First Competition--Advice Needed!

So I’ve decided to enter an upcoming homebrew competition. I’m super-psyched and can’t wait to get some feedback on a couple of my favorite recipes. The only issue is, one of my entries probably won’t fit neatly into the 2008 BJCP categories, which the event is using.

My beer is a festbier, but it’s in the mode of the lighter beers they serve at modern-era Oktoberfests. Not a Marzen, in other words. It’s about 6 SRM, 23 IBUs, OG 1.054.

It fits the “Festbier” category (4B) for the 2014 draft BJCP rules, in other words, but is too light for the 2008 guidelines.

My question is, am I better off entering it as a Oktoberfest/Marzen (style 3b) under the old guidelines, or should I perhaps call it a Dortmunder Export (style 1E)?

If you entered it 3b it might get dinged for being to light (less points deducted?) or if you went with 1e it might not be hoppy enough. If it were mine I would probably go with 3b, not knowing what it tastes like. I prefer a dortmunder to be on the dryer hoppier side. That is what my dortmunder tasted like that won the first round of the NHC many moons ago. Either way you will get feedback on your beer.

If allowed, you could try entering it in both categories and see what the judges have to say.

It might pass as a Dort. Personally I consider these to be most similar to Munich helles so you might want to see how well that description compares.

It is stylistically a lot like a Helles, just a little bigger. It might be slightly too malty, because it’s about 20% light munich and vienna malt. I wonder if a BJCP judge would be able to tell the difference between 5.0 and 5.5 percent ABV. Either way, I feel like this might be my best option. Thanks!

It is stylistically a lot like a Helles, just a little bigger. It might be slightly too malty, because it’s about 20% light munich and vienna malt. I wonder if a BJCP judge would be able to tell the difference between 5.0 and 5.5 percent ABV. Either way, I feel like this might be my best option. Thanks![/quote]

Pour yourself a glass of the beer and sit down with a copy of the guidelines. Read the descriptions of the categories you’re thinking of entering as you drink the beer. Enter it into whatever category it tatses like. If it doesn’t fit any of them, don’t enter.

What’s your goal with the competition? To win medals or to get feedback on your beer? Or both?

If you’re just looking for feedback I say just submit it in the category you best think it fits. You’ll get feedback either way. There may be a couple comments like “not to style” but there will be a lot of helpful, constructive feedback about the beer in general.

If you are looking for medals I would suggest not entering unless you know its going to fit the style guidelines quite closely. It’s possible you could have an amazing beer that might only score in the low 20’s cause it deviates too much from style. There is always the long shot that it gets selected for a Best in Show because I believe these (someone correct me if I’m wrong) don’t follow the BJCP guidelines and all beers are just ranked against each other as “the best beer”. The caveat with this is some competitions specifically say you won’t advance to the BoS show round if you don’t at least score a 30 or more in the category. I’m sure though they make exceptions for exceptional beers.

You know, I more or less just thought the experience sounded like fun. I’m also just very proud of this particular beer and wondered how it would do in competition.

I’m actually taking Denny’s advice right now, and drinking a glass while I study the guidelines. I definitely think it matches the Oktoberfest category best. It really reminds me of the Paulaner Oktoberfest I had at Oktoberfest in 2007. And, you know, I’m actually fine with hearing that it’s too light. RDWHAHB, right?

Good on ya!