Author Topic: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers  (Read 2828 times)

Offline santoch

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The other day, Gordon made the following post on the BJCP forum.  I thought many more folks would find it informative than just the closed judge's forum, so I asked for his permission to repost it out here "in the wild" (pun intended)   :-).

Hope this helps to clarify category selection in these instances.
Steve

Quote from: Gordon Strong
Several people have been confused by the Entry Instructions in Style 29A (Fruit Beer) in the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines. Those instructions say:

Quote from: Style 29A (Fruit Beer)
    The entrant must specify a base style, but the declared style does not have to be a Classic Style. The entrant must specify the type(s) of fruit used. Soured fruit beers that aren't lambics should be entered in the American Wild Ale category.


This leads to questions like, "I have a fruited Berliner Weisse, does that mean it goes into 28C (Wild Specialty Beer)?"

The short answer is No. A fruited Berliner Weisse is a 29A Fruit Beer.

From the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer preamble:

Quote from: Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer preamble
    Specialty-Type Beer is a broad term used to refer to the styles described in Categories 28 through 34. They are different from what we call Classic Styles that are represented by Categories 1 through 27. The Classic Styles stand alone and can be fully described in a standard BJCP style description. Specialty-Type Beers involve some form of transformation of either a Classic Style or another base beer, either through adding additional ingredients, or handling the beer differently using an alternative process.


From the Category 29 Fruit Beer preamble:

Quote from: Category 29 Fruit Beer preamble
    The Fruit Beer category is for beer made with any fruit or combination of fruit under the definition...


So you apply those two statements, then any specific instructions in the style. Berliner Weisse is a Classic Style (style 23A), so it is a Classic Style that is transformed with the addition of fruit.

The statement about lambics is the exception to the rule, not the rule itself. The reason for this statement is that there is a 23F Fruit Lambic style, and that lambics with fruit should be entered there, not in 29A Fruit Beer.

The statement about soured fruit beers is for non-Classic Style beers. So if a beer without a base style is soured and contains fruit, that is what the 28C Wild Specialty Beer is designed to describe (among other things).

The statement about the declared base style not having to be a Classic Style is for beers with an actual style. For example, a raspberry porter can be entered there. The beer doesn't have to be an American Porter or an English Porter, just have general porter-like qualities. For a Wild Specialty Beer, the base style is less important and might not even exist. That's why a general description of the beer is all that is requested.

The point that seems to be confusing to people is that some Classic Styles happen to be sour. This is an irrelevant point for entering in the Fruit Beer style. Yes, Berliner Weisse is sour. So is Gose, and several other styles. Fruited versions of these beers go into the Fruit Beer style since the base beer is a Classic Style.

We understand how this can be confusing to people, so we will look to clarify the instructions in future releases of the guidelines. However, try to keep in mind that there are no tricks in the guidelines. Use reasonable judgment and try not to cherry-pick individual sentences and give them undue weight. In this case, a beer with fruit is indeed a Fruit Beer.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 04:04:24 PM by santoch »
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2016, 07:38:59 PM »
Good to know, thanks!

Offline ethinson

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2016, 06:46:55 PM »
That's a great explanation as well on the difference between a "base style" and a "classic style" since I was confused about that part in other specialty categories.  I hadn't thought of beers with multiple styles such as stout and porter and pale ale to be just a "base style" whereas the distinction between and English Pale Ale and an American Pale Ale is the "classic style".

Good stuff! Thanks to you and Gordon for sharing this.
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Offline beer_crafter

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2016, 11:43:41 AM »
That may be the way it is supposed to work, but I'd still be tempted to enter non-lambic fruited classic sour styles (BWeisse, etc) as Wild Specialty, especially in smaller/local competitions.  I've had good success with my Tart Cherry Flanders Red in Wild Specialty, and suspect that if I entered it in as Fruit Beer, I'd get dinged for being sour, or not having enough prominent fruit character. 

To me, this may be a difference in theory vs practice. 

