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Old 04-26-2010, 03:51 PM   #1
Stevorino
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Default Putting together some beers for my first competition...

I have a great Saison that is above the alcohol guidelines (around 8.8%). Should I enter this sucker as a Saison, a specialty, or both?

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Old 04-26-2010, 03:58 PM   #2
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Is it obviously above the guidelines, like it tastes out of style? Or is it just simply too high, without being noticeable?

A Saison probably won't do well in specialty, unless it's got something that makes it really unusual for a saison.

The beer will be scored according to the guidelines, so if it's got a noticeable alcohol burn, that may hurt it in the saison style but the guidelines do state, " A refreshing, medium to strong fruity/spicy ale with a distinctive yellow-orange color, highly carbonated, well hopped, and dry with a quenching acidity." If it's "strong", that does fit in the guidelines.

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Old 04-26-2010, 04:01 PM   #3
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well then maybe It'll be ok - it's aged for about a year and is noticeably strong but doesn't have any fusels or hot alcohols. If I was just tasting it, I'd guess it would be mid-high 7%. But after a glass, it definitely FEELS closer to 9% lol

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In Keezer:
1. BCS - Wet Hopped West Coast Blaster
2. CYBI - Gordon's IPA Clone
3. BCS - Scottish -80
4. BCS - Specialty Saison (Gold Medal at BMO)
In Process:
1. BCS - Janet's Brown Ale (Fermenting)

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Old 04-26-2010, 04:03 PM   #4
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I wouldn't enter it as a specialty personally. Since the judges won't know the numbers you do, then I would probably go with saison as long as it matches these descriptions (or at least most of them):

Quote:
Aroma: High fruitiness with low to moderate hop aroma and moderate to no herb, spice and alcohol aroma. Fruity esters dominate the aroma and are often reminiscent of citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. A low to medium-high spicy or floral hop aroma is usually present. A moderate spice aroma (from actual spice additions and/or yeast-derived phenols) complements the other aromatics. When phenolics are present they tend to be peppery rather than clove-like. A low to moderate sourness or acidity may be present, but should not overwhelm other characteristics. Spice, hop and sour aromatics typically increase with the strength of the beer. Alcohols are soft, spicy and low in intensity, and should not be hot or solventy. The malt character is light. No diacetyl.

Appearance: Often a distinctive pale orange but may be golden or amber in color. There is no correlation between strength and color. Long-lasting, dense, rocky white to ivory head resulting in characteristic �Belgian lace� on the glass as it fades. Clarity is poor to good though haze is not unexpected in this type of unfiltered farmhouse beer. Effervescent.

Flavor: Combination of fruity and spicy flavors supported by a soft malt character, a low to moderate alcohol presence and tart sourness. Extremely high attenuation gives a characteristic dry finish. The fruitiness is frequently citrusy (orange- or lemon-like). The addition of one of more spices serve to add complexity, but shouldn�t dominate in the balance. Low peppery yeast-derived phenols may be present instead of or in addition to spice additions; phenols tend to be lower than in many other Belgian beers, and complement the bitterness. Hop flavor is low to moderate, and is generally spicy or earthy in character. Hop bitterness may be moderate to high, but should not overwhelm fruity esters, spices, and malt. Malt character is light but provides a sufficient background for the other flavors. A low to moderate tart sourness may be present, but should not overwhelm other flavors. Spices, hop bitterness and flavor, and sourness commonly increase with the strength of the beer while sweetness decreases. No hot alcohol or solventy character. High carbonation, moderately sulfate water, and high attenuation give a very dry finish with a long, bitter, sometimes spicy aftertaste. The perceived bitterness is often higher than the IBU level would suggest. No diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Alcohol level can be medium to medium-high, though the warming character is low to medium. No hot alcohol or solventy character. Very high carbonation with an effervescent quality. There is enough prickly acidity on the tongue to balance the very dry finish. A low to moderate tart character may be present but should be refreshing and not to the point of puckering.

Overall Impression: A refreshing, medium to strong fruity/spicy ale with a distinctive yellow-orange color, highly carbonated, well hopped, and dry with a quenching acidity.
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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The style guidelines are pretty explicit about where big saisons go (16E). Wouldn't hurt to put it in both.

If you think the judges won't think a big saison qualifies for 16E make sure you state in the instructions to judges section of the entry form that the comments section for 16C says they do.

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