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Does all beer have to fit a BJCP style?

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z-bob

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I brewed a German Dampfbier about 8 weeks ago, and think it would be great brewed with a more neutral yeast and a little more hops. But that would be out-of-style for anything I can find; it's kind of in between Kolsch and Altbier. So what do I call it? (85% pilsner malt, 15% Munich, and noble hops to about 25 IBU's, fermented cool with ale yeast and not cold-conditioned)

Just make up a name, like German pale ale, or German farmhouse ale? Or pretend it lagered and call it Dortmund Export? Or don't call it anything?
 

Kent88

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Kellerbier? No, that would take a lager yeast.

How is it not an altbier? I'm not super familiar with the style, but it kind of sounds like one.

I assume you're thinking about entering it in a contest?
 

GPP33

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All beer must strictly fit a style or it is bound to be crap.


No, not really. Styles are guidlimes so you can communicate to others what the beer will be like. Kinda important for commercial operations, largely unimportant for home brewers. Brew what you like and call it beer!
 

V-Fib

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I've only made a babies handful of my own recipes so far but the BJCP guidelines have never crossed my mind. I use an app call "Wort Homebrew Calculator" on my phone as a base to not get to outrageous IBUs or ETOH levels but I'm still to new and uneducated to really know what hops, grains or yeast fits each style... Ignorance is bliss, call it what you want. My vote is for German Deadpool Dampper Ale.
 

Bosh

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If you had a time machine you could bring back literally hundreds of beers that would be wildly outside the style they were sold as. The BJCP often has a very narrow snapshot of a style that continuously changed over decades and even centuries. I like recipes inspired by history (and then tweaked with a lot, don't bother with strict reconstructions) so I often go out of my way to make sure my beer doesn't fit easily in any BJCP categories.
 
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z-bob

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All beer must strictly fit a style or it is bound to be crap.

No, not really. Styles are guidlimes so you can communicate to others what the beer will be like. Kinda important for commercial operations, largely unimportant for home brewers. Brew what you like and call it beer!
So Scheissebier then? Thanks! :mug:
 

TWAL

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Are you trying to enter it into competition ?
Get the IBU's up to 30 and call it a California Common.
 

worlddivides

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There are a lot of commercial beers out there that don't fit into BJCP guidelines for any specific style.

I've made both beers that magically and perfectly fit into the BJCP guidelines and ones that don't even remotely fit in anything they have. I just recently brewed something that fits halfway in between "American Amber Ale" and "American Pale Ale" in their guidelines. Based just on the numbers (SG, FG, AVB, IBUs, SRM, etc.), it 100% matches up with an English bitter for style, but it's definitely not an English bitter since it uses California yeast and 5 varieties of West Coast American citrus and tropical fruit hops.

But the guidelines are only there as guidelines. You obviously don't have to follow them. Commercial breweries don't. Why should you?
 

mongoose33

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A friend of mine has 22 years experience brewing, is going to be a brewmaster at a new microbrewery pub.

He critiqued a few of my beers, and it seemed he wanted to fit every one into exact style guidelines. Not enough carbonation for this style, not enough hops for that style--all I wanted him to do was tell me if they were good.

I have a rye beer I brew and I have no idea what style it might fit into. All I know is I love it, and I keep brewing it. He thought it was OK and offered up some suggestions that would have made it fit a style better, but I don't know that I want to do that.

It seems--he's not the only one I know who appears to do this--that he can't drink a beer without first plugging into a style, from which he then judges it.

I find it weird--this beer was not malty enough, that one not hoppy enough. And yet, across all the myriad styles, some beers aren't malty, some aren't hoppy. So why can't it be what it is, instead of assessing it against this or that style?

I do brew some styles--I have a cal common that I think is terrific and representative of the style (thank you catdaddy66 for the recipe), a few others...but as far as fitting a style, it doesn't interest me much.

That said, my LHB club is having a throwdown in early april and one of the brews is a German Pils. So I'm brewing one of those to see if I can at least get in the ballpark. We'll see if I can hit a style. :)
 

GilaMinumBeer

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This is not to say that no other can, but ...

