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BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines

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TexLaw

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The BJCP has released updated style guidelines, available here.

This update is not an overhaul, like with the 2004 revision, although some styles are signficantly different. From my brief review, it appears that the BJCP tried to clarify and, where appropriate, narrow guidelines to make them more useful in judging. You can see a one page summary of the changes here.


TL
 

Kai

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They've also dried out Saisons and some other Belgians. I like it.

It reads like it's been Jamil-ised. Which it has been - he's one of the 2008 contributors.
 
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TexLaw

TexLaw

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korndog said:
Yikes
I am supposed to take a study class next week, and MAYBE take the test. Nervous!

KD
If you're taking the test in the first half of the year, you can stick with the old guidelines. If later, though, you'll be graded according to the new ones.

And, there's no doubt they've been "Jamil-ised," Kai. Many styles are drier or hoppier. There's virtually no difference between the American Amber and APA now. I miss the old American Amber.


TL
 

Iordz

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I really wish they would revise the Scottish ales, and state that peat malt is not authentic or unnecessary.
 

Beerrific

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Interesting. They also changed the order of the commercial examples in some styles (example: Munich helles, IIPA).
 

the_bird

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TexLaw said:
And, there's no doubt they've been "Jamil-ised," Kai. Many styles are drier or hoppier. There's virtually no difference between the American Amber and APA now. I miss the old American Amber.


TL
I hadn't noticed that about the Amber. I'd agree, I think of an Amber as being fuller-bodied, very well-balanced but something malt-centric, maybe a little melanoidin character, with hop flavor and aroma being present but not dominant. I think of an APA as being kind of the opposite, pretty well-balanced, but a bit drier and with a bit more hop character coming through. There's definately more difference between the styles than just color, or at least there SHOULD be.
 

Beerthoven

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TexLaw said:
And, there's no doubt they've been "Jamil-ised," Kai. Many styles are drier or hoppier. There's virtually no difference between the American Amber and APA now. I miss the old American Amber.
TL
Interesting you say that because in "Brewing Classic Styles" the American Amber is very different from the two APA recipes presented.

I'm beginning to wonder if Jamil is having too much influence on the BJCP and homebrewing in general.
 
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TexLaw

TexLaw

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the_bird said:
I hadn't noticed that about the Amber. I'd agree, I think of an Amber as being fuller-bodied, very well-balanced but something malt-centric, maybe a little melanoidin character, with hop flavor and aroma being present but not dominant. I think of an APA as being kind of the opposite, pretty well-balanced, but a bit drier and with a bit more hop character coming through. There's definately more difference between the styles than just color, or at least there SHOULD be.
I agree one hundred percent. This weekend, at MCAB, I had the privilege of judging one that was malty, with a little more than mild caramel and biscuity notes. The malt complexity was outstanding, accented by its medium-full body. Hop flavor was moderate, prominant, and complex, but it did not dominate the malt. It was in no way cloying, as its bitterness balanced well without taking over. It finished mildly bitter with caramel and biscuit.

My partner was a first time judge who knew APAs, AIPAs, and American Browns inside and out but was not all that familiar with Ambers. He kept saying that the beer was too sweet, and I kept pointing him to the guidelines. In the end, I gave the beer a 47, the highest score I've ever given. He came in under that after a lot of coaching on the style. I think he wanted to score it in the low to mid-30s because it wasn't hoppy enough.

A couple entries later, I handed a sample of that Amber to a Master judge as he passed. "That's the way you do it," was his assessment. After the flight, a Grand Master agreed. The beer placed third, overall. The way the guidelines are going, though, there may not be a place for that beer in the near future.

Of course, the way hops are going, the guidelines and brewing might swing back a little.


TL
 

the_bird

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See, I would argue that maybe there should be an "American Red Ale" category. I've made a beer that's kinda in that vein (the "Temptation Red" in my recipes). A little more over-the-top with the hop flavor and aroma than I would have usually gone for if I was trying to hit the "Amber" category (at least how previously defined), but medium-bodied and with a very strong malt backbone. One of the best (and most popular) beers I've made, but one that's somewhere in the middle. Maybe that's the kind of beer they're looking for with the "new" American Amber.
 

PseudoChef

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Beerthoven said:
I'm beginning to wonder if Jamil is having too much influence on the BJCP and homebrewing in general.
I've been starting to think the same thing for a little bit of time now. Everyone is now taking his words as prophet (even the whole Pope connotation) and it seems they are too afraid to seek doing things for themselves.

