Author Topic: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?  (Read 690 times)

Offline braufessor

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Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« on: January 19, 2015, 03:41:23 PM »
Quick question for some of you who judge/enter beers in comps.  I am sending some beers in to a comp and was thinking of entering my Amber Ale in specialty. It is clearly out of category in 10b in all categories except color.  I have entered it before and it seems I either get a 30 (great beer, out of category) or a 40 (for those who think "West Coast Amber" is the new amber.

10 pts over on gravity (1.070 OG, 1.016 final gravity)
55 IBU (not including an additional 4 ounce hop stand and not including 3 ounce dry hop)
7+% ABV


Was thinking about entering it in specialty...... but, just wondering if it would sort of get lost in the shuffle of all of the more exotic beers.   Seems like a lot of the specialty beers are over the top in their ingredients and how exotic they are.  Basically, if it is "well brewed" is a big amber worth entering in specialty do you think?  Or, is it not "special" enough?

Offline duboman

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 05:24:48 PM »
By chance would it fit in the IPA category, that might be a better place if it fits the bill for an IPA.
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Offline braufessor

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 05:41:42 PM »
Yeah...... it is solidly an IPA, except the color is probably at the absolute highest end of the IPA guideline - but probably right there at 14-15.  Guess I never really thought about it in that light because #1 - the color is not at all typical of any of the classic examples.  #2 - It is malty and sweet, very big bodied - you can almost chew it.  Again, many classic IPA's tend to be drier, crisp, etc.  Technically, it fits as an IPA.  However, in actual practice, I could see it getting dismissed as an IPA almost immediately because of the color, mouthfeel, maltiness, etc.

It obviously has a place in the new 2014 guidelines.  It just seems to be a good beer without a home right now.  It is not a big deal, more of a curiosity on my part if judges see these types of entries in specialty, and if so - do they hold up very well against the other entries.

Maybe I will even enter it as both an IPA and Specialty just to see the different perspectives judges might have on it. 

Offline duboman

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 06:02:43 PM »
I would probably do both categories then, ya never know sometimes
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Offline brewday

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 06:14:07 PM »
I would put it wherever you think it has the best chance of scoring a 40!  ;D

Sounds like you have some score sheets on it already, so if it's truly a 40 (it sounds delicious) and you're mostly looking for a winner then here's what I'd consider:

There will be a lot of great entries in both 10 and 14.  To avoid a 35 or lower in 10 you'll need to hit a "West Coast Amber" panel AND beat the best APAs.  Tough to do, but a similar beer did win NHC gold for category 10 in 2012.

In 14 there's a chance it will be seen as out of style, even though it might not technically be.  Either way it will be an outlier there, for better or worse.  But again you run downside of low to mid 30s.

In 23, it should score true to its merits as you intended to brew it.  If you get to 40 there, you're in the hunt.  Some exotic ingredient beers are great, some not so much.  Use the description section of the recipe form to sell it - type in something like "Double Red Ale - Huge Body, Malty Sweet, Hoppy, Balanced".  This is where I would enter it.

Good luck!

« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 06:34:45 PM by brewday »
Jon Weaver

Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 10:17:21 PM »

In 23, it should score true to its merits as you intended to brew it.  If you get to 40 there, you're in the hunt.  Some exotic ingredient beers are great, some not so much.  Use the description section of the recipe form to sell it - type in something like "Double Red Ale - Huge Body, Malty Sweet, Hoppy, Balanced".  This is where I would enter it.

Good luck!
.

Imperial Red is a name I've seen, though it's not a BJCP category.
Frank C.

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heart, you brew good ale.'

Offline santoch

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2015, 03:34:56 AM »
I'm with brewday - too much caramel sweetness is out of place in Am IPA.
Double Red, Imperial Amber or, as below, "American Strong Ale" would be appropriate:


Quote from: Excerpted from the PROPOSED new 2014 BJCP guidelines (which are NOT in any way, shape, or form final yet):


