Specialty Fruit Beer

29C. Specialty Fruit Beer
A Specialty Fruit Beer is a fruit beer with some additional ingredients or processes, such as fermentable sugars (honey, brown sugar, invert sugar, etc.) added.
See the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer section for additional comments, particularly on evaluating the balance of added ingredients with the base beer.
Overall Impression: A harmonious marriage of fruit, sugar, and beer, but still recognizable as a beer. The fruit and sugar character should both be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.
Aroma: Same as fruit beer, except that some additional fermentables (honey, molasses, etc.) may add an aroma component. Whatever additional aroma component is present should be in balance with the fruit and the beer components, and be a pleasant combination.
Appearance Same as fruit beer.
Flavor: Same as fruit beer, except that some additional fermentables (honey, molasses, etc.) may add a flavor component. Whatever additional flavor component is present should be in balance with the fruit and the beer components, and be a pleasant combination. Added sugars should not have a raw, unfermented flavor. Some added sugars will have unfermentable elements that may provide a fuller finish; fully fermentable sugars may thin out the finish.
Mouthfeel: Same as fruit beer, although depending on the type of sugar added, could increase or decrease the body.
Comments: If the additional fermentables or processes do not add a distinguishable character to the beer, enter it as a normal 29A Fruit Beer and omit a description of the extra ingredients or processes.
Entry Instructions: The entrant must specify a base style; the declared style does not have to be a Classic Style. The entrant must specify the type of fruit used. The entrant must specify the type of additional fermentable sugar or special process employed.
Vital Statistics: OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.
Commercial Examples: New Planet Raspberry Ale

Fruit and Spice Beer

29B. Fruit and Spice Beer

See the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer section for additional comments, particularly on evaluating the balance of added ingredients with the base beer. The definition of Fruit in the preamble to Category 29 and Spice in the preamble to Category 30 apply; any combination of ingredients valid in Styles 29A and 30A are allowable in this category. The use of the word spice does not imply only spices can be used; any Spice, Herb, or Vegetable (SHV) from Category 30 may be used.

Overall Impression:
A harmonious marriage of fruit, spice, and beer, but still recognizable as a beer. The fruit and spice character should each be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.

Aroma:
The distinctive aromatics associated with the declared fruit and spices should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some fruit (e.g., raspberries, cherries) and some spices (e.g., cinnamon, ginger) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., blueberries, strawberries) – allow for a range of fruit and spice character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The additional aromatics should blend well with whatever aromatics are appropriate for the declared base beer style. The hop aroma may be absent or balanced, depending on the declared base style.

Appearance:
Appearance should be appropriate for the declared base beer and declared fruit and spices. For lighter-colored beers with fruits or spices that exhibit distinctive colors, the color should be noticeable. Note that the color of fruit in beer is often lighter than the flesh of the fruit itself and may take on slightly different shades. May have some haze or be clear, although haze is a generally undesirable. The head may take on some of the color of the fruit or spice.

Flavor:
As with aroma, the distinctive flavor character associated with the declared fruits and spices should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The balance of fruit and spices with the underlying beer is vital, and the fruit character should not be so artificial and/or inappropriately overpowering as to suggest a spiced fruit juice drink. Hop bitterness, flavor, malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters, should be appropriate to the base beer and be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive fruit and spice flavors present. Remember that fruit generally add flavor not sweetness. The sugar found in fruit is usually fully fermented and contributes to lighter flavors and a drier finish than might be expected for the declared base style. However, residual sweetness is not necessarily a negative characteristic unless it has a raw, unfermented quality. Some SHV(s) are inherently bitter and may result in a beer more bitter than the declared base style.

Mouthfeel:
Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the declared base beer style. Fruit generally adds fermentables that tend to thin out the beer; the resulting beer may seem lighter than expected for the declared base style. Some SHV(s) may add additional body, although fermentable additions may thin out the beer. Some SHV(s) may add a bit of astringency, although a “raw” spice character is undesirable.

Comments:
Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made fruit and spice beer. The fruit and spice should each complement the original style and not overwhelm it. The key attributes of the underlying style will be different with the addition of fruit and spice; do not expect the base beer to taste the same as the unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the pleasantness and balance of the resulting combination. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and fruits/spices work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations. Whenever fruits, spices, herbs or vegetables are declared, each should be noticeable and distinctive in its own way (although not necessarily individually identifiable; balanced with the other ingredients is still critical) – in other words, the beer should read as a spiced fruit beer but without having to tell that specific fruits and spices are present (even if declared).

Fruit Beer

29A. Fruit Beer

See the Introduction to Specialty-Type Beer section for additional comments, particularly on evaluating the balance of added ingredients with the base beer.

