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Old 05-16-2012, 05:42 PM   #1
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Entered a beer American Wheat or Rye. For 1st round NHC they provided a place, like they do for Specialty Beers, to provide information. There I put "25% Wheat and 25% Rye" because neither was dominate. Scored a 37 and advanced to the mini-BOS. (Prolly would have done better, if it were not for my love of hops. )

Entered the same beer in a local competition for some more feedback. Their form had no place for additional information only the subcategory where I wrote, American Wheat or Rye. Got this comment, "...you did not specify whether it was a rye or a wheat but labeled your bottle” American wheat or Rye"... which made it hard to be placed into the proper flight... a few of our judges thought it had a touch of rye.... is that right?", and it got a really bad score.

I thought that "American Wheat or Rye" was the subcategory. Never heard of dividing the wheat’s and rye’s into different flights. All of category 6 had a total of 28 beers, so I can't see there being too many in 6D and requiring flights. Is this a common practice?

Lesson learned. Next time I'll write it in on the border somewhere.

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Old 05-16-2012, 06:01 PM   #2
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Boy, that's a great question! I really don't know the answer, but here's a snippet from the guidelines:

Overall Impression: Refreshing wheat or rye beers that can display more hop character and less yeast character than their German cousins.

Comments: Different variations exist, from an easy-drinking fairly sweet beer to a dry, aggressively hopped beer with a strong wheat or rye flavor. Dark versions approximating dunkelweizens (with darker, richer malt flavors in addition to the color) should be entered in the Specialty Beer category. THE BREWER SHOULD SPECIFY IF RYE IS USED; IF NO DOMINANT GRAIN IS SPECIFIED, WHEAT WILL BE ASSUMED.

Ingredients: Clean American ale yeast, but also can be made as a lager. Large proportion of wheat malt (often 50% or more, but this isn’t a legal requirement as in Germany). American or noble hops. American Rye Beers can follow the same general guidelines, substituting rye for some or all of the wheat. Other base styles (e.g., IPA, stout) with a noticeable rye character should be entered in the Specialty Beer category (23).

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I guess because rye wasn't "specified" and it was picked out, that they gigged you on that? That's my guess.

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Old 05-16-2012, 08:14 PM   #3
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Yeah. If they had just penalized me for being too hoppy I would have understood. That's what happened at NHC. Just didn't understand getting hit on that technicality when they didn't provide a spot for the information.

Next batch might add a few more hops and enter it in 23 as a White IPA.

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Old 05-17-2012, 04:53 AM   #4
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I had a similar experience with that category in a couple comps. I brew 60% rye, no wheat, and put rye as the dominant grain in the special instructions which apparently never made it to the judges. One even wrote something along the lines of tastes like rye, but not really sure, could be wheat. The beer (multiple batches) has scored well, but it's a bit frustrating when the judges are apparently confused by the category itself.

On a side note, I feel as though there is no need to declare what grain was used for this category. Wheat and rye, in appropriate amounts for this category, are easily distinguished. The judges should be evaluating the beer on it's merits, not on their preconceived notions of how those two grains taste. Furthermore, I get seriously PO'd when a judge comments that they want more rye flavor in a 50%+ rye beer. There is a running joke at my homebrew shop that I should have added more caraway seeds to my rye beer. At $6 minimum per entry I could only hope that the judges for a given category could identify the flavors/aromas they're supposed to be looking for.

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Old 05-17-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trigger View Post
......

On a side note, I feel as though there is no need to declare what grain was used for this category. Wheat and rye, in appropriate amounts for this category, are easily distinguished. The judges should be evaluating the beer on it's merits, not on their preconceived notions of how those two grains taste. Furthermore, I get seriously PO'd when a judge comments that they want more rye flavor in a 50%+ rye beer. There is a running joke at my homebrew shop that I should have added more caraway seeds to my rye beer. At $6 minimum per entry I could only hope that the judges for a given category could identify the flavors/aromas they're supposed to be looking for.
More rye than that??!! I would be PO's with a comment like that. That is way beyond a subtle amount.

I recently brewed a beer to help me really define for myself what rye brings to the party. I brewed a 40% rye lager, low 30's IBU, very clean yeast. Well, let's just say I definitely now know what rye adds to a beer!!! I would say it is not so good as a soloist with no accompany. Great as part of an ensemble though. It can do well in the lead, but it needs to have just the right players along with it to balance it out.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I had a similar experience with that category in a couple comps. I brew 60% rye, no wheat, and put rye as the dominant grain in the special instructions which apparently never made it to the judges.
Any judge worth their weight would have asked.

Sometimes those things get to the judges via a flight sheet, sometimes the steward hangs on to them.


But to answer the OP, if it has 25% rye, I would designate it as a American Rye Ale. Rye is much more dominant than wheat, so the judges will probably pick up on that first.

And yes, American Wheat & Rye Ale is the category name, but it does state that you need to specify which one it is, or else wheat is assumed. And I think that judge meant "proper style" not "proper flight". Flights generally aren't split up that anally.
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