Author Topic: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?  (Read 932 times)

Offline JFMBearcat

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American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« on: June 24, 2016, 03:13:56 PM »
Hi all, thinking about entering my blonde ale in a competition in late August. I have brewed it once before and it's quite delicious. I am worried that even though it's pretty good, it will get dinged on style guidelines, here is the recipe:

Would like to enter in 6B Blonde Ale:

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.009
IBU: 27
Color: 4.5

53% American 2 row
34% Weyerman Pilsner malt
7.7% White Wheat malt
1.9% carapils
1.9% Crystal 20 (both a quarter pound)

10 IBU cascade @ 60 min
13 total IBU of cascade/willamette @ 20 min
4 total IBU of cascade/willamette @ 5 min

White labs 029 German Kolsch

It's a great beer and super refreshing, but here are my worries:

1. Will I get dinged for the Kolsch yeast for clarity reasons?I plan on brewing it this week so I can get some extended lagering time in for added crispness and clarity. American Blonde is described as "Clear to brilliant"

2. Will I get dinged for it being too hoppy? I can always back down the IBUs a bit. Cascade/Will combo is a wonderful combo for blondes in my opinion and I don't want to lose anything if the judges begin to perceive it as a session pale or just an American pale ale.

3. Is the half pound of dextrin malt out of place for this style?

Thanks for any help. I hate when you enter a beer and even though it's great, it gets dinged because it should be in another category. Cheers!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 03:25:18 PM by JFMBearcat »

Offline tommymorris

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2016, 03:23:03 PM »
Hi all, thinking about entering my blonde ale in a competition in late August. I have brewed it once before and it's quite delicious. I am worried that even though it's pretty good, it will get dinged on style guidelines, here is the recipe:

Would like to enter in 6B Blonde Ale:

OG: 1.048
FG: 1.009
IBU: 27
Color: 4.5

53% American 2 row
34% Weyerman Pilsner malt
7.7% White Wheat malt
1.9% both carapils/crystal 20

10 IBU cascade @ 60 min
13 total IBU of cascade/willamette @ 20 min
4 total IBU of cascade/willamette @ 5 min

White labs 029 German Kolsch

It's a great beer and super refreshing, but here are my worries:

1. Will I get dinged for the Kolsch yeast for clarity reasons?I plan on brewing it this week so I can get some extended lagering time in for added crispness and clarity. American Blonde is described as "Clear to brilliant"

2. Will I get dinged for it being too hoppy? I can always back down the IBUs a bit. Cascade/Will combo is a wonderful combo for blondes in my opinion and I don't want to lose anything if the judges begin to perceive it as a session pale or just an American pale ale.

3. Is the half pound of dextrin malt out of place for this style?

Thanks for any help. I hate when you enter a beer and even though it's great, it gets dinged because it should be in another category. Cheers!
Most of the times I have entered a hoppy blonde it has been dinged for that. Even though the style guileless lines state "Regional variations exist (many US West Coast brewpub examples are more assertive, like pale ales)", mine have always been dinged when they have what I would consider low/medium hop bursted flavor (less than a APA).

Mine have always been brilliant so I can't speak to the cloudiness. You could use Gelatin to clear it up.

1.9% Dextrin seems fine.


Offline tommymorris

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2016, 03:26:03 PM »
PS. American Wheat And British Golden Ale both allow more late hop additions. I think.

Your is probably not a Wheat but you might consider the British Golden Ale cat. I have thought about that for my Blonde Ale. But I haven't brewed it in a long time.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2016, 03:29:08 PM »
Yes to gelatin if you need to get this one brilliant.

I feel like your 20 minute addition may be a bit too big for the style which may allow the hop flavor to overpower some of your malt which should be fairly prominent (although clean) in your finished product. If it were me, I would lower your 20 minute addition a bit and probably add a little of it at 0 minutes to get some small amount of hop aroma in there to entice the judges.

I also don't feel that you need carapils in there. Your crystal malt combined with the wheat and base malt(s) should give you enough backbone to float the hops in over home plate.

Just my 2 cents.  Cheers!

Offline santoch

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2016, 10:06:34 PM »
The key to this style is approachability.  I know I will tend to allow higher hop flavor through as long as the bitterness remains on the low side.  You will be ok as long as the malt/hop balance remains to the malt or evenly balanced.  In other words, hop flavor is cool, just don't overshadow the malt.  Maintaining this balance is what makes it approachable to the BMC types.

Clarity will only cost you a point, so don't sweat that too much.

In all seriousness, I love a pale, citrusy well made blonde ale as a lawnmower beer.  They can be a great thirst quencher and they make a great gateway beer for the BMC crowd.  I'm really bummed that Deschutes' stopped producing Twilight this year.  That was my go to summer lawnmower beer when I wanted some hops but not a ton of bitterness.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 04:24:14 AM by santoch »
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Offline Stevie

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2016, 10:30:39 PM »
Clarity might only be worth a point, but it can cause a placebo effect on the judge. Not saying it should, just that it could.

Offline greatplainsbrewer

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2016, 07:32:08 PM »
Clarity might only be worth a point, but it can cause a placebo effect on the judge. Not saying it should, just that it could.

Agreed particularly if it's scored 'top down'.

Offline The Professor

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2016, 02:58:25 AM »
Looks good to me, but I'm confused about the clarity question.  I've used both the Kölsch yeast and wheat in some beers (in fact, some wheat winds up in ALL of my beers), but have never had cloud or haze issues.    The brews have always been perfectly bright.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: American Blonde - how well will this do in competition?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2016, 03:20:35 AM »
Looks good to me, but I'm confused about the clarity question.  I've used both the Kölsch yeast and wheat in some beers (in fact, some wheat winds up in ALL of my beers), but have never had cloud or haze issues.    The brews have always been perfectly bright.

+1, totally agree, I was going to say the same thing.  The beer might start out with a slight haze but should clear in a few weeks.
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