How to pick a category for your beer?

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redneckbeagle

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I have taken a traditional recipe, used non traditional hops, Ale yeast instead of Lagering, and dry hopped that is not traditional to the style.

How do I pick a category to enter it in for a competition?

Once I did a way, way, way BIG Northern Brown Ale. It was definitely to high in Alcohol and would not fit in the Northern Brown Ale category and noted that on the label. The judges loved the beer, but kicked it out because they felt it should have been in the Northern Brown Ale category.
 

lowlife

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you have to pick the style and it will check guidelines for the style you choose. It isnt going to tell what style it is. It will tell you if it fits the style you choose. You have to play with it a bit and try different styles.
 

broadbill

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I haven't entered any competitions, but I've listened to Jamil's/Brewing Network podcast on the subject (and I staying in a Holiday Inn Express last night...:).

My take on it is that to win a BJCP competition, you need to brew to style. As you mentioned, your brew was rejected outright because it didn't fit the category you entered it. I don't think entering into another category will help because it won't fit into that category either...same problem.

Another option is to enter it in a specialty category and have it measured up to all of the other random styles of beer that fall into that category, since all of those other beers have the same problem you do with your beer. You might hit paydirt, you probably won't....how does someone objectively judge a fruit beer against a Imperial Northern Brown Ale (what style your beers sounds like...if there is such a thing!).

Your best bet would be to enter it into competition for the feedback to improve your process instead of shooting for a medal. Or, save that beer and drink it all yourself because you like it and brew another beer to style for competition.

My 0.02...
 
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redneckbeagle

redneckbeagle

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I did enter it in the specialty category and that is what they balked on. I used the guidelines to determine what category to place it in. How can any beer be judged objectively in a catch all specialty category. If I have to brew to tradition to enter into a category, I guess I am just going to drink it and forget the competitions. One mans opinion!!!!
 

Bokonon

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Another option is to enter it in a specialty category and have it measured up to all of the other random styles of beer that fall into that category, since all of those other beers have the same problem you do with your beer. You might hit paydirt, you probably won't....how does someone objectively judge a fruit beer against a Imperial Northern Brown Ale (what style your beers sounds like...if there is such a thing!).
In any category (except best of show) the beers aren't judged against each other they are judged against the style guidelines. For the specialty category the judge has more work to do since all the should have to go on is the base style and then what information is provided to them by the entrant.
 

McKBrew

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If it's borderline, then you can probably get away with putting it in a specific style category. No one has a palate so good that they'll be able to tell.

If not, you'll have to go with the catch all specialty category.
 

Jaymo

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I did enter it in the specialty category and that is what they balked on. I used the guidelines to determine what category to place it in. How can any beer be judged objectively in a catch all specialty category. If I have to brew to tradition to enter into a category, I guess I am just going to drink it and forget the competitions. One mans opinion!!!!
Exactly right. Competitions are for people interested in trying to brew a beer to fit within certain guidelines. It's nice to get feedback if you're interested in trying to get as close as you can to the guidelines laid down. However, that said, there really isn't a lot of room in competitions for the experimental brewer, or even for a great beer that doesn't fit within a traditional style, specialty category aside. And as it was pointed out in this thread already, the specialty category is a tough one to judge. You're definitely judging each beer against its own description at that point, then comparing the scores.

I even know of competitions that friends were helping judge where the finalists for Best in Show were a Flanders Red, and a Wit. The winner got to have the beer brewed by a microbrewery local to the competition. They picked the Wit just so the brewery didn't have to mess with the sour beer, regardless of which was better.

These are all reasons I just stay away from competitions whether I'm trying to brew to style or experiment!
 

Homercidal

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Competitions are a great way to get feedback on your process, and also a great way to practice brewing to a style. They aren't usually so good at anything else, from what I've read. Some competitions are not based on the BJCP guidelines and will simply rate the beer on it's perceived qualities. These are rare.

Generally when you enter a competition you will either be brewing a beer to a particular style, or you will know enough about the various styles (and how to taste) to know which one to place it into.

Either way, you will have to know about beer styles. If you just want feedback on your beer, just try to place it best you can and see what happens. If you are serious about entering competitions to get the awards, then you really have to study up on beer styles, and maybe consider reading the BJCP guidelines and study guide.

Or, find a competition that doesn't award based on style guildelines, but rather on the beers own merits (and demerits).
 

Sigafoos

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When in doubt, 23A. You know what, that's going in my sig.

In AWOG there's an Experimental/Specialty category (subset of 23A) where you describe your processes, etc. We had a no-boil stout, some historical attempts, etc as well as the spruce beers and other wacky additives.
 

BADS197

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It goes one of two ways....


1. Drinkable
2. Not AS drinkable but still drinkable.

I dont care about style.... just want good beer.
 
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