22B. American Strong Ale
Aroma: Medium to high hop aroma, most often presenting citrusy or resiny notes although characteristics associated with other American or New World varieties may be found (tropical, stone fruit, melon, etc.). Moderate to bold maltiness supports hop profile, with medium to dark caramel a common presence, bready or toasty possible and background notes of light roast and/or chocolate noticeable in some examples. Generally exhibits clean to moderately fruity ester profile. Moderate alcohol aromatics may be noticeable, but should not be hot, harsh, or solventy.
Appearance: Medium amber to deep copper or light brown. Moderate-low to medium-sized off-white to light tan head; may have low head retention. Good clarity. Alcohol level and viscosity may present “legs” when glass is swirled.
Flavor: Medium to high dextrinous malt with a full range of caramel, toffee, dark fruit flavors. Low to medium toasty, bready, or Maillard-rich malty flavors are optional, and can add complexity. Medium-high to high hop bitterness. The malt gives a medium to high sweet impression on the palate, although the finish may be slightly sweet to somewhat dry. Moderate to high hop flavor. Low to moderate fruity esters. The hop flavors are similar to the aroma (citrusy, resiny, tropical, stone fruit, melon, etc.). Alcohol presence may be noticeable, but sharp or solventy alcohol flavors are undesirable. Roasted malt flavors are allowable but should be a background note; burnt malt flavors are inappropriate. While strongly malty on the palate, the finish should seem bitter to bittersweet. Should not be syrupy and under-attenuated. The aftertaste typically has malt, hops, and alcohol noticeable.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. An alcohol warmth may be present, but not be excessively hot. Any astringency present should be attributable to bold hop bitterness and should not be objectionable on the palate. Medium-low to medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: A strong, full-flavored American ale that challenges and rewards the palate with full malty and hoppy flavors and substantial bitterness. The flavors are bold but complementary, and are stronger and richer than average-strength pale and amber American ales.
Comments: A fairly broad style that can describe beers labeled in various ways, including modern Double/Imperial Red/Amber Ales and other strong, malty-but-hoppy beers that aren’t quite in the Barleywine class. Diverse enough to include what may be viewed as a strong American Amber Ale with room for more interpretations of other “Imperial” versions of lower gravity American Ale styles. Many “East Coast” type IPAs might fit better in this category if they have considerable crystal malt or otherwise more of a malty-sweet finish.
History: While modern craft versions were developed as “imperial” strength versions of American amber or red ales, the style has much in common with historic American stock ales. Strong, malty beers were highly hopped to keep as provision beers prior to prohibition. There is no continuous legacy of brewing stock ales in this manner, but the resemblance is considerable. Stone Arrogant Bastard was born out of a batch of pale ale that was mistakenly made with excess ingredients, thus creating what may have been the prototype for the imperial amber/red ale. Great Lakes first brewed Nosferatu in the early 1990s and called it a stock ale, although they now call it an imperial red ale. So whether by direct historical inspiration or by accident, the style developed independently in the craft beer era and has subsequently become quite popular.
Characteristic Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt as a base; some character malts would be appropriate, medium to dark crystal malts are typical. Citrusy or piney American hops are common, although any American or New World varieties can be used in quantity, provided they do not clash with the malt character. Generally uses an attenuative American yeast.
Style Comparison: Generally not as strong and as rich as an American Barleywine. More malt balanced than an American or Double IPA with more American hop intensity than an English Strong Ale style would tolerate.
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.062 – 1.090
IBUs: 50 – 100 FG: 1.014 – 1.024
SRM: 7 – 19 ABV: 6.3 – 10.0%
Commercial Examples: Stone Arrogant Bastard, Great Lakes Nosferatu, Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster, Lagunitas Censored, Port Brewing Shark Attack Double Red

HTH-
Steve
Mt. Si Brewing Society
Washington Homebrewer's Association (WAHA)
BJCP GM2/Mead Judge

Offline braufessor

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2015, 01:55:06 PM »
I'm with brewday - too much caramel sweetness is out of place in Am IPA.
Double Red, Imperial Amber or, as below, "American Strong Ale" would be appropriate:


Quote from: Excerpted from the PROPOSED new 2014 BJCP guidelines (which are NOT in any way, shape, or form final yet):


