeks of bottle conditioning, I'm amazed at how strong the honey flavor is given that I used it only as a priming sugar. I think this is a testament to the fact that I did a decent job creating a well-attenuated dark lager (which is also well carbonated) with minimal roast flavors. But now the beer no longer seems to fit the dark lager category because the honey is very noticeable -- though not unpleasant.

Thus, I'm wondering whether this would be a suitable entry for a specialty beer. I hesitate to enter it as a specialty because I don't think of specialty beers as being defined by a priming sugar. Any of you experienced AHA competitors have any advice? 

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Which Category: Specialty or Dark Lager?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 08:15:21 AM »
It's a specialty if you can taste the honey.

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Which Category: Specialty or Dark Lager?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 04:09:56 AM »
Like he said.

But, it's still a few weeks until the deadline for the first AHA competitions. Taste your beer just before you enter it. If the honey character has vanished or has dropped to minimal levels, then you're better off entering your beer in Category 4 and not mentioning the honey priming sugar. If you're lucky, the judges either won't notice it at all, or will just take it for base malt sweetness. If you're not so lucky, they'll take it for yeast-derived esters and knock down your score accordingly.