Author Topic: Using the term "farmhouse"  (Read 2403 times)

Offline brewmasternpb

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Using the term "farmhouse"
« on: August 04, 2012, 01:38:30 PM »
This question relates to entering beers into competition.  Can "Farmhouse" be used as a style descriptor when entering into specialty categories or categories that require a base beer to be identified?  I realize that I can put whatever I want, but will judges know how to judge the beer?  My beer in question is a Baltic porter that I'm fermenting with the American Farmhouse strain.  I don't want to call it a Belgian-style Baltic Porter, because I think the judges would be looking for yeast characteristics that won't be there. 
The second part of my question would be, where to enter it?  I'm thinking either Specialty or Belgian Specialty.  I'm going to age it on Oak, but I don't think it will be oak-y enough to enter it as a wood aged beer.  Thanks everyone!
Dave
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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 05:50:11 AM »
I think farmhouse is a well used term that judges will understand. If it is farmhouse because of the yeast strain, listing that in the specialty ingredients will give the judges an even better idea of what to expect. 16E is fine if the beer is specifically 'Belgian farmhouse'. If it really is a farmhouse baltic porter, then I think 23 would be a better fit since baltic porter is definately not Belgian. 
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Offline nateo

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2012, 06:20:10 AM »
The threshold for "too oaky" is pretty low. I had an oaked BDS that got hit badly for being out of style. If you can tell it was oak-aged, you could enter it as a wood-aged beer.
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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2012, 07:01:38 AM »
What is BDS?
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Offline mihalybaci

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2012, 07:23:40 AM »
The BJCP style guidelines list "Belgian Stout" under 16E (Belgian specialty), so if your beer has a definite Belgian character to it then it could certainly fit there. But depending on how the beer actually tastes, 23. Specialty might be a better fit.

Offline nateo

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2012, 07:42:15 AM »
What is BDS?

Belgian Dark Strong. Not quite the same a "quadrupel" but they're usually interchangeable. I think a BDS is drier, and a quad is supposed to be more like a barleywine (like la Trappe is a good example of a quad, St. Bernardus would be more like a BDS). But it's a small distinction and they usually just get lumped together.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 07:44:04 AM »
I think farmhouse is a well used term that judges will understand. 
As a fairly new judge, could you spell out what is to be looked for when you hear the farmhouse term used?  My own weak idea is that it will be "rustic" in the sense that it will be fruity with possibly some earthy notes.  I'd suppose it would also typically be lower ABV although obviously a Baltic porter doesn't fit this characteristic.  Any help with descriptors would be appreciated.  Also what commercial beers might be good examples?  And is farmhouse ale most like a saison or a biere de garde?
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Offline mihalybaci

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 07:52:47 AM »
As a fairly new judge, could you spell out what is to be looked for when you hear the farmhouse term used?  My own weak idea is that it will be "rustic" in the sense that it will be fruity with possibly some earthy notes.  I'd suppose it would also typically be lower ABV although obviously a Baltic porter doesn't fit this characteristic.  Any help with descriptors would be appreciated.  Also what commercial beers might be good examples?  And is farmhouse ale most like a saison or a biere de garde?

If someone described a beer as "farmhouse", I would definitely be looking for yeast characteristics similar to those in saisons, or maybe biere de garde, fruity/spicy esters/phenols. Though the strength of those characteristics could range from low to high, depending on the style, but in any case they should definitely be noticeable.

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 07:13:42 PM »
As a fairly new judge, could you spell out what is to be looked for when you hear the farmhouse term used?  My own weak idea is that it will be "rustic" in the sense that it will be fruity with possibly some earthy notes.  I'd suppose it would also typically be lower ABV although obviously a Baltic porter doesn't fit this characteristic.  Any help with descriptors would be appreciated.  Also what commercial beers might be good examples?  And is farmhouse ale most like a saison or a biere de garde?

If someone described a beer as "farmhouse", I would definitely be looking for yeast characteristics similar to those in saisons, or maybe biere de garde, fruity/spicy esters/phenols. Though the strength of those characteristics could range from low to high, depending on the style, but in any case they should definitely be noticeable.

I'd agree with this. A descriptor like 'farmhouse' is a bit open ended, but I'd expect noticable yeast character, *maybe* even brett. Hopefully the entry would have more than just that descriptor. I think the best entries would have a few specifics - especially yeast strain if the flavors are yeast derived.
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2012, 07:29:15 PM »
I'm still fairly new to brewing, coming up on my one year anniversary in Oct, but I've associated "Farmhouse" with brews that used a Belgian style yeast and fermented higher than your average ales.  This is just me, so it's interesting how the word "Farmhouse" gets thrown around.
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Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 10:35:46 PM »
Using the yeast strain on the specialty ingredients section makes a lot of sense.  Thanks for that guys, we'll see where the oak takes us...  However, even if it is prominently Oaky, 23 allows for combinations of styles, so Farmhouse and Oak would fit there.
Since this thread has gone toward what "farmhouse" means, I'll add my two cents:
I think a farmhouse is going to be on the drier side, usually very drinkable, with prominent yeast characteristics (spicy phenols, fruity esters, along with some brett funk in some examples).  Also, I think the term "farmhouse" gives the brewer somewhat of a license to use adjunct grains (I am using oats, wheat and rye) and (preferably local) herbs and spices.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 04:18:44 AM »
Sorry to hijack your thread!  Appreciate the info, without an official style guideline I'm kinda lost.  I went through a Begian phase some time ago and got tired of the spicy yeast character and now I don't buy them or brew them.

My own opinion is if the beer is oaked then I'd put it in the wood category and add the info on the other ingredients.  I think it'd stand out in that category.  23 is a real crap shoot, you could be up against anything.
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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2012, 05:30:45 AM »
My own opinion is if the beer is oaked then I'd put it in the wood category and add the info on the other ingredients.  I think it'd stand out in that category.  23 is a real crap shoot, you could be up against anything.

Cat 23 is the greater catch-all. This is from the guidelines -
 
Combinations of other style categories (e.g., India Brown Ale, fruit-and-spice beers, smoked spiced beers)
 
This would probably be the case if you're combining a special yeast with wood.  I'd also guess that if the oak plays more than a minor role, points would be deducted no matter where it is entered. 
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2012, 06:28:45 AM »
If the oak is pronounced I'd think it would have the best chance in the wood aged beer category.  Both it and 23 are catch-all categories, but there are often fewer entries in wood aged and more of the bourbon barrel stout kind of stuff.  A farmhouse ale in that group might stand out.
Lennie
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Offline yugamrap

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Re: Using the term "farmhouse"
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2012, 11:30:58 AM »
When judging the Specialty or Wood Aged categories, I feel that the starting point should always be the "base" or "core" beer.  For the beer described here by the OP, I'd start by looking for the characteristics of Baltic Porter.  Then, I'd look for how well the the Wood Aging and/or Farmhouse compliment or enhance that base style.

So, I think the OP should consider which is more evident in the final beer - the Wood Aging (Oak), or the Farmhouse yeast characteristics.  If it's the Oak, enter in Wood Aged (22).  If it's the Farmhouse yeast, enter in Specialty (23).  Entry in 16E (Belgian Specialty) might also be a fit, but I think judges would certainly be looking for some of the funky Belgian yeast character there.   
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