28C. Wild Specialty Beer

Intended for variations of a Base Style beer from style 28A, 28B, or 28D. These variations may include the addition of one or more Specialty-Type Ingredients; aging in non-traditional wood varieties that impart a significant and identifiable wood character (e.g., Spanish Cedar, Amburana); or aging in barrels previously containing another alcohol (e.g., spirits, wine, cider).

Overall Impression

An American Wild Ale with fruit, herbs, spices, or other Specialty-Type Ingredients.


Variable by base style, generally showing a color, tint, or hue from any Specialty-Type Ingredient (especially if fruit is used) in both the beer and the head. Clarity can be variable; some haze is not a fault. Head retention is often poor.


Variable by base style. The Specialty-Type Ingredients should be evident, as well as the defining characteristics of a wild fermentation per the base style. The best examples will blend the aromatics from the fermentation with the special ingredients, creating an aroma that may be difficult to attribute precisely.


Variable by base style. The Specialty-Type Ingredients should be evident, as well as the defining characteristics of a wild fermentation per the base style. If fruit was fermented, the sweetness is generally gone so that only the fruit esters typically remain. Fruit and other Specialty-Type Ingredients can add sourness of their own; if so, the sourness could be prominent, but should not be overwhelming. The acidity and tannin from any fruit or other Specialty-Type Ingredients can both enhance the dryness of the beer, so care must be taken with the balance. The acidity should enhance the perception of any fruit flavor, not detract from it. Wood notes, if present, add flavor but should be balanced.


Variable by base style. Generally has a light body, lighter than what might be expected from the base style. Generally moderate to high carbonation; carbonation should balance the base style if one is declared. The presence of tannin from some Specialty-Type ingredients (often fruit or wood) can provide a slight astringency, enhance the body, or make the beer seem drier than it is.


This style is intended for fruited (and other added Specialty-Type Ingredient) versions of other styles within Category 28, not variations of European wild or sour Classic Styles. Fruited versions of Lambic should be entered in 23F Fruit Lambic. Fruited versions of other sour Classic Styles (e.g., Flanders Red, Oud Bruin, Gose, Berliner Weisse) should be entered in 29A Fruit Beer. Beers with sugars and unfermented fruit added post-fermentation should be entered in 29C Specialty Fruit Beer.


Modern American craft beer interpretations of Belgian wild ales, or experimentations inspired by Belgian wild ales.

Characteristic Ingredients

Virtually any style of beer. Any combination of Sacch, Brett, Lacto, Pedio, or other similar fermenters. Can also be a blend of styles. While cherries, raspberries, and peaches are most common, other fruits can be used as well. Vegetables with fruit-like characteristics (e.g., chile, rhubarb, pumpkin) may also be used. Wood or barrel aging is very common, but not required. Wood with unusual or unique flavor characteristics, or wood previously in contact with other types of alcohol is allowable.

Style Comparison

Like a fruit, herb, spice, or wood beer, but sour or funky.

Entry Instructions

Entrant must specify any Specialty-Type Ingredient (e.g., fruit, spice, herb, or wood) used. Entrant must specify either a description of the beer, identifying yeast or bacteria used and either a Base Style, or the ingredients, specs, or target character of the beer. A general description of the special nature of the beer can cover all the required items.

Vital Statistics

Variable by base style.

Commercial Examples

Cascade Bourbonic Plague, Jester King Atrial Rubicite, New Belgium Dominga Mimosa Sour, New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red, Russian River Supplication, The Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme.