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Declaring ingredients in a competition

This is my first time entering a mead and am not sure what to do.

I have a braggot I’d like to send to a competition and am having trouble figuring out whether or not it’s important to declare the ingredients. The malt is German, American hops, and English yeast. Needless to say the base beer doesn’t conform to a particular style.

What I’d like to do is leave the info blank, and get the judge’s uninformed opinion. I really dont want to influence their impression one way or another by declaring the ingredients.

Will leaving the info blank give me a competitive disadvantage?

I just served as a lead judge for the Specialty Beer category at the Indiana Brewers Cup (1124 entries!). In my opinion, you should only list ingredients that you can actually perceive in the beer. Listing ingredients that the typical palate cannot find is just confusing the issue and may result in a score reduction. If all unique character of any ingredient has aged out of a beer, but its still a good beer, enter it in the actual base style.

Think of your ingredient listing as a sales pitch to the consumer. If you say there is something special in there, the consumer is going to want to experience it and will be pissed if its not there. Ever had a Blueberry beer and not get any blueberry flavors?

[quote=“mabrungard”]I just served as a lead judge for the Specialty Beer category at the Indiana Brewers Cup (1124 entries!). In my opinion, you should only list ingredients that you can actually perceive in the beer. Listing ingredients that the typical palate cannot find is just confusing the issue and may result in a score reduction. If all unique character of any ingredient has aged out of a beer, but its still a good beer, enter it in the actual base style.

Think of your ingredient listing as a sales pitch to the consumer. If you say there is something special in there, the consumer is going to want to experience it and will be pissed if its not there. Ever had a Blueberry beer and not get any blueberry flavors?[/quote]
+1

Thanks for the great response!

Just to be clear, if I have an ingredient that’s quite prominent, does it hurt to not declare it? My braggot has a lot of Munich. However, to me it isn’t a prominent feature of the beer. But someone else might really notice it. So would a judge dock points if they really notice lots of Munich and I didn’t mention it?

No it doesn’t work that way, not declaring doesn’t mean you don’t have any distinctive character. If you don’t declare ingredients though, you get pretty much of a hedonistic judging score. I think its beneficial to give judges a couple of hints on the things they can look for if they are at least noticeable.

With a braggot, I think you really need to give the judges something to work with - “a malty, American braggot” might work given what you’ve described.

Great feedback. I’m sending this one to 2 competitions and think I’ll experiment with the description/no description thing.

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