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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Why are There No New BJCP Style Guidelines?
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:46 AM   #1
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Default Why are There No New BJCP Style Guidelines?

Am I missing something here or has the BJCP not made any changes to their style guidelines since '08?!?!?

I know the BA guidelines included an India Black Ale this year (I also think there were 5 others, can't remember at the moment). It's not a big deal, it just kind of irritates me. I just finished "brew like a monk" and towards the end, Stan is profiling different comm beers and alot of them don't even "fit" the BJCP guidelines. I understand BJCP is for homebrewers and BA is for pro, but I would think there would be more similarity between the two. Or, for the BJCP to allow for greater variety than the BA within styles.

Like I said, maybe I'm just missing something...

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Old 07-13-2010, 01:51 AM   #2
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I guess the simple answer is that the Brewers Association guidelines tend to follow popular trends in the craft brewing industry. That way, its easier for breweries to classify their beer. The BJCP focuses more on classifying, identifying and recognizing classic styles rather than the "beers of the moment".

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Old 07-13-2010, 01:51 AM   #3
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Well the previous update before that was 2004. Committees take a long time to do anything.

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Old 07-13-2010, 02:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
I guess the simple answer is that the Brewers Association guidelines tend to follow popular trends in the craft brewing industry. That way, its easier for breweries to classify their beer. The BJCP focuses more on classifying, identifying and recognizing classic styles rather than the "beers of the moment".
Again, relying mainly on "brew like a monk" at the moment, but it seems there are plenty of "classic" beers that do not fit the current BJCP style guidelines.

i.e. Westvleteren Blond, La Trappe Blond, Duvel (typically 'defines' Golden Strong Ale), Grimberegen Dubbel

It makes me wonder how many other beers would not meet the requirements of BJCP guidelines.

I also understand that it does not really matter that much. Your average judge (or even experienced judge for that matter) cannot tell the difference between 13 SRM and 16 SRM, an OG of 1.087 and 1.094, etc.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:11 AM   #5
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I also understand that it does not really matter that much. Your average judge (or even experienced judge for that matter) cannot tell the difference between 13 SRM and 16 SRM, an OG of 1.087 and 1.094, etc.
To clarify this point:

I am not sure how much experience you have judging in competitions, but judging is based purely on qualitative assessment and comparing the beer with the descriptions for that category. The "vital statistics" in the guidelines really don't, or at least shouldn't, enter into anyone's scoring decisions.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:15 AM   #6
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Well, in the case of Duvel, which basically created the Golden Strong, other breweries began making Golden Strong ales too. Over time, the industry standard of that style shifted away from the specs of Duvel into what the BJCP reflects now. Ironically, Duvel is the original Golden Strong and according to the specs, does not fit into the style anymore. I think the same thing can be said of SNPA. Originally, the quintessential APA, might be considered a little weak by today's APA standards.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe some of the beers you are wondering about might have been slowly "bumped out" by the rest of the industry. The BJCP does follow industry trends, but does it a little bit slower than the BA. Also, judges don't really take into account the statistics when judging. Nobody can really tell 14 vs 18 SRM. If a Pilsner is amber, thats bad. If an APA is nearly black, thats bad too. It might be hard to tell the difference between 8 and 9% alcohol, but it is easy to tell if a beer is way out of style.

That is at least my interpretation. I'm not very involved with the BJCP (took the exam in Feb and have yet to get my scores back) so take what I say with a grain of salt.

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Old 07-13-2010, 02:18 AM   #7
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Well, in the case of Duvel, which basically created the Golden Strong, other breweries began making Golden Strong ales too. Over time, the industry standard of that style shifted away from the specs of Duvel into what the BJCP reflects now. Ironically, Duvel is the original Golden Strong and according to the specs, does not fit into the style anymore. I think the same thing can be said of SNPA. Originally, the quintessential APA, might be considered a little weak by today's APA standards.
Same goes for saison....very different from the classic saisons that started the style.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:57 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Grizzlybrew View Post

It makes me wonder how many other beers would not meet the requirements of BJCP guidelines.
Lots. Australian Pale Ale, Franconian Dark Lager, Czech Dark Lager, Gose etc.

I think you are expecting the BJCP to do something other than what they aim to do. They do not aim to describe every style and they do not aim to describe new styles very quickly. They have a website where you can read all about what their aim is.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:10 AM   #9
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Well the previous update before that was 2004. Committees take a long time to do anything.
...and before that I believe it was 99?

To the OP: At the BJCP meeting at NHC, Gordon Strong said that they're looking at an update somewhat soon (and specifically mentioned Black IPA). Honestly though, does it really matter if your favorite beers conform to some guideline? As someone who has taken the test (waiting on scores as well), I can easily say that the majority of the best beers I've ever had did not conform to the BJCP or Brewers Association guidelines. They're just that - guidelines, not to be taken along the lines of Reinheitsgebot where they must be followed to the letter.

Bring on the innovative beer!
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Old 07-13-2010, 04:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post
judging is based purely on qualitative assessment and comparing the beer with the descriptions for that category. The "vital statistics" in the guidelines really don't, or at least shouldn't, enter into anyone's scoring decisions.
Well then, to play devil's advocate, why list them?...

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Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
so take what I say with a grain of salt.
taken.

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Originally Posted by remilard View Post
They have a website where you can read all about what their aim is.
And I quote - "The purpose of the Beer Judge Certification Program is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills." Confining beer styles to such ridgid requirements (ehem, I'm sorry - guidelines) does not necessarily promote beer appreciation, or at least the variety in which styles can exist in the real world. I will agree to the tasting and evaluation portion though. To me, that's basically what BJCP is - a list of requirements and a test to see of those requirements have been met.

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Originally Posted by whatsleftofyou View Post
They're just that - guidelines, not to be taken along the lines of Reinheitsgebot where they must be followed to the letter.
I know, I know I'm getting too uptight tonight. I serve on a historic preservation council and we have this discussion about "guidelines" quite often. I guess I'm of the mindset, that if you set a standard (my interpretation of guidelines), then you should challenge yourself to meet that.

Honestly, at this point, I'm not even sure what I'm arguing. It kinda seems like (1) people brew to meet BJCP and (2) BA works to help define what people brew - kind of a prescriptionist vs. subscriptionist angle...
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