Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Perfect BJCP Guidelines [UPDATED]

I recently had the opportunity to judge some beers at the World Cup of Beer. I judged beside David Teckam, one of the most active beer judges in California. We talked a bit about the BJCP guidelines needing a little edit in the near future, and I told him about my older post about problems I saw with the guidelines. That got me to thinking: just what do the perfect guidelines look like? So here is my take on what the BJCP style list looks like.

EDIT: I have already realized an obvious flaw in my first go at this, so I will discuss it here and edit out the problem. American Pale and Amber Ales and IPA make sense to merge together from an apples/oranges perspective, but there are just too many entries in those categories to keep them tied together. So my decision is to split them up.

Category 1: Pale Lager
1A. Global Pale Lager (this includes Classic American Pilsner in addition to Light, Standard, and Premium American Light Lagers; as well as adjunct-heavy Asian and Latin American pale lagers)
1B. European Pale Lager (think "green bottle" European beers and all-malt American pale lagers, as well as dortmunder lagers)
1C. Munich Helles
1D. Pilsner (Bohemian and German)

Category 2: Amber and Dark Lager I believe that these styles can be fairly compared against each other and so they should merge.
2A. Mexican Amber Lager (note that this replaces Vienna Lager, calling it what it is)
2B. Oktoberfest
2C. California Common Lager
2D. Munich Dunkel
2E. Schwarzbier
2F. Bohemian Dark Lager (rare that I feel the need to add a missing style, but this is just obvious)
2G. International Dark Lager (this includes American Dark Lager as well as a variety of dark lager styles from places as varied as Mexico and other parts of Europe).

Category 3: Strong Lager
3A. Traditional Bock
3B. Maibock/Helles Bock
3C. Doppelbock
3D. Eisbock
3E. Malt Liquor (yes, there is a place for it in the guidelines)
3F. Baltic Porter (finally placed where it ought to be)

Category 4: Hybrid Ale
4A. Blond Ale
4B. Cream Ale
4C. Kölsch
4D. Altbier (there is no good reason to specify N. German/Dusseldorf/Münster)

Category 5: British and Irish Pale and Amber Ale
5A. Ordinary Bitter
5B. Strong Bitter
5C. Extra Strong Bitter
5D. Irish Red Ale
5E. Scottish Ale (60/-, 70/-, and 80/-)

Category 6: American Pale and Amber Ale
6A. American Pale Ale
6B. American Amber/Red Ale
6C. American Specialty Ale (this would specify clean yeast profiles and hop-forwardness, so as to be inclusive of "hoppy beers" that have no unusual adjuncts or non-beer ingredients, like Double Red Ale, India Session Ale, and Black IPA. ≤8%)

Category 7: India Pale Ale
7A. India Pale Ale (6.0%-7.9%)
7B. Imperial IPA (8%+)

Category 8: Brown Ale
8A. Mild
8B. English Brown Ale
8C. American Brown Ale

Category 9: Porter and Stout This merge is a serious no-brainer
9A. Porter (combining robust and brown)
9B. Dry Stout
9C. Sweet Stout
9D. Oatmeal Stout
9E. Extra Stout (combining foreign extra stout and American stout)

Category 10: Wheat and Rye Beer
10A. American Wheat Beer
10B. Weissbier
10C. Dunkelweizen
10D. Weizenbock
10E. Roggenbier

Category 11: Belgian Ale
11A. Witbier
11B. Saison
11C. Belgian Blond Ale
11D. Dubbel
11E. Tripel
11F. Quadrupel (replacing dark strong ale)
11G. Belgian Specialty Ale

Category 12: Sour Ale
12A. Berliner Weisse
12B. Flanders Red Ale
12C. Flanders Brown Ale/Oud Bruin
12D. Straight (Unblended) Lambic
12E. Gueuze
12F. Fruit Lambic
12E. Specialty Sour

Category 13: Strong Ale
13A. English Barleywine
13B. American Barleywine
13C. Scottish Strong Ale
13D. Imperial Stout
13E. Specialty Strong Ale (8%+)

Category 14: Flavored Beer
14A. Fruit Beer
14B. Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer
14C. Winter Ale
14D. Rauchbier
14E. Wood-aged Beer
14F. Specialty Flavored Beer

Category 15. Specialty Beer

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