Author Topic: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer  (Read 1044 times)

Offline prism21

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Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« on: February 25, 2011, 05:30:44 PM »
I'm a little unclear on the requirement to specify a base style when entering fruit beers in a competition.  How vague can that be? Could you simple specify "Ale" as the base style?  I have a tart cherry ale that I'd like enter made from a grist vaguely similar to a lambic (25% flaked wheat, 10% light crystal, and 65% pilsner, aged hops) and fermented with a belgian yeast, but with no lactic sourness or brett funk.  Could anyone suggest what an appropriate base style to specify would be? I've thought about "blonde ale with cherries", but it seems to be a bit of a misnomer to call a deeply ruby beer blonde.  Thanks.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2011, 05:36:45 PM »
It's ok to enter it with blonde as a base style, it would be expected that the cherries would add some color so you shouldn't lose any points for that.  If it's clear that you used tart cherries make sure you call that out, don't just say cherry.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2011, 07:23:58 PM »
I think the more specific you can be, the better.  The numerical scoring of judging requires that you have something to compare to.  The base beer style gives you those signposts to look for.  Then you look also for the fruit characteristics.  My wife just stewarded for a specialty beer category in a recent contest and she said there were several that gave no indication of base style, and the judges were left to make guesses about it so they could do their thing.  Needless to say those beers didn't move on.  When you've got ten minutes to pour and evaluate a beer, you don't want to be having to guess what it is.

I'm a newbie at judging so take my opinion for what its worth.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline jeffy

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2011, 08:32:43 PM »
I had a SHV beer that was based on a wheat ale, which is what I called it.  It had some coriander so it was a bit like a witbier, but it also used German wheat beer yeast, so it had some clove and banana.  The judges at a recent competition liked it simply as "Wheat Ale with the added SHV."  As a matter of fact it went on to win 2nd best of show in the competition (220 total entries, I think).
I think it dings your chances at winning if you specify things that not all the judges can detect.  They may have a preconceived notion of what a German Wheat Beer should taste like, for example.  If the flavors of the beer blend well together it should advance.  I think being vague helped in this instance.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2011, 08:33:22 PM »
I think the more specific you can be, the better.  The numerical scoring of judging requires that you have something to compare to.  The base beer style gives you those signposts to look for.  Then you look also for the fruit characteristics.  My wife just stewarded for a specialty beer category in a recent contest and she said there were several that gave no indication of base style, and the judges were left to make guesses about it so they could do their thing.  Needless to say those beers didn't move on.  When you've got ten minutes to pour and evaluate a beer, you don't want to be having to guess what it is.

I'm a newbie at judging so take my opinion for what its worth.
true to a point, but an aspect to consider is if you specify a specific style then the judges are going to want it to be right on in regards to that style in addition to the specialty ingredient. now, hopefully your beer is a good example of a style, but that's not always the case. if not, you may be better with a more 'generic' description. you certainly want to be specific enough to let the judges know what your aim was so they can tell how close to the mark you come.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2011, 08:55:20 PM »
Per the 2008 BJCP style guidelines:

"Note that fruit-based lambics should be entered in the Fruit Lambic category (17F), while other fruit-based Belgian specialties should be entered in the Belgian Specialty Ale category (16E)."

So do NOT enter into category 20, or you might get dinged for putting it into the wrong spot.  As a general rule, Belgians are special beers that are set aside specifically because the yeast and other wild critters give such unique properties.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 08:57:56 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline prism21

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2011, 09:12:37 PM »
A sincere thanks for all the helpful responses.  Regarding the possibility of entering the beer as a belgian specialty, I had considered that.  However, New Glarus Belgian Red is really the closest commercial example to the beer I'd like to enter, and it is the first example listed in category 20.  What is the base style of that beer?  My ale has a slightly more pronounced yeast character, is that enough to make it a belgian specialty as opposed to a fruit beer?
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 09:17:02 PM by prism21 »

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2011, 09:31:57 PM »
Speaking with my BJCP hat on:

To me, it's all a matter of taste.  If it tastes like a fruit beer but you don't really care what style it was, and it doesn't taste Belgian, then enter it into category 20 with a base style that is NOT Belgian -- otherwise the judges might raise their eyebrows that it should have been entered as 16E or 17F.  On the other hand, if it does taste Belgian in any way/shape/form, then you really have no choice but to enter it as 16E or 17F.

I'm not exactly sure what base style the New Glarus beers are supposed to have been.  I've heard it said that these are lambics, but... I'm not so sure these would stand up so well to any of the Lindeman's fruit lambics, which are far more tart in my opinion.  So to me, the NG's would belong more in either 16E or 20.

Yeah... perhaps category 20 really is the best fit.  At least for NG.  Can't say for yours without tasting it first myself.  Enter it in whichever category you think it would score the highest in.  And if you can't decide, just go ahead and enter it in both categories.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 09:33:39 PM by dmtaylor »
Dave

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Base Style to Specify for Category 20 Fruit Beer
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2011, 07:12:19 AM »
Good point, nice catch Dave.  I missed the part about the Belgian yeast.  If the Belgian yeast character is evident it should be entered as a Belgian specialty, if not then I think SHV is appropriate.
Tom Schmidlin