I once had the pleasure of knowing a brewer / judge that was not so indoctrinated into the BJCP bible that he could no longer evaluate a beer for being a beer. He was a joy to discuss beer with and a pleasure to get feedback from.

If you told him it was style A, he'd go into BJCP mode.

But if you told him it is just a beer, he'd back off of the absolute and be subjective about balance of malt, hops contribution, and carbonation.
 

roadkizzle

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I love drinking and brewing beer that does not follow style guides.

But the styles to me are either a way of communication expectations or getting feedback.

When I'm purchasing a beer normally the only way to know what I'm ordering is the style they list. That sets my expectations and I order what I am wanting to drink.

In my area there is a brewery that just calls their beer a dunkel. It is heavy on the chocolate/coffee roastiness. But when I see and order the beer I am expecting one with more complex dark malt flavors such as bready, caramel, or dark fruits, with any roastiness being reserved. If this was listed as a schwarzbier, or dark lager, or stout lager, or roasty lager... Then I'd probably really enjoy the beer but the discrepancy between what I was expecting and what I received is too large and I have a hard time enjoying the beer.

When I make beers I want to share them with people... But they always ask what it is so there needs to be some communication capabilities.

If I make a beer to a style then it's easy. I just tell them I made a hefeweizen, or pale ale, or pilsner.

If I make a variation on a style then I can add an adjective. Herbal hefeweizen, or smoked hefeweizen, or english dortmunder export (dortmunder export with all english malt and hops).

If I make something out of left field then I'll have a choice. Give only a broad category like ale or lager and let them choose what they want, or start with the closest style and give a lengthy explanation of the deviations.
 

indymedic

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I have only created a few recipes so with little experience I use the BJCP for reference on what I want to create. I'm not a contest Brewer so I don't care if it fits perfectly but it's a good way to get a start.

I think the problem with asking a BJCP judge to critique your beer for taste is that is not what there trained to do. They are trained to judge based on the style guidelines. If your not entering it into a contest the brew what you and your friends like to drink and don't worry about style to much.
 
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Mad4sax

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If I had a dollar for every score sheet that said "Good beer with no flaws but doesn't meet the guidelines of the category you entered it in." :D
Just had a cider get the same comment.

If you are not entering it into a contest I say brew away and have fun. :mug:
 
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z-bob

z-bob

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I've been brewing all kinds of vastly different beers, usually making up my own recipe after doing some research about a style. Sometimes they are good, sometimes not. I want to improve my game; have a master recipe that I brew over and over again, making small changes to see how they affect the outcome.

I'm not planning to enter any contests, just wondering what to call my beers when I take a liter to the brew club meeting :) (as long as I call it alcohol, they will drink it; I've taken wine before when I didn't have any beer ready)
 

Kent88

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I find many beers that I almost just winged-it when I made them fell into a style category. Then when I try to tweak my beer to make it a little different from a style I like, like a little strong or weaker, it puzzles me when it no longer fits a category.

It got to the point where I just decided that I would try to conform to guidelines until I got close to something I like and learned enough about it that I could tweak it to further suit my tastes.
 

DromJohn

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Yes. All beers fit a BCJP style.
See Category 23:
This is explicitly a catch-all category for any beer that does not fit into an existing style category. No beer is ever "out of style" in this category, unless it fits elsewhere.
 

Cavpilot2000

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Styles are good for classifying, but you should never feel bound to them (however, it is helpful to be close if entering into competition).

But your beer sounds like an Altbier.
If you used lager yeast, it would be a Kellerbier.

In any case, it sounds mighty tasty.
 

labcor

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I follow my own rules and tastes.
I only know two styles: I like it, I do not like it.
If I like it, I'll do it again. If I do not like it, I do not repeat it.
I respect those who are purists of styles. I am not one. I am a beer drinker.
 

bobeer

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For bjcp competitions I go by the saying of brew to style, enter to taste.

For my own personal consumption however I just brew what I want to drink and style be damned. I use beer smith just to make sure my IBU's are good to go and to see what my OG should be. No limits brewing is what makes small batch brewing fun.
 

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