Overall Impression:
A harmonious marriage of fruit and beer, but still recognizable as a beer. The fruit character should be evident but in balance with the beer, not so forward as to suggest an artificial product.

Aroma:
The distinctive aromatics associated with the declared fruit should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some fruit (e.g., raspberries, cherries) have stronger aromas and are more distinctive than others (e.g., blueberries, strawberries) – allow for a range of fruit character and intensity from subtle to aggressive. The additional aromatics should blend well with whatever aromatics are appropriate for the declared base beer style.

Appearance:
Appearance should be appropriate for the declared base beer and declared fruit. For lighter-colored beers with fruits that exhibit distinctive colors, the color should be noticeable. Note that the color of fruit in beer is often lighter than the flesh of the fruit itself and may take on slightly different shades. Fruit beers may have some haze or be clear, although haze is a generally undesirable. The head may take on some of the color of the fruit.

Flavor:
As with aroma, the distinctive flavor character associated with the declared fruit should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The balance of fruit with the underlying beer is vital, and the fruit character should not be so artificial and/or inappropriately overpowering as to suggest a ‘fruit juice drink.’ Hop bitterness, flavor, malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation by-products, such as esters, should be appropriate to the base beer and be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive fruit flavors present. Remember that fruit generally add flavor not sweetness to fruit beers. The sugar found in fruit is usually fully fermented and contributes to lighter flavors and a drier finish than might be expected for the declared base style. However, residual sweetness is not necessarily a negative characteristic unless it has a raw, unfermented quality.

Mouthfeel:
Mouthfeel may vary depending on the base beer selected and as appropriate to that base beer. Body and carbonation levels should be appropriate to the declared base beer style. Fruit generally adds fermentables that tend to thin out the beer; the resulting beer may seem lighter than expected for the declared base style. Smaller and darker fruit have a tendency to add a tannic depth that should overwhelm the base beer.

Comments:
Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made fruit beer. The fruit should complement the original style and not overwhelm it. The key attributes of the underlying style will be different with the addition of fruit; do not expect the base beer to taste the same as the unadulterated version. Judge the beer based on the pleasantness and balance of the resulting combination.

Vital Statistics:
OG, FG, IBUs, SRM and ABV will vary depending on the underlying base beer, but the fruit will often be reflected in the color.

Commercial Examples:
Bell’s Cherry Stout, Dogfish Head Aprihop, Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale, Founders Rübæus

Wild Specialty Beer

28C. Wild Specialty Beer

Overall Impression:
A sour and/or funky version of a fruit, herb, or spice beer, or a wild beer aged in wood. If wood-aged, the wood should not be the primary or dominant character.

Aroma:
Variable by base style. Should show the fruit, sour and/or funk of a wild fermentation, as well as the characteristics of the special ingredients used. The best examples will blend the aromatics from the fermentation with the special ingredients, creating an aroma that may be difficult to attribute precisely.

Appearance:
Variable by base style, generally showing a color, tint, or hue from any fruit (if used) in both the beer and the head. Clarity can be variable; some haze is not a fault. Head retention is often poor.

Flavor:
Variable by base style. Should show the fruit, sour and/or funk of a wild fermentation, as well as the characteristics of the special ingredients used. Any fruit sweetness is generally gone, so only the esters typically remain from the fruit. The sour character from the fruit and wild fermentation could be prominent, but should not be overwhelming. The acidity and tannin from any fruit can both enhance the dryness of the beer, so care must be taken with the balance. The acidity should enhance the perception of the fruit flavor, not detract from it. Wood notes, if present, add flavor but should be balanced.

Mouthfeel:
Variable by base style. Generally a light body, lighter than what might be expected from the base style. Generally moderate to high carbonation; carbonation should balance the base style if one is declared. The presence of tannin from some fruit or wood can provide a slight astringency, enhance the body, or make the beer seem drier than it is.

Comments:
A wild beer featuring fruit, herbs, spices, or wood based on a style other than lambic. Could be another Classic Style (normally sour or not), or something more generic. These beers may be aged in wood, but any wood character should not be a primary or dominant flavor.

History:
Modern American craft beer interpretations of Belgian wild ales, or experimentations inspired by Belgian wild ales.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Virtually any style of beer. Any combination of Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, or other similar fermenters. Can also be a blend of styles. While cherries, raspberries, and peaches are most common, other fruits can be used as well. Vegetables with fruit-like characteristics (chile, rhubarb, pumpkin, etc.) may also be used. Wood or barrel aging is very common, but not required.

Style Comparison:
Like a fruit, herb, spice, or wood beer, but sour and/or funky.

