[quote=“golgofett”]Not sure if general is the right place to post this but I am looking at entering a AHA sanctioned competition soon and was looking for primary category and secondary category advice to enter the listed beers in. As much as I would like to place, I truly am just looking for feedback on my beers to learn to correct, or adjust my processes. Any help would be appreciated.
Chocolate Milk Stout with Ancho Chiles
Irish Red- Primary category is easy on this one
Surly Bender Clone-seems less hoppy than commercial version
-Choc Milk Stout - Either 23 “Specialty” or 21A “Spiced Herb or Vegetable Beer”, but likely 21A with 13B (sweet stout) as the base beer (you can indicate this on the entry form, and list the special ingredients (chocolate and anchos)
-Surly Bender - I would probably say 10A “American Brown Ale”. Can you post a pic or give a color description? My fear is that if you enter it as 14B “Am. IPA”, you will get dinged for it being too dark, as “medium reddish copper” is as dark as Am IPA should be.
-Dunkelweizen - 15B
The first thing judges will (should) look for is technical flaws, which seems to be what you are after. If they are perceiving DMS in any of these beers (except the Irish Red), this will be considered a technical or process flaw. Same goes for phenols, fusels, cloying sweetness/underattenuation, acetaldehyde, or diacetyl (some of the most common flaws I find when judging).
THEN they should be evaluating it against the entered style guidelines. Think about if someone entered an awesome, well-made commercial beer in the wrong category, like Sam Smith’s oatmeal stout, entered as any type of porter. There is probably too much roast in this beer for any of the porter styles. So its still a well-made, clean beer with very minimal, if any technical flaws, just not ‘to style’.
SO, if you are looking for technical/brewing process feedback, you will (should) get that even if the beer is miscategorized.
Good luck in the comp and remember that judges are here to help.