Declaring Fruit in Sours

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by pweis909, Sep 7, 2017.

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  1. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,965) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    I've made a couple fruited sours in the last few months. I know there is fruit in them, and I think people might recognize that fruit has been added. However, I think they could be hard-pressed to specify exactly what fruit(s) are present. I like both beers, and I would like to get opinions from beer judges in comps. How do you recommend entering something that has added fruit and tastes fruity, but not in an obvious way (for example, most wine does not remind one of grape juice)?
  2. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,078) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    I'm too lazy to be a judge, but I have a bit of competition experience under my belt, and have entered my fair share of fruit and spiced beers. If you enter as a fruit beer make sure the base style shines. My biggest mistakes have been declaring a base style that was overpowered by the fruit. Case in point, I had a wit that I fruited with raspberries. The six lbs of fruit buried the wit flavors. The beer got honorable mention in several comps, but never medaled because the declared base was muddled. I started calling the base beer an american blonde, BOOM, medals.
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  3. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Zealot (538) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    @SFACRKnight . Interesting and another reason why I do not compete with beer.
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  4. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I judge a fair amount. The base style needs to be there, as that is part of the flavor experience the judge looks for. The fruit must be detectable, as the specified fruit. examples of the later are strawberries and blueberries, two that are hard to get the flavor into a beer.
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  5. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (777) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    I've entered my fruited sours and gotten dinged for not having enough detectable fruit. Judge told me afterwards that if I had not declared Mango it would have taken 1st place. Make sure they can taste it, if not, enter it as what it tastes like.
  6. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    That is a good point, just describe the beer as how it tastes. If one uses a variety of spices, and only one is detected, just list that one.
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  7. Mohican88

    Mohican88 Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2010 Ohio

    One of the tough things to do as the brewer of a beer in which you know all the ingredients, process, etc is to sit down and objectively evaluate it against your goal and the style guidelines. Sitting down with a BJCP sheet and just evaluating the sensory aspects of the beer and then matching those characteristics to a style or writing your special declarations for a style can be helpful.

    The best advice I've received that help my approach to competition brewing is to enter the beer you made, not the beer you intended.
  8. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (335) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    As with any ingredient, it may add complexity without shouting its name. If you use blueberries and strawberries, for example, and the strawberries virtually disappear behind the blueberries, I probably wouldn't mention the strawberries. If, however, they complement each other in such a way that the flavor is merely suggestive of both fruits, but it's hard to pick out either one, or even if they're both over the top, then go ahead and list them. Bottom line is, if you say it's there, then there must be something in the flavor to back up that claim.
  9. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,078) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    But the glory... THE GLORY!
  10. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Zealot (538) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Hahahhahahahahahahhaha, all for you brother. Maybe I'll taste your winning brew at GABF!!!
  11. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,078) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Only if I sneak a bottle in for you. Ha ha ha.
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  12. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Judge it yourself and do it according to what the guideline proposes. Be honest about it too.
    It makes things interesting because you have to set your opinions aside. Follow the guidelines, and get humble.
    Sidecar it with a neutral beer, and spend ten minutes on it.
  13. jmarsh123

    jmarsh123 Meyvn (1,319) Mar 31, 2010 Indiana

    I would advise not listing anything that isn't a prominent flavor. If you list something and it's not there, you will get dinged.

    Mostly I've found this while judging adjunct stouts. e.g. If you list coffee and it's not present it will hurt the score of an otherwise enjoyable beer.
  14. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Funny thing about GABF. I entered a BJCP competition that touted "Best of Show Winner will brew his/her recipe at XXXXXXXX Brewery and will be eligible to compete in GABF Pro Am" (or words to that effect).

    Turned out that brewing the batch at XXXXXXX Brewery was true. The GABF thing was technically true (sort of), had the brewery actually been a GABF participant, which they were not. I think the BJCP comp organizer must have simply copied a blurb from some AHA or BA literature. Good times.
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  16. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Zealot (538) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Good times indeed
  17. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (2,078) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    locally a brewer won a similar comp, and brewery xxx backed out. Later that brewery xxx put on a comp, so said brewer entered several different categories and named the beers things like "brewery xxx is run by lying a**holes" and "where's my gabf brewday". I guess he won most of his categories and had a gas listening to the MC reading his beer nanes.
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