Fruit Lambic

23F. Fruit Lambic

Overall Impression:
A complex, fruity, pleasantly sour, wild wheat ale fermented by a variety of Belgian microbiota, and showcasing the fruit contributions blended with the wild character. The type of fruit can sometimes be hard to identify as fermented and aged fruit characteristics can seem different from the more recognizable fresh fruit aromas and flavors.

Aroma:
The specified fruit should be the dominant aroma. A low to moderately sour character blends with aromas described as barnyard, earthy, goaty, hay, horsey, and horse blanket (and thus should be recognizable as a lambic). The fruit aroma commonly blends well with the other aromas. An enteric, smoky, cigar-like, or cheesy aroma is unfavorable. No hop aroma.

Appearance:
The variety of fruit generally determines the color, although lighter-colored fruit may have little effect on the color. The color intensity may fade with age. Clarity is often good, although some fruit will not drop bright. A thick rocky, mousse-like head, sometimes a shade of fruit, is generally long-lasting (carbonation-dependent). Carbonation is typically high, but must be specified.

Flavor:
The specified fruit should be evident. Low to moderately sour flavor, often with an acidic bite in the finish. The classic barnyard characteristics may be low to high. When young, the beer will present its full fruity taste. As it ages, the lambic taste will become dominant at the expense of the fruit character-thus fruit lambics are not intended for long aging. The finish is commonly dry and tart, but a low, complementary sweetness may be present; higher sweetness levels are not traditional but can be included for personal preference (sweetness level must be specified). A mild vanilla and/or oak flavor is occasionally noticeable. An enteric, smoky or cigar-like character is undesirable. Hop bitterness is generally absent; acidity provides the balance. No hop flavor.

Mouthfeel:
Light to medium-light body. In spite of the low finishing gravity, the many mouth-filling flavors prevent the beer from tasting like water. Has a low to high tart, puckering quality without being sharply astringent. Some versions have a light warming character. Carbonation can vary from sparkling to nearly still (must be specified).

Comments:
Fruit-based lambics are often produced like gueuze by mixing one, two, and three-year old lambic. “Young” lambic contains fermentable sugars while old lambic has the characteristic “wild” taste of the Senne River valley. Fruit is commonly added halfway through aging and the yeast and bacteria will ferment all sugars from the fruit. Fruit may also be added to unblended lambic. The most traditional styles of fruit lambics include kriek (cherries), framboise (raspberries) and druivenlambik (muscat grapes). IBUs are approximate since aged hops are used; Belgians use hops for anti-bacterial properties more than bittering in lambics.

History:
Spontaneously fermented wild ales from the area in and around Brussels (the Senne Valley) stem from a farmhouse brewing and blending tradition several centuries old. The number of producers is constantly dwindling and some are untraditionally sweetening their products (post-fermentation) with sugar or sweet fruit to make them more palatable to a wider audience. Fruit was traditionally added to lambic or gueuze, either by the blender or publican, to increase the variety of beers available in local cafes.

Characteristic Ingredients:
Unmalted wheat (30-40%), Pilsner malt and aged hops (3 years) are used. The aged hops are used more for preservative effects than bitterness, and makes actual bitterness levels difficult to estimate. Traditional products use 10-30% fruit (25%, if cherry). Fruits traditionally used include tart cherries (with pits), raspberries or Muscat grapes. More recent examples include peaches, apricots or merlot grapes. Tart or acidic fruit is traditionally used as its purpose is not to sweeten the beer but to add a new dimension. Traditionally these beers are spontaneously fermented with naturally occurring yeast and bacteria in predominately oaken barrels. The barrels used are old and have little oak character, so don’t expect a fresh or forward oak character – more neutral is typical. Home-brewed and craft-brewed versions are more typically made with pure cultures of yeast commonly including Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Pediococcus and Lactobacillus in an attempt to recreate the effects of the dominant microbiota of Brussels and the surrounding countryside of the Senne River valley. Cultures taken from bottles are sometimes used but there is no simple way of knowing what organisms are still viable.

Style Comparison:
A lambic with fruit, not just a fruit beer; the wild lambic character must be evident.

Vital Statistics:
OG: 1.040 – 1.060
IBUs: 0 – 10 FG: 1.000 – 1.010
SRM: 3 – 7 (varies w/ fruit) ABV: 5.0 – 7.0%

Commercial Examples:
Boon Framboise Marriage Parfait, Boon Kriek Mariage Parfait, Boon Oude Kriek, Cantillon Fou’ Foune, Cantillon Kriek, Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise, Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, Cantillon St. Lamvinus, Cantillon Vigneronne, De Cam Oude Kriek, Drie Fonteinen Kriek, Girardin Kriek, Hanssens Oude Kriek, Oud Beersel Kriek, Mort Subite Kriek