29C. Specialty Fruit Beer

A Specialty Fruit Beer is a fruit beer with some additional ingredients or processes, such as fermentable sugars (honey, brown sugar, invert sugar, etc.) added.

See the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer section for additional comments, particularly on evaluating the balance of added ingredients with the base beer.

Overall Impression

A harmonious marriage of fruit, sugar, and beer, but still recognizable as a beer. The fruit and sugar character should both be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.

Appearance

Same as fruit beer.

Aroma

Same as fruit beer, except that some additional fermentables (honey, molasses, etc.) may add an aroma component. Whatever additional aroma component is present should be in balance with the fruit and the beer components, and be a pleasant combination.

Flavor

Same as fruit beer, except that some additional fermentables (honey, molasses, etc.) may add a flavor component. Whatever additional flavor component is present should be in balance with the fruit and the beer components, and be a pleasant combination. Added sugars should not have a raw, unfermented flavor. Some added sugars will have unfermentable elements that may provide a fuller finish; fully fermentable sugars may thin out the finish.

Mouthfeel

Same as fruit beer, although depending on the type of sugar added, could increase or decrease the body.

Comments

If the additional fermentables or processes do not add a distinguishable character to the beer, enter it as a normal 29A Fruit Beer and omit a description of the extra ingredients or processes.

Entry Instructions

The entrant must specify a base style; the declared style does not have to be a Classic Style. The entrant must specify the type of fruit used. The entrant must specify the type of additional fermentable sugar or special process employed.

Vital Statistics

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

Commercial Examples

New Planet Raspberry Ale.

Style Attributes

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30. Spiced Beer

We use the common or culinary definitions of spices, herbs, and vegetables, not botanical or scientific ones. In general, spices are the dried seeds, seed pods, fruit, roots, bark, etc. of plants used for flavoring food. Herbs are leafy plants or parts of plants (leaves, flowers, petals, stalks) used for flavoring foods. Vegetables are savory or less sweet edible plant products, used primarily for cooking or sometimes eating raw. Vegetables can include some botanical fruit. This category explicitly includes all culinary spices, herbs, and vegetables, as well as nuts (anything with ‘nut’ in the name, including coconut), chile peppers, coffee, chocolate, spruce tips, rose hips, hibiscus, fruit peels/zest (but not juice), rhubarb, and the like. It does not include culinary fruit or grains. Flavorful fermentable sugars and syrups (agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, sorghum, treacle, honey, etc.) can be included only in combination with other allowable ingredients, and should not have a dominant character. Any combination of allowable ingredients may also be entered. See Category 29 for a definition and examples of fruit.

30A. Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer

See the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer section for additional comments, particularly on evaluating the balance of added ingredients with the base beer.

Overall Impression

A harmonious marriage of SHV and beer, but still recognizable as a beer. The SHV character should be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.

Appearance

Appearance should be appropriate to the declared base beer and declared special ingredients. For lighter-colored beers with spices, herbs or vegetables that exhibit distinctive colors, the colors may be noticeable in the beer and possibly the head. May have some haze or be clear. Head formation may be adversely affected by some ingredients, such as chocolate.

Aroma

The character of the particular spices, herbs and/or vegetables (SHV) should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some SHV (e.g., ginger, cinnamon) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., some vegetables) – allow for a range of SHV character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of each SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. Hop aroma may be absent or balanced with SHV, depending on the style. The SHV(s) should add an extra complexity to the beer, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.

Flavor

As with aroma, the distinctive flavor character associated with the particular SHV(s) should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The individual character of each SHV(s) may not always be identifiable when used in combination. The balance of SHV with the underlying beer is vital, and the SHV character should not be so artificial and/or overpowering as to overwhelm the beer. Hop bitterness, flavor, malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters, should be appropriate to the base beer and be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive SHV flavors present. Some SHV(s) are inherently bitter and may result in a beer more bitter than the declared base style.

Mouthfeel

Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the base beer style being presented. Some SHV(s) may add additional body, although fermentable additions may thin out the beer. Some SHV(s) may add a bit of astringency, although a “raw” spice character is undesirable.

Comments

Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made spice, herb or vegetable (SHV) beer. The SHV(s) should complement the original style and not overwhelm it. The key attributes of the declared base style will be different with the addition of spices, herbs and/or vegetables; do not expect the base beer to taste the same as the unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the pleasantness and balance of the resulting combination. The individual character of each SHV may not always be individually identifiable when used in combination.

