31. Alternative Fermentables Beer

This category contains specialty beers that have some additional ingredient (grain or sugar) that adds a distinctive character.

31A. Alternative Grain Beer

An Alternative Fermentables Beer is a standard beer (Classic Style or not) with additional or non-standard brewing grains (e.g., rye, oats, buckwheat, spelt, millet, sorghum, rice, etc.) added or used exclusively. Gluten-free (GF) beers made from completely gluten-free ingredients may be entered here, while GF beers using process-based gluten removal should be entered in their respective base style categories.

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 base beer enhanced by or featuring the character of additional grain or grains. The specific character depends greatly on the character of the added grains.

Appearance

Same as base beer style, although some additional haze may be noticeable.

Aroma

Same as base beer style. The added grain will lend a particular character, although with some grains the beer will simply seem a bit more grainy or nutty. The alternative grain should provide the major aroma profile for this beer.

Flavor

Same as base beer style. The additional grain should be noticeable in flavor, although it may not be necessarily identifiable. However, the alternative grain should provide the major flavor profile for this beer. Different grains have different characters; the additional grain should enhance the flavor of the base beer. Many will add an additional grainy, bready, or nutty flavor.

Mouthfeel

Same as the base beer, although many additional grains will tend to increase the body (oats, rye) and increase the viscosity, while some may decrease the body (GF grains) resulting in thinness.

Comments

If the alternative grain does not provide a noticeable distinguishable character to the beer, enter it as the base style. This style should not be used for styles where the alternative grain is fundamental to the style definition (e.g., Rye IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Rice- or Corn-based International Lager). Note that sake is not beer, and is not intended for this category.

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 alternative grain used.

Vital Statistics

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

Commercial Examples

Green’s Indian Pale Ale, Lakefront New Grist, New Planet Pale Ale.

Style Attributes

31B. Alternative Sugar Beer

An Alternative Fermentables Beer is a standard beer (Classic Style or not) with additional fermentable sugars (e.g., honey, brown sugar, invert sugar, molasses, treacle, maple syrup, sorghum, 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 sugar and beer, but still recognizable as a beer. The sugar character should both be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.

Appearance

Same as the base beer, although some sugars will bring additional colors.

Aroma

Same as the base 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 beer components, and be a pleasant combination.

Flavor

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

Comments

If the additional fermentables do not add a distinguishable character to the beer, enter it in the base style category. A honey-based beer should not have so much honey that it reads more like a mead with beer (i.e., a braggot) than a honey beer. This style should not be used for styles where the alternative sugar is fundamental to the style definition, or where a small amount of neutral-flavored sugar is used simply to increase gravity, increase attenuation, or lighten flavor or body; those beers should be entered as the normal base style.

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 sugar used.

Vital Statistics

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

Commercial Examples

Bell’s Hopslam, Fullers Honey Dew, Lagunitas Brown Shugga’.

Style Attributes

32. Smoked Beer

This category contains specialty beers that have a smoke character.

32A. Classic Style Smoked Beer

Overall Impression

A smoke-enhanced beer showing good balance between the smoke and beer character, while remaining pleasant to drink. Balance in the use of smoke, hops and malt character is exhibited by the better examples.

Appearance

Variable. The appearance should reflect the base beer style, although the color of the beer is often a bit darker than the plain base style.

Aroma

The aroma should be a pleasant balance between the expected aroma of the base beer and the smokiness imparted by the use of smoked malts. The intensity and character of the smoke and base beer style can vary, with either being prominent in the balance. Smokiness may vary from low to assertive; however, balance in the overall presentation is the key to well-made examples. The quality and secondary characteristics of the smoke are reflective of the source of the smoke (e.g., alder, oak, beechwood). Sharp, phenolic, harsh, rubbery, or burnt smoke-derived aromatics are inappropriate.

Flavor

As with aroma, there should be a balance between smokiness and the expected flavor characteristics of the base beer style. Smokiness may vary from low to assertive. Smoky flavors may range from woody to somewhat bacon-like depending on the type of malts used. The balance of underlying beer characteristics and smoke can vary, although the resulting blend should be somewhat balanced and enjoyable. Smoke can add some dryness to the finish. Harsh, bitter, burnt, charred, rubbery, sulfury, medicinal, or phenolic smoky characteristics are generally inappropriate (although some of these characteristics may be present in some base styles; however, the smoked malt shouldn’t contribute these flavors).

Mouthfeel

Varies with the base beer style. Significant astringent, phenolic smoke-derived harshness is inappropriate.

Comments

This style is for any beer that exhibits smoke as a principal flavor and aroma characteristic other than the Bamberg-style Rauchbier (i.e., beechwood-smoked Märzen), which has its own style. Any style of beer can be smoked; the goal is to reach a pleasant balance between the smoke character and the base beer style. Entries should be judged on how well that style is represented, and how well it is balanced with the smoke character. Entries with a specific type or types of smoke cited will be judged on how well that type of smoke is recognizable and marries with the base style. Judges should evaluate the beers mostly on the overall balance, and how well the smoke character enhances the base beer.

History

The process of using smoked malts has been adapted by craft brewers to many styles. German brewers have traditionally used smoked malts in bock, doppelbock, weissbier, dunkel, schwarzbier, helles, Pils, and other specialty styles.

Characteristic Ingredients

Different materials used to smoke malt result in unique flavor and aroma characteristics. Beechwood, or other hardwood (oak, maple, mesquite, alder, pecan, apple, cherry, other fruitwoods) smoked malts may be used. The various woods may remind one of certain smoked products due to their food association (e.g., hickory with ribs, maple with bacon or sausage, and alder with salmon). Evergreen wood should never be used since it adds a medicinal, piney flavor to the malt. Noticeable peat-smoked malt is universally undesirable due to its sharp, piercing phenolics and dirt-like earthiness. The remaining ingredients vary with the base style. If smoked malts are combined with other unusual ingredients (fruits, vegetables, spices, honey, etc.) in noticeable quantities, the resulting beer should be entered in the Specialty Smoked Beer.

Entry Instructions

The entrant must specify a Classic Style base beer. The entrant must specify the type of wood or smoke if a varietal smoke character is noticeable.

Vital Statistics

Varies with the base beer style.

Commercial Examples

Alaskan Smoked Porter, Schlenkerla Weizen Rauchbier, Schlenkerla Ur-Bock Rauchbier, Spezial Bockbier, Spezial Lagerbier, Spezial Weissbier.

Style Attributes

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