The name American Wild Ale is commonly used by craft brewers and homebrewers. However, the word Wild does not imply that these beers are necessarily spontaneously-fermented; rather, it indicates that they are influenced by microbes other than traditional brewer’s yeasts, or perhaps that they are mixed-fermentation beers. The use of the word American does not mean that the beer has to be based on a Classic Style American beer style, or that the methods are solely practiced in the United States. Base styles in this category do not have to be Classic Styles at all (although they can be); something like, “blond ale, 7%” would be fine, since the underlying style is often lost under the fermentation character.
This category is intended for a wide range of beers that do not fit traditional European sour, wild, or spontaneously-fermented styles. All of the styles in this category are Specialty-Type Beers where many creative interpretations are possible, and the styles are defined only by the use of specific fermentation profiles and ingredients. As specialty styles, the mandatory description provided by the entrant is of the utmost importance to the judge.
The styles in this category are differentiated by the types of yeast and bacteria used – see the preamble to each style for more information. We use the conversational shorthand terms used in the brewing industry: Brett for Brettanomyces, Sacch for Saccharomyces, Lacto for Lactobacillus, and Pedio for Pediococcus. See the Glossary for additional information. The Wild Specialty Beer style is for beers for other styles within this category when Specialty-Type Ingredients are added. Background levels of oak may be used in all styles within this category, but beers aged in other woods with unique flavors or barrels that contained other alcohol products must be entered in the Wild Specialty Beer style.