Entry Instructions

The entrant must specify a base style, but the declared style does not have to be a Classic Style. The entrant must specify the type of spices, herbs, or vegetables used, but individual ingredients do not need to be specified if a well-known spice blend is used (e.g., apple pie spice, curry powder, chili powder).

Vital Statistics

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer.

Commercial Examples

Alesmith Speedway Stout, Bell’s Java Stout, Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA, Founders Breakfast Stout, Rogue Chipotle Ale, Traquair Jacobite Ale, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.

Style Attributes

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30B. Autumn Seasonal Beer

Autumn Seasonal Beers are beers that suggest cool weather and the autumn harvest season, and may include pumpkin or other squashes, and the associated spices. See the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer section for additional comments, particularly on evaluating the balance of added ingredients with the base beer.

Overall Impression

An amber to copper, spiced beer that often has a moderately rich body and slightly warming finish suggesting a good accompaniment for the cool fall season, and often evocative of Thanksgiving traditions.

Appearance

Generally medium amber to coppery-brown (lighter versions are more common). Usually clear, although darker versions may be virtually opaque. Some chill haze is acceptable. Generally has a well-formed head that is often off-white to tan. Some versions with squashes will take on an unusual hue for beer, with orange-like hints.

Aroma

A wide range of aromatics is possible, although many examples are reminiscent of pumpkin pie, candied yams, or similar harvest or (US) Thanksgiving themed dishes. Any combination of aromatics that suggests the fall season is welcome. The base beer style often has a malty profile that supports the balanced presentation of the aromatics from spices and possibly other special ingredients. Additional fermentables (e.g., brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) may lend their own unique aromatics. Hop aromatics are often absent, subdued, or slightly spicy. Alcohol aromatics may be found in some examples, but this character should be restrained. The overall aroma should be balanced and harmonious, and is often fairly complex and inviting.

Flavor

Many interpretations are possible; allow for brewer creativity as long as the resulting product is balanced and provides some spice (and optionally, sugar and vegetable) presentation. Spices associated with the fall season are typical (as mentioned in the Aroma section). The spices and optional fermentables should be supportive and blend well with the base beer style. Rich, malty and/or sweet malt-based flavors are common, and may include caramel, toasty, biscuity, or nutty flavors (toasted bread crust or cooked pie crust flavors are welcome). May include distinctive flavors from specific fermentables (molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc.), although these elements are not required. Flavor derived from squash-based vegetables are often elusive. The wide range of special ingredients should be supportive and balanced, not so prominent as to overshadow the base beer. Bitterness and hop flavor are generally restrained so as to not interfere with the spices and special ingredients. Generally finishes rather full and satisfying, and often has some alcohol flavor. Roasted malt characteristics are typically absent.

Mouthfeel

A wide range of interpretations is possible. Body is generally medium to full, and a certain malty and/or vegetable-based chewiness is often present. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation is typical. Many examples will show some well-aged, warming alcohol content, but without being overly hot. The beers do not have to be overly strong to show some warming effects.

Comments

Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made Autumn Seasonal beer. The special ingredients should complement the base beer and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and special ingredients work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations. If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor. Whenever spices, herbs or additional fermentables are declared, each should be noticeable and distinctive in its own way (although not necessarily individually identifiable; balanced with the other ingredients is still critical) – in other words, the beer should read as a spiced beer but without having to tell that specific spices are present (even if declared).

Characteristic Ingredients

Spices are required, and often include those evocative of the fall or Thanksgiving season (e.g., allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger) but any combination is possible and creativity is encouraged. Flavorful adjuncts are often used (e.g., molasses, invert sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.). Squash-type or gourd-type vegetables (most frequently pumpkin) are often used.

Entry Instructions

The entrant must specify a base style, but the declared style does not have to be a Classic Style. The entrant must specify the type of spices, herbs, or vegetables used; individual ingredients do not need to be specified if a well-known blend of spices is used (e.g., pumpkin pie spice). The beer must contain spices, and may contain vegetables and/or sugars.

Vital Statistics

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer. ABV is generally above 5%, and most examples are somewhat amber-copper in color.

Commercial Examples

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, Southampton Pumpkin Ale.

