BJCP category for oak aged imperial stout with cacao nibs?

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Unicorn_Platypus

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What BJCP category would be appropriate for an oak aged imperial stout with cacao nibs?
 

Qhrumphf

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Cat 33 Wood Beer. The confusing part is which category as the guidelines are slightly contradictory with this

If it's got any spirit character (bourbon, whiskey, rum, whatever), then it's definitely Specialty Wood Aged.

If it's just oak, no perceptable spirit character it could go in either Wood Aged OR Specialty Wood Aged. One opinion is that Specialty Wood Aged is for spirit wood ONLY so you'd go into regular Wood Aged, the other opinion (mine included) is that added cocoa nibs put it in Specialty Wood Aged as that category makes mention of wood or special ingredients (while the regular category does not).

Either way, it goes in one of those two. As a judge I wouldn't fault you for either one.

You'd enter as "Imperial Stout with cocoa nibs aged on [type of spirit if applicable] oak"
 
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Unicorn_Platypus

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Cat 33 Wood Beer. The confusing part is which category as the guidelines are slightly contradictory with this

If it's got any spirit character (bourbon, whiskey, rum, whatever), then it's definitely Specialty Wood Aged.

If it's just oak, no perceptable spirit character it could go in either Wood Aged OR Specialty Wood Aged. One opinion is that Specialty Wood Aged is for spirit wood ONLY so you'd go into regular Wood Aged, the other opinion (mine included) is that added cocoa nibs put it in Specialty Wood Aged as that category makes mention of wood or special ingredients (while the regular category does not).

Either way, it goes in one of those two. As a judge I wouldn't fault you for either one.

You'd enter as "Imperial Stout with cocoa nibs aged on [type of spirit if applicable] oak"
that's exactly why I was confused. This is just oak with no spirits
 

Qhrumphf

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In that case it could go in either, but it's a judgement call with a risk that whichever you enter your judge say is the wrong one. Or hopefully you get reasonable judges who see intent and won't slam you over a particularly vague categorical quibble either way.
 
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Unicorn_Platypus

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In that case it could go in either, but it's a judgement call with a risk that whichever you enter your judge say is the wrong one. Or hopefully you get reasonable judges who see intent and won't slam you over a particularly vague categorical quibble either way.
So I might be better off just drinking them :)
 

Amadeo38

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So I might be better off just drinking them :)
Is the cacao a feature that is prominent? Or does it blend in with the roasted malts and simply add to the complexity? If the latter, going straight wood-aged beer category would do best, assuming the oak is also a perceptible and somewhat prominent feature. Otherwise you might get dinged for “not enough wood character for this category”, as has happened to me in the past.
 

Qhrumphf

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Is the cacao a feature that is prominent? Or does it blend in with the roasted malts and simply add to the complexity? If the latter, going straight wood-aged beer category would do best, assuming the oak is also a perceptible and somewhat prominent feature. Otherwise you might get dinged for “not enough wood character for this category”, as has happened to me in the past.
Good point.

Principle rule of entering a beer in a comp: enter how it is perceived, not how it was intended.
 
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If you have enough bottles, enter it into both 33A and 33B. It's always interesting to enter beers into very similar categories...
 
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Unicorn_Platypus

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I'll have to taste it in a few months and make the game time decision based on how its tasting

Its not yet ready, so can't say right now.

I'm doing 2oz of medium + oak with 4oz of cacao nibs aged for ~3 months.

I'm soaking the oak in bourbon, but discarding the bourbon. This is to remove tanins. I've had success doing this in previous batches. However, the bourbon is not perceptible unless I add additional bourbon. In this case I will not be adding additional bourbon.
 
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Is the cacao a feature that is prominent? Or does it blend in with the roasted malts and simply add to the complexity? If the latter, going straight wood-aged beer category would do best, assuming the oak is also a perceptible and somewhat prominent feature. Otherwise you might get dinged for “not enough wood character for this category”, as has happened to me in the past.
I entered an oak aged barleywine into the NHBC. It pulled a silver certificate, so did ok. However, the judges said it needed more oak. I thought it had too much oak character (or at least was on the threshold). Go figure.

I think another lesson for competitions (as the judges are taking small samples and tasting many different beers) is to go for a beer that packs a lot of character. This might not always be what I would want to drink a whole pint of, but it does better if just taking a few sips.
 

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I think another lesson for competitions (as the judges are taking small samples and tasting many different beers) is to go for a beer that packs a lot of character. This might not always be what I would want to drink a whole pint of, but it does better if just taking a few sips.
Yeah, I feel this is a downfall of competitions. If you look at the AHA Gold Medal recipes they are almost always at the top end or above the guidelines for the style, and often with additions that are not appropriate for the style (e.g. Brown Porter with Chocolate). I judge informally for my club, and sometimes a beer that is very good in a pint seems bland with 2 oz in a cup...especially when it is the 8th beer in line.
 
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Yeah, I feel this is a downfall of competitions. If you look at the AHA Gold Medal recipes they are almost always at the top end or above the guidelines for the style, and often with additions that are not appropriate for the style (e.g. Brown Porter with Chocolate). I judge informally for my club, and sometimes a beer that is very good in a pint seems bland with 2 oz in a cup...especially when it is the 8th beer in line.
So are you saying I could enter this imperial stout with oak and cacao nibs into the normal RIS category?
 

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So are you saying I could enter this imperial stout with oak and cacao nibs into the normal RIS category?
If the oak and cocoa are identifiable, don't do that (but if they're imperceptible then it'd be the right move)

We see that a LOT in comps. Coffee and oak in the stout categories in particular. And it'll get nailed every time (or should get nailed even in the rare case it doesn't)

It's one thing to quibble over which specialty category to enter something in.

But specialty beers don't belong in base style. Ever.
 

CascadesBrewer

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So are you saying I could enter this imperial stout with oak and cacao nibs into the normal RIS category?
No, unless the flavors are very subtle. I do think if you want to win in competitions, it helps to push the upper boundaries of the style. I doubt a well executed Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone is going to make it very far.

Here is the 1.063 OG/6.9% ABV Brown Porter with 12 oz of Chocolate Powder that won a Gold medal. It is probably a good beer, but not really a Brown Porter. (
http://www.alternativecommutepueblo.com/2009/09/2015-brown-porter.html
https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipe/dysons-chocolate-porter/
https://www.bjcp.org/styles04/Category12.php#style12A
 

InLimbo

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Principle rule of entering a beer in a comp: enter how it is perceived, not how it was intended.
This should be a public service announcement for people entering competitions who are trying to medal (or ribbon). Evaluate your own beer before you enter it (or better yet, ask a BJCP judge in your club to evaluate it), and then decide which category it fits best in.

Back to OP: if the oak in your current imperial stout isn't very discernable, you would do theoretically do fine to enter it in the 20C Imperial Stout category. If the oak character is huge and in your face, then you might want to look at one of the 33 categories. Heck, as someone else mentioned earlier consider entering it in both categories and see how it does.
 
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