With all due respect to you, Brad, and any BJCP judges lurking about, this is just another case where the BJCP talk through their hats!
I mean, seriously - this is not the only category in which they list benchmark examples which contradict their written guidelines. I recently got my wrist slapped on HBT when I supposedly mistakenly told a fella he could make a pale Weizenbock. "Not so!" cried the BJCP readers, who then posted the BJCP verbiage which claims that Weizenbock is a sronger version of Dunkelweizen, and is always dark. I cringed, whined a little about speaking from the perspective of actually drinking pale
Weizenbock, gee, guys, sorry, and went to read the style guideline for myself. Huh. The commercial versions I remember drinking - that were pale
- are listed as some of the benchmarks. That was when I first figured out that BJCP don't always care whether their commercial benchmarks and their definition of the style even closely match.
It's one thing if they list Dry Irish Stouts with hops character beyond simple bitterness. But of all the benchmark beers they list, not one
has hops character - except possibly Orkney Dragonhead Stout, which I have never sampled.
I stand behind my statement. No matter what BJCP says, the classic, benchmark examples of stout which come from Ireland do not have hops character. AHA, in the 2003 style sheets, are unequivocal: "Hop aroma and flavor should not be perceived." Thus, the brewer can add flavor and aroma hops all she likes, but she's not defining the style. It's not being creative, or making the beer your own; it's making som
ething that isn't to style.
I have no problem brewing something that's not to style! None! My beef comes when someone brews something that's not
to style and insists on using the style name. That only confuses the drinker. So brew your stout with flavor and aroma hops, and call it "Stout" all you like. Just don't call it "Dry Irish Stout" and fer dang
sure don't call it a "Guinness Clone". Cause it ain't