22B. American Strong Ale
Aroma: Medium to high hop aroma, most often presenting citrusy or resiny notes although characteristics associated with other American or New World varieties may be found (tropical, stone fruit, melon, etc.). Moderate to bold maltiness supports hop profile, with medium to dark caramel a common presence, bready or toasty possible and background notes of light roast and/or chocolate noticeable in some examples. Generally exhibits clean to moderately fruity ester profile. Moderate alcohol aromatics may be noticeable, but should not be hot, harsh, or solventy.
Appearance: Medium amber to deep copper or light brown. Moderate-low to medium-sized off-white to light tan head; may have low head retention. Good clarity. Alcohol level and viscosity may present “legs” when glass is swirled.
Flavor: Medium to high dextrinous malt with a full range of caramel, toffee, dark fruit flavors. Low to medium toasty, bready, or Maillard-rich malty flavors are optional, and can add complexity. Medium-high to high hop bitterness. The malt gives a medium to high sweet impression on the palate, although the finish may be slightly sweet to somewhat dry. Moderate to high hop flavor. Low to moderate fruity esters. The hop flavors are similar to the aroma (citrusy, resiny, tropical, stone fruit, melon, etc.). Alcohol presence may be noticeable, but sharp or solventy alcohol flavors are undesirable. Roasted malt flavors are allowable but should be a background note; burnt malt flavors are inappropriate. While strongly malty on the palate, the finish should seem bitter to bittersweet. Should not be syrupy and under-attenuated. The aftertaste typically has malt, hops, and alcohol noticeable.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. An alcohol warmth may be present, but not be excessively hot. Any astringency present should be attributable to bold hop bitterness and should not be objectionable on the palate. Medium-low to medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: A strong, full-flavored American ale that challenges and rewards the palate with full malty and hoppy flavors and substantial bitterness. The flavors are bold but complementary, and are stronger and richer than average-strength pale and amber American ales.
Comments: A fairly broad style that can describe beers labeled in various ways, including modern Double/Imperial Red/Amber Ales and other strong, malty-but-hoppy beers that aren’t quite in the Barleywine class. Diverse enough to include what may be viewed as a strong American Amber Ale with room for more interpretations of other “Imperial” versions of lower gravity American Ale styles. Many “East Coast” type IPAs might fit better in this category if they have considerable crystal malt or otherwise more of a malty-sweet finish.
History: While modern craft versions were developed as “imperial” strength versions of American amber or red ales, the style has much in common with historic American stock ales. Strong, malty beers were highly hopped to keep as provision beers prior to prohibition. There is no continuous legacy of brewing stock ales in this manner, but the resemblance is considerable. Stone Arrogant Bastard was born out of a batch of pale ale that was mistakenly made with excess ingredients, thus creating what may have been the prototype for the imperial amber/red ale. Great Lakes first brewed Nosferatu in the early 1990s and called it a stock ale, although they now call it an imperial red ale. So whether by direct historical inspiration or by accident, the style developed independently in the craft beer era and has subsequently become quite popular.
Characteristic Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt as a base; some character malts would be appropriate, medium to dark crystal malts are typical. Citrusy or piney American hops are common, although any American or New World varieties can be used in quantity, provided they do not clash with the malt character. Generally uses an attenuative American yeast.
Style Comparison: Generally not as strong and as rich as an American Barleywine. More malt balanced than an American or Double IPA with more American hop intensity than an English Strong Ale style would tolerate.
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.062 – 1.090
IBUs: 50 – 100 FG: 1.014 – 1.024
SRM: 7 – 19 ABV: 6.3 – 10.0%
Commercial Examples: Stone Arrogant Bastard, Great Lakes Nosferatu, Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster, Lagunitas Censored, Port Brewing Shark Attack Double Red

HTH-
Steve

Yeah, the 22B above absolutely describes this beer in every way.  Once the new guidelines are out, this will be an obvious fit.  I don't enter it that often anymore because it was so hit and miss, but I will probably try it in the specialty at some point for curiosity.

Offline udubdawg

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2015, 02:29:55 PM »
Quick question for some of you who judge/enter beers in comps.  I am sending some beers in to a comp and was thinking of entering my Amber Ale in specialty. It is clearly out of category in 10b in all categories except color.  I have entered it before and it seems I either get a 30 (great beer, out of category) or a 40 (for those who think "West Coast Amber" is the new amber.

