1st time post!!! I've been brewing for a while now, any over the years my recipes have become increasingly experimental. I have one that I'm going to submit for the 2019 National Homebrew Competition, for as much as anything else, to see what "real" judges have to say about it.
I'm having trouble sorting out what style this one fits into according to the 2015 Style Guidelines. I'd say it starts off pointing toward being a Belgian Dark Strong Ale. It has a moderate amount of Special B and is fermented with Yeast 3787, and ABV is 9.6%. Alcohol lis barely perceptible in the finish, if at all, depending on the individual. However, it has a big hit of malted rye (4# to a 10 gallon batch) as well as a healthy dose of an herb that grows wild on my property (northern bugleweed) which adds some terpene/tannin/bittering flavor (and depending on the individual, can make one very sleepy). These flavors balance the inherent sweetness. It's lightly hopped with Williamette at 20 IBU, although the bungleweed carries the rest of the load in that regard. The thick, lathery head is a sort of dirty-cream color. Color of the ale itself is certainly dark; I'd say in the 25-30 range.
Overall, none of these flavors seem to totally de-classify it as a BDSA, but the carbonation is intentionally lower. I just don't like the feeling of all that bubble activity getting in the way of flavor and mouthfeel. I'm thinking that for this reason, it would not fit into the BDSA style and get scored low.
Based on this, should I submit it in the Experimental or some other category? Or just as a BDSA?
Thanks in advance for any comments or advise. Cheers!!!