After seeing that Guinness was making a black lager I decided that I wanted to try to make a darker version of a lighter colored beer. Having recent success with a Witbier I decided that it would be a good candidate.

I recreated the Witbier with the addition of black malt, the taste is very close to the original Witbier recipe. I'd like to enter this one into a contest, but I have no idea what category would be best. As far as flavor goes, it's a Witbier, but the color is completely wrong for the style. Specialty Beer (Category 23) makes sense, but I'd rather be in a category with similar beers and 23 is very open.

What would be the best category for this beer?

  • Interesting that you perceive Guiness' black lager as an effort to make a light style dark. I viewed it as making a dark ale a lager...seeing how dark beer is what they are known for. – brewchez Jan 16 '13 at 0:41
  • I haven't had the chance to taste it yet, but I think that since it has lager in the name I looked at it as a variation on a lager rather than a variation on a dark ale. I really need to try it out. – jessecurry Jan 16 '13 at 14:20
  • Not all lagers are light in color to begin with. Baltic Porter is brewed with Lager yeast. – brewchez Jan 17 '13 at 1:56
  • I still need to brush up on all of my beer styles, only been brewing for 6 months so far. – jessecurry Jan 17 '13 at 14:43

Well, technically, you can only lose up to 3 points for appearance. However, as people "drink with their eyes", I think you'd struggle to do well amongst other witbiers in the category, assuming it's not disqualified up front for being entered out of style.

I'd personally enter it as a specialty beer and give enough info that hopefully the judges would choose to judge it in an appropriate order. If you declare witbier as being the base beer and it matches the other stylistic components of a witbier, then you should have a good chance at doing well with it. Witbiers have a very characteristic flavour profile, so I think you'd run in to problems in any other category, with the possible exception of 21A (Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer). Even in that category, there is a chance you could be marked down for being out of style with the base beer.

If it is an option for the competition, you could enter it multiple categories; once as a witbier and once as a specialty beer and see how you go. Another useful thing to do is judge it yourself under the different categories and see how it compares to the descriptions.

  • I'm going to check on my ability to enter into multiple categories. – jessecurry Jan 16 '13 at 14:23

Category 23 is pretty much it. There isn't another category where the flavors of witte would fit with that dark color. People who are making CDA are currently stuck with Cat 23. The secret to cat 23 is making a beer that is completely flawless. So that the "greatness" of it can shine through despite it not having a defined style. Second to that is that if you are doing something different that difference must be the showcase.

In your case, that black witte better be black, not brown or tan.

  • Well, as long as it only has to be flawless ;) – jessecurry Jan 16 '13 at 14:23

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