Hazy/Juicy Ales Take Over at GABF

Hazy/Juicy Ales Take Over at GABF

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

The Brewers Association has been inundated with New England or Hazy/Juicy entries for the 2018 Great American Beer Festival competition. This is the first year that the BA has recognized Hazy or Juicy styles for competition; they passed on defining the styles last years despite their already massive popularity in 2016 and 2017. With some of the larger, more established craft producers delving into these kinds of beers, BA decided to open up categories for New Englands in March of this year.

GABF is held in September, and the entries have been pouring in for the three new categories around hazy beer. Hazy or Juicy Pale Ales, Hazy or Juicy American IPAs, and Hazy or Juicy Double IPAs now account for a significant percentage of the total number of entries. The American IPA category was far and away the most popular style category for the last decade and a half, but has been outdistanced by the Hazy or Juicy American IPA category 414 to 313 in entry number for 2018. Add in the 292 entries in the Hazy or Juicy DIPA and Pale Ale categories and this means that the judges are going to go juice bomb crazy.

image credit: Brewers Association

The newness of the categories will also produce a couple of issues that must be dealt with for the judges and the contestants. Firstly, this is a category that has not been judged before in a large competition, so the brewers don’t have much of an idea just how they will be judged. For that matter, neither do the judges; significant communication will be needed to ensure that judging across the category will be consistent and uniform. The BA has published style guidelines for each of the hazy categories, yet many of the judges have come through the BJCP ranks, and the BJCP 2015 Style Guide does not include production or tasting guides for these styles.

Secondly, freshness is a significant issues with these newer hazy/juicy style beers. One of the reasons it is hard for BA to track just how many hazy beers, and how much of them, are being made is that most of the sales are in the taproom, without being distributed or packaged. The oils and other compounds in the styles are susceptible to breakdown or fading over time, yet the beers for GABF must be received four weeks before judging. The latest receipt date for entered beers is August 24th, yet the judging will not begin until September 19th. They will be stored cold, but if you add in the shipping time and the period between finishing the beer and shipping, there could be some older New Englands that might not represent the brewers’ intentions. If you have a brewery in Denver for example, you could time out the finishing of the beer for very close to August 24th, and then deliver the beer closest to the judge date.

It remains to be seen how the judging will go and how the beers will hold up, but adding these categories was something that would eventually have to happen, given their continued popularity. Best to get a first year under the belt and start tweaking the process to ensure the best beers are recognized and receive awards.

For more information on the categories and their impact on GABF, see this article on Brewbound.

 

Here are the BA Style Guidelines for the new Hazy or Juicy Beer categories:

Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale

  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to low-medium malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. Perceived impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance, and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop fruitiness. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium-high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.050(11-12.4 °Plato) • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014(2.1-3.6 °Plato) • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.5%-4.3%(4.4%-5.4%) • Bitterness (IBU) 30-50; may differ from perceived bitterness • Color SRM (EBC) 4-7(8-14 EBC)

Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale

  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to low-medium malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop fruitiness. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium-high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.060-1.070(14.7-17.1 °Plato) • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.016(2.0-4.1 °Plato) • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 5.0%-6.0%(6.3%-7.5%) • Bitterness (IBU) 50-70; may differ from perceived bitterness • Color SRM (EBC) 4-7(8-14 EBC)

Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale

  • Color: Straw to deep gold
  • Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to high malt aroma and flavor may be present
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: High to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. Perceived impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance, and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop character. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium to high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
  • Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.070-1.100(17.1-23.7 °Plato) • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.012-1.020(3.1-5.1 °Plato) • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 6.0%-8.4%(7.6%-10.6%) • Bitterness (IBU) 65-100; may differ from perceived bitterness • Color SRM (EBC) 4-7(8-14 EBC)
banner image credit: Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine

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