I know that his whole schtick is to instruct and guide on how to brew to style, but it seems that his whole world is set on doing that without thinking out of the box, and even berating people who try to do something deviant from the mean.

Even when it's not a stylized instruction, he seems too dead set on every aspect of the brewing process and "his way" of doing that process. He may not directly say anything, but to me, his tone often comes across as belittling if you don't whirlpool chill or pitch exactly 285,456,786 yeast cells into 5.3 gallons of that 1.054 wort.

There's many ways to fry a fish.
 

the_bird

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I dunno, I don't really get the sense that he's trying to *dominate*. I agree with most of what he says, and when I've followed his general guidelines for formulating a recipe, I've been very happy with the results. For your two examples, I've never heard him disparage other ways of chilling the wort (it's not something I hear him talk about a lot, really), and he's said many a time words to the effect of "don't just follow what I do just because I do it, if it works for you, do THAT" (I'm thinking of one specific example where he was laughing at himself for having difficulties using racking canes).

Now, he does harp on the need to make a proper-sized starter ALL THE TIME, but wouldn't we all agree on that being a pretty critical part of the homebrewing process? I don't have any way of knowing if his calculations are *right* or not, but that's pretty much the standard piece of advice we all give.

As to his influence on the styles.... he talks a lot about how WINNING recipes tend to be ones that push the boundaries of the style, so if the brews he designs tend to be on the edge, isn't that just his response to how beers are already being judged? Is the "Jamilization" process driving how beers are judged, or a reflection of how they are already being judged?

I've also heard him talk many times about the need for restraint with certain styles (Helles Bock, etc.).

So, I guess I'm still a disciple.... :D
 

Beerthoven

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Don't get me wrong, I think Jamil has done a lot for homebrewing. I don't get the sense that he is an egomaniac. I've learned a lot about the process of brewing from him and I agree that he gives good advice on how to brew.

I do think his recipes are pushing homebrewers toward a west-coast centric big+hoppy approach to recipe formulation, especially for American, English, and some Belgian styles. Some of the descriptions he gives in Brewing Classic Styles give it away. For example, when discussing Robust Porter he says "Examples of the style range quite a bit, from bigger, bolder American interpretations to less bold English interpretations." That may not seem like much, but who is going to think that a "less bold" porter is a good one? There are other places as well where he states a preference for bigger American interpretations over lesser English one.

I've been spending some time on a UK based brewing forum and many UK brewers think Jamil has it all wrong with his Milds, English Pale Ales, and to some extent his Porters (general consensus is that he uses way too much crystal malt - his beers are overly sweet, includes non-standard grains too often, and tends to overhop). You could argue that the UK brewers are too tradition bound and need to think out side the box more, but I wouldn't agree with that.

The recipe's I've made from Jamil have made good beer. I just prefer to think of some of them as modern American interpretations of Classic Styles, rather than as fine examples of traditional brews.
 
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TexLaw

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Bird, you make a very good point, and I should be fair. Jamil is not preaching anything that many, many American homebrewers do not want to hear. Really, he is not preaching at all as much as people take it that. He is, certainly, a convenient symbol for a trend that has been going on for a long time, but we should treat him mroe fairly.

As for the American Red, that is not a bad idea. However, it takes some time to get a new style in the guidelines. That is why the Specialty category exists. Just look at that list of existing styles already there, but for which there are no guidelines.

BJCP resists adding new styles until people show up with pitchforks and torches because BJCP does not want to complicate competition logistics until the time is right. When they add a style, competitions have to make room for it or decide not to receive entries for it (and then, boy, do you catch hell). Adding categories rarely adds entries, so you just get the same number of entries split up among more categories, and you end up with a subcategory that has three entries in a competition with 900. Once competitions start to see enough American Reds show up in Specialty, they'll get with the BJCP and add it to American Ales.

Now that you mention it, maybe that American Brownish thing I brew is more of an American Redish thing? :)


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In a sense, bird, you are correct. He is not an egomaniac, and if that's how my post was interpreted, I'm sorry. I think he is actually quite humble about his success.

I don't think he ever says anything directly about badmouthing other ways to complete a process, but he does have his characteristic "Weellllllllll....," which to me implies a tone of, "that's ok...but this seems to be better."

The one reference I was making (about brewing anti-style) is when he made a quip that was later turned into a soundbyte about one of the brewers that had guested on one of the shows. The brewer said "I don't brew to style" but Jamil insisted he did, then on another show made the "Black lager/Schwarzbier" comment in reference to that brewer.

