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Old 01-09-2011, 05:18 PM   #1
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Default BJCP Style Category Question

As far as BJCP styles go, does adding an adjunct like vanilla bean to something like a Porter automatically move that beer from 12-Porter to 23-Specialty?

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Old 01-09-2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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In short, yes. There is no mention of vanilla in the style guide for porters. In general, using vanilla usually puts a beer in 23.

When you hear of a beer being characterized with vanilla it would likely be a subtle creamy character associated with the specialty malts used in the recipe.

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Old 01-09-2011, 05:49 PM   #3
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My experience has been that if you name an ingredient in a specialty style, then judges want it in their face.
OTOH, much more than a hint of a non-style ingredient in a strictly defined beer can lose you points.

If the vanilla is noticeable, I'd say it goes into 21A - Spiced Beer (or maybe 21B - Holiday, if there's more than just vanilla).
If it's background, barely detectable complexity, then you should be fine in the base style.

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Old 01-09-2011, 06:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwarven_stout View Post
If the vanilla is noticeable, I'd say it goes into 21A - Spiced Beer (or maybe 21B - Holiday, if there's more than just vanilla).
If it's background, barely detectable complexity, then you should be fine in the base style.
You're probably right on the category. My main point was that it doesn't necessarily belong in a porter according to the style guide. The guide does mention licorice and toffee which could possibly be considered vanilla-esque. Enter it in multiple categories and see what the judges think about the usage of it, wouldn't hurt.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwarven_stout View Post
My experience has been that if you name an ingredient in a specialty style, then judges want it in their face.
OTOH, much more than a hint of a non-style ingredient in a strictly defined beer can lose you points.

If the vanilla is noticeable, I'd say it goes into 21A - Spiced Beer (or maybe 21B - Holiday, if there's more than just vanilla).
If it's background, barely detectable complexity, then you should be fine in the base style.
Ding ding ding.

I was at at a competition recently where somebody entered an Imperial Stout and listed vanilla and coffee on the special ingredients.

1. You shouldn't do that but
2. It brought up the fact that several of the classic examples of 13F include things like vanilla (Rogue RIS), licorice (Rogue RIS), coffee (dark lord) and/or oak aging (Abyss). These ingredients in these beers add background complexity and are appropriate in 13F even though the guideline doesn't mention these ingredients. If you put a lot of vanilla in a RIS like vanilla bean Dark Lord or BCS Vanilla then you would put it in 21A.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:48 PM   #6
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Interesting responses. The question comes up because I have a brown porter that would normally be a 12a but I used 2 vanilla beans in the secondary to make it a vanilla porter. The vanilla is definitely there but not over the top. Still, I question if it is out of style now for 12a.

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Old 01-09-2011, 09:54 PM   #7
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Yes.

Knowing what 2 beans in a porter tastes like, I would ding it in a competition. That doesn't mean that you *can't* enter it as such (do you have something else that you'd rather enter in 21 or 23?), but if you're looking for the best score it would be unwise to do so.

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