Style Attributes

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30C. Winter Seasonal Beer

Winter Seasonal Beers are beers that suggest cold weather and the Christmas holiday season, and may include holiday spices, specialty sugars, and other products that are reminiscent of mulling spices or Christmas holiday desserts. See the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer section for additional comments, particularly on evaluating the balance of added ingredients with the base beer.

Overall Impression

A stronger, darker, spiced beer that often has a rich body and warming finish suggesting a good accompaniment for the cold winter season.

Appearance

Generally medium amber to very dark brown (darker versions are more common). Usually clear, although darker versions may be virtually opaque. Some chill haze is acceptable. Generally has a well-formed head that is often off-white to tan.

Aroma

A wide range of aromatics is possible, although many examples are reminiscent of Christmas cookies, gingerbread, English-type Christmas pudding, evergreen trees, or mulling spices. Any combination of aromatics that suggests the holiday season is welcome. The base beer style often has a malty profile that supports the balanced presentation of the aromatics from spices and possibly other special ingredients. Additional fermentables (e.g., honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) may lend their own unique aromatics. Hop aromatics are often absent, subdued, or slightly spicy. Some fruit character (often of dried citrus peel, or dried fruit such as raisins or plums) is optional but acceptable. Alcohol aromatics may be found in some examples, but this character should be restrained. The overall aroma should be balanced and harmonious, and is often fairly complex and inviting.

Flavor

Many interpretations are possible; allow for brewer creativity as long as the resulting product is balanced and provides some spice presentation. Spices associated with the holiday season are typical (as mentioned in the Aroma section). The spices and optional fermentables should be supportive and blend well with the base beer style. Rich, malty and/or sweet malt-based flavors are common, and may include caramel, toast, nutty, or chocolate flavors. May include some dried fruit or dried fruit peel flavors such as raisin, plum, fig, orange peel or lemon peel. May include distinctive flavors from specific fermentables (molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc.), although these elements are not required. A light evergreen tree character is optional but found in some examples. The wide range of special ingredients should be supportive and balanced, not so prominent as to overshadow the base beer. Bitterness and hop flavor are generally restrained so as to not interfere with the spices and special ingredients. Generally finishes rather full and satisfying, and often has some alcohol flavor. Roasted malt characteristics are rare, and not usually stronger than chocolate.

Mouthfeel

A wide range of interpretations is possible. Body is generally medium to full, and a certain malty chewiness is often present. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation is typical. Many examples will show some well-aged, warming alcohol content, but without being overly hot. The beers do not have to be overly strong to show some warming effects.

Comments

Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made Winter Seasonal Beer. The special ingredients should complement the base beer and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and special ingredients work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations. If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor. Whenever spices, herbs or additional fermentables are declared, each should be noticeable and distinctive in its own way (although not necessarily individually identifiable; balanced with the other ingredients is still critical). Whenever spices, herbs or additional fermentables are declared, each should be noticeable and distinctive in its own way (although not necessarily individually identifiable; balanced with the other ingredients is still critical) – in other words, the beer should read as a spiced beer but without having to tell that specific spices are present (even if declared).

History

Throughout history, beer of a somewhat higher alcohol content and richness has been enjoyed during the winter holidays, when old friends get together to enjoy the season. Many breweries produce unique seasonal offerings that may be darker, stronger, spiced, or otherwise more characterful than their normal beers. Spiced versions are an American or Belgian tradition, since English or German breweries traditionally do not use spices in their beer.

Characteristic Ingredients

Generally ales, although some dark strong lagers exist. Spices are required, and often include those evocative of the Christmas season (e.g., allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger) but any combination is possible and creativity is encouraged. Fruit peel (e.g., oranges, lemon) may be used, as may subtle additions of other fruits. Flavorful adjuncts are often used (e.g., molasses, treacle, invert sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.).

Entry Instructions

The entrant must specify a base style, but the declared style does not have to be a Classic Style. The entrant must specify the type of spices, sugars, fruits, or additional fermentables used; individual ingredients do not need to be specified if a well-known blend of spices is used (e.g., mulling spice).

Vital Statistics

OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer. ABV is generally above 6%, and most examples are somewhat dark in color.

Commercial Examples

Anchor Our Special Ale, Goose Island Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager Beer, Weyerbacher Winter Ale.

Style Attributes

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