I'll point out that Russian River Supplication is listed as a classic example of Wild Specialty Beer.  This beer isn't terribly far off from a Flanders Red aged in Pinot Barrels (as opposed to fouders) and Tart Cherries. 

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2016, 02:56:22 PM »
I understand from an academic perspective what he is saying but from a practical standpoint it really makes no sense that fruited sour beer might fall into one of three different categories (fruit lambic, wild specialty, fruit beer) over what is a virtually arbitrary distinction. The confusion that exists here is founded in the arbitrariness of the division and compounded by the lack of guidance in the new BJCP how one should pick which of multiple potentially equally correct styles to enter a beer.
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Offline toby

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2016, 03:38:33 PM »
I understand from an academic perspective what he is saying but from a practical standpoint it really makes no sense that fruited sour beer might fall into one of three different categories (fruit lambic, wild specialty, fruit beer) over what is a virtually arbitrary distinction. The confusion that exists here is founded in the arbitrariness of the division and compounded by the lack of guidance in the new BJCP how one should pick which of multiple potentially equally correct styles to enter a beer.

I'm not sure how it's arbitrary.  If it's a lambic-style with fruit, it's a fruit lambic.  If it's a classic style (like a Berliner Weisse) with fruit, it's a fruit beer.  If it's a non-classic sour with fruit, it's wild specialty.  All that being said, you enter it on how it comes off.  If it tastes like 3F Oude Kriek, enter it as a fruit lambic.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2016, 03:41:29 PM »
It's confusing. Adding a note that fruit lambics have their own category would suffice in clearing it up

Offline beer_crafter

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2016, 12:01:06 PM »
I don't think the problem is with Fruit Lambics (which are a classic style in and of themselves), but fruited versions of other classic styles.  The other thing at play here is that there a lot of modern riffs on the classic styles (Berliner, Gose, Flanders Reds come to mind) that don't strictly fall into the style even before the fruit is considered.  A berliner weisse at 4.9% abv, or a flanders with no oak character, but with fruit added, are a couple examples where this gets confusing for entrants. 

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2016, 03:54:52 PM »
I'm not sure how it's arbitrary.  If it's a lambic-style with fruit, it's a fruit lambic.  If it's a classic style (like a Berliner Weisse) with fruit, it's a fruit beer.  If it's a non-classic sour with fruit, it's wild specialty.  All that being said, you enter it on how it comes off.  If it tastes like 3F Oude Kriek, enter it as a fruit lambic.

Once you add fruit to a sour wheat beer the distinction between that beer as a lambic, berliner weisse, or wild ale (whatever that means) is greatly diminished because the fruit is going to mask/change some of the flavor in the base beer, change the acid profile and potentially change the ABV. What's really different about a berliner weisse with cherries and a 4% ABV barley/wheat wild ale with cherries? Do you think the guidelines clearly explain to an entrant how to distinguish between those beers?

It seems ideologically inconsistent with rules that, for example, let a session IPA, a black IPA and a white IPA all compete against each other. There you have fairly different beers that all compete against each other because they share core attributes but here you have fairly similar beers that are spliced across three separate styles. The explanation for the distinction is procedural rather than substantive but I don't see a good reason why sour beer suffers under the weight of these procedural rules while other styles do not. I believe there are far more judges who can distinguish the nuances between a session IPA and a white IPA than there are judges who can distinguish between a berliner weisse with cherries and a lambic with cherries and a wild ale with cherries.
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Offline toby

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Re: Cross post from BJCP Forum re. FAQ: Entering Sour Fruit Beers
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2016, 06:54:20 PM »
Once you add fruit to a sour wheat beer the distinction between that beer as a lambic, berliner weisse, or wild ale (whatever that means) is greatly diminished because the fruit is going to mask/change some of the flavor in the base beer, change the acid profile and potentially change the ABV. What's really different about a berliner weisse with cherries and a 4% ABV barley/wheat wild ale with cherries? Do you think the guidelines clearly explain to an entrant how to distinguish between those beers?

Yes, based on the base beer.  If you made a barley/wheat wild ale and added cherries into it, it seems that's exactly what wild specialty is for.