And I was listening to another program recently that had a guest brewer talk about some things and when a question was posed and answered by that brewer, a comment from Justin or so was, "I wonder how Jamil would answer that." That's just showing that people are taking his word over anything else every time. I thought it was mildly disrespectful somewhat discrediting the guest like that.

My other point, that I don't think I expressed clearly is that I think, (and I know it's a double-edged sword type of deal), but his "brewing to style" mentality may be holding some people back. He gives straight recipes and tells people that's the epitome of style. Well, in my opinion, I think there should be an evolution of the brewer...go out and create your own recipes...don't just copy something that's already been done time and time again. I think he somewhat slows that down. I would hate to see a brewer who brews strictly recipe after recipe. On the other hand (the double edged sword deal), I'd hate to see someone stop brewing because their designed recipes don't turn out the way they have.

Now I know that you (bird) design your own recipes and consider yourself a disciple, so maybe I'm just looking too far past the whole argument.
 

the_bird

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PseudoChef said:
In a sense, bird, you are correct. He is not an egomaniac, and if that's how my post was interpreted, I'm sorry. I think he is actually quite humble about his success.

I don't think he ever says anything directly about badmouthing other ways to complete a process, but he does have his characteristic "Weellllllllll....," which to me implies a tone of, "that's ok...but this seems to be better."

The one reference I was making (about brewing anti-style) is when he made a quip that was later turned into a soundbyte about one of the brewers that had guested on one of the shows. The brewer said "I don't brew to style" but Jamil insisted he did, then on another show made the "Black lager/Schwarzbier" comment in reference to that brewer.

And I was listening to another program recently that had a guest brewer talk about some things and when a question was posed and answered by that brewer, a comment from Justin or so was, "I wonder how Jamil would answer that." That's just showing that people are taking his word over anything else every time. I thought it was mildly disrespectful somewhat discrediting the guest like that.

My other point, that I don't think I expressed clearly is that I think, (and I know it's a double-edged sword type of deal), but his "brewing to style" mentality may be holding some people back. He gives straight recipes and tells people that's the epitome of style. Well, in my opinion, I think there should be an evolution of the brewer...go out and create your own recipes...don't just copy something that's already been done time and time again. I think he somewhat slows that down. I would hate to see a brewer who brews strictly recipe after recipe. On the other hand (the double edged sword deal), I'd hate to see someone stop brewing because their designed recipes don't turn out the way they have.

Now I know that you (bird) design your own recipes and consider yourself a disciple, so maybe I'm just looking too far past the whole argument.
What you have to keep in mind with Jamil is that he brews for competitions, which dictates that he brew in a certain way - within a style, and to the edge of that style. Were he NOT focused on winning competitions, you might see more "experimental" styles.

I should say that my PRIMARY resource for making recipes tends to be Ray Daniels, although I will always listen to the Jamil podcast for the style. I guess saying that I'm a disciple is a bit strong (I rarely follow ANYBODY's recipe exactly), but I do tend to agree with much of what he says, and I do enjoy making a recipe that's pretty authentically to style.
 

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Beerthoven said:
I've been spending some time on a UK based brewing forum and many UK brewers think Jamil has it all wrong with his Milds, English Pale Ales, and to some extent his Porters (general consensus is that he uses way too much crystal malt - his beers are overly sweet, includes non-standard grains too often, and tends to overhop). You could argue that the UK brewers are too tradition bound and need to think out side the box more, but I wouldn't agree with that.

The recipe's I've made from Jamil have made good beer. I just prefer to think of some of them as modern American interpretations of Classic Styles, rather than as fine examples of traditional brews.
And I think that is why they conitnue to differentiate between the American and English styles. The BJCP writers are doing more of a service for the good of beer than a dis-service.

I'm not saying you are wrong about what you think is happening (pushing to west coast centric), but I think if anything that is good for the hobby of homebrewing, craft brewing, and beer in general. Pushing the limits of beer will only help the future of beer, IMHO.
 

Reverend JC

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How can one brew out of the box or radical styles when one dosent know what the box is?

That is what jamil is saying i think. Know the style you want to brew before you try to alter it.
 
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It's not Jamil.
It is what is said and done
on behalf of
or according to
or in his name
by those who "follow" him.

Reminds me of another J guy.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Anyone have any indication as to when the brewing softwares will be following suit with updates to the new guidelines? Specifically BeerSmith and/or ProMash.
 

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