It seems like there are a lot more entries in certain style categories (American Ale, Belgian and French Ale, Specialty Beer) and a lot fewer in others (Lager categories). A category with more entries should be objectively more difficult to win in than one with less, so it's something to consider if you want to compete in a category where you have decent odds.

You could add facts or opinions about why this is the case (e.g. lagers are arguably harder to brew than ales, hence less entries) but that might be too subjective.

  • It seems like this is still a subjective question, but I have a ready answer, so I will answer below. Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 22:28
  • I changed the question. It's not really subjective anymore, numbers/statistics should answer it. You could add facts or expert opinions about why this is the case, but that is not necessary to answer the question.
    – paul
    Commented Feb 15, 2014 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


This homebrewer's blog lists the categories with the five most and five least entries for at least the 2010-2012 NHCs. It looks like it was consistent over those years. This is the excerpt from 2012.


  1. Stouts (cat. 13) - 630 entries or 8.7% of total

  2. American Ales (cat. 10) - 603 entries or 8.3% of total

  3. India Pale Ales (cat. 14) - 553 entries or 7.6% of total

  4. Belgian and French Ales (cat. 16) - 491 entries or 6.8% of total

  5. Belgian Strong Ales (cat. 18) - 454 entries or 6.2% of total'


  1. Euro Amber Lagers (cat. 3) - 158 entries or 2.2% of total

  2. Dark Lagers (cat. 4) - 162 entries or 2.2% of total

  3. Fruit Beers (cat. 20) - 169 entries or 2.3% of total

  4. Amber Hybrid Beers (cat. 7) - 174 entries or 2.4% of total

  5. Bock (cat. 5) - 195 entries or 2.7% of total

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