10 pts over on gravity (1.070 OG, 1.016 final gravity)
55 IBU (not including an additional 4 ounce hop stand and not including 3 ounce dry hop)
7+% ABV


Was thinking about entering it in specialty...... but, just wondering if it would sort of get lost in the shuffle of all of the more exotic beers.   Seems like a lot of the specialty beers are over the top in their ingredients and how exotic they are.  Basically, if it is "well brewed" is a big amber worth entering in specialty do you think?  Or, is it not "special" enough?

honestly Kevin, if you, say, wanted to win MWHBOTY, it's going to have to be truly amazing or you're hurting your win % entering 23 with a beer that isn't that strange.  It's gonna have to wow on hop character and be no doubt on the caramel department without being cloying.  But having had your beer before, you'll have a shot in 23.  Good luck.

you're welcome to save one of those two bottles for yourself, and ship the other to me.   8)

Offline gmwren

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2015, 02:36:25 PM »
Proposed Specialty IPA (21B)

Specialty IPA: Red IPA

Aroma: A moderate to strong fresh hop aroma featuring one or more characteristics of American or New World hops, such as tropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus, floral, spicy, berry, melon, pine, resinous, etc. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present. A medium-low to medium malty-sweet aroma mixes in well with the hop selection, and often features caramel, toffee, toasty, and/or dark fruit character. Fruitiness from yeast may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable. A restrained alcohol note may be present, but this character should be minimal at best. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style.

Appearance: Color ranges from light reddish-amber to dark reddish-copper. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Medium-sized, off-white to cream-colored head with good persistence.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to very high, and should reflect an American or New World hop character, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Medium-high to very high hop bitterness. Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium, and is generally clean but malty-sweet up front with medium-dark caramel, toffee, toasty and/or dark fruit malt flavors. The character malt choices and the hop selections should complement and enhance each other, not clash. The level of malt flavor should not adversely constrain the hop bitterness and flavor presentation. Low yeast-derived fruitiness is acceptable but not required. Dry to medium-dry finish; residual sweetness should be medium-low to none. The bitterness and hop flavor may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. A very light, clean alcohol flavor may be noted in stronger versions. 

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harsh hop-derived astringency. Very light, smooth alcohol warming not a fault if it does not intrude into overall balance.     

Overall Impression: Hoppy, bitter, and moderately strong like an American IPA, but with some caramel, toffee, and/or dark fruit malt character. Retaining the dryish finish and lean body that makes IPAs so drinkable, a Red IPA is a little more flavorful and malty than an American IPA without being sweet or heavy.

Comments: Previously might have been a sub-genre of American Amber Ales or Double Red Ales, hoppier and stronger than the normal products, but still maintaining the essential drinkability by avoiding sweet flavors or a heavy body or finish. History: A modern American craft beer style, based on American IPA but with the malt flavors of an American Amber Ale.

Characteristic Ingredients: Similar to an American IPA, but with medium or dark crystal malts, possibly some character malts with a light toasty aspect. May use sugar adjuncts. American or New World finishing hops with tropical, fruity, citrusy, piney, berry, or melon aspects; the choice of hops and character malts is synergistic – they very much have to complement each other and not clash.

Style Comparison: Similar to the difference between an American Amber Ale and an American Pale Ale, a Red IPA will differ from an American IPA with the addition of some darker crystal malts giving a slightly sweeter, more caramelly and dark fruitbased balance. A Red IPA differs from an American Strong Ale in that the malt profile is less intense and there is less body; a Red IPA still has an IPA balance and doesn’t trend towards a barleywine-like malt character. A Red IPA is like a stronger, hoppier American Amber Ale, with the characteristic dry finish, medium-light body, and strong late hop character.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.056 – 1.070
IBUs: 40 – 70
FG: 1.008 – 1.016
SRM: 11 – 19
ABV: 5.5 – 7.5%

 Commercial Examples: Green Flash Hop Head Red Double Red IPA (double), Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA, Midnight Sun Sockeye Red, Summit Horizon Red IPA, Odell Runoff Red IPA   

Offline braufessor

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Re: Worth entering an "imperial" Amber in Specialty?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2015, 03:46:17 PM »



you're welcome to save one of those two bottles for yourself, and ship the other to me.   8)

Ha......  Maybe I will do both - enter it and send you one.  You are probably running low on Sprecher Black Bavarian about now as well :)