Does the BJCP System Stifle Innovation?

Reads 4716 • Replies 54 • Started Monday, February 1, 2016 4:34:19 PM CT

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spacecoyote
20:31 Mon 2/1/2016

Originally posted by ContemplateBeer
Adam Arndt has a lot of time on his hands.

I’m of the old school opinion that you need to learn the rules before you break them, so I think that the BJCP can be good in that sense. Many so-called "experimental brewers" could do themselves a service by learning to brew some beers "to style" before abstracting from all the traditions they don’t care enough to know in the first place.


Agreed, though at times it seems that even experienced and knowledgeable brewers either don’t know or don’t care about guidelines and traditions, rather they are more interested in buzz words and catchy names.

I.e., a pineapple-kolsch is not a kolsch, a cactus-gose is not a gose.

 
FooFaa
beers 1 º places 29 º 21:06 Mon 2/1/2016

Originally posted by spacecoyote
Agreed, though at times it seems that even experienced and knowledgeable brewers either don’t know or don’t care about guidelines and traditions, rather they are more interested in buzz words and catchy names.

I.e., a pineapple-kolsch is not a kolsch, a cactus-gose is not a gose.


I’m not sure what the point here is. If a brewer makes a beer with mostly Pilsner malt, with a bit of white wheat malt, lightly hopped with Noble hops, fermented with Kolsch yeast at, say, 58F, and then they later add some pineapple, what have they made?

They’ve made a pretty traditional Kolsch with pineapple in it. How exactly is that not knowing or caring about traditions? I would argue the opposite is true. The brewer has taken the lessons and experience of their predecessors to build the foundation of a beer profile, and added their own twist using ingredients available to them in an effort to deliver a product that suits the tastes of their customers. That is at the very heart of traditional brewing practices.

The point is, there is a tradition in brewing of bending style guidelines. This is quantifiable on a number of levels.

 
spacecoyote
21:24 Mon 2/1/2016

Originally posted by FooFaa
Originally posted by spacecoyote
Agreed, though at times it seems that even experienced and knowledgeable brewers either don’t know or don’t care about guidelines and traditions, rather they are more interested in buzz words and catchy names.

I.e., a pineapple-kolsch is not a kolsch, a cactus-gose is not a gose.


I’m not sure what the point here is. If a brewer makes a beer with mostly Pilsner malt, with a bit of white wheat malt, lightly hopped with Noble hops, fermented with Kolsch yeast at, say, 58F, and then they later add some pineapple, what have they made?

They’ve made a pretty traditional Kolsch with pineapple in it. How exactly is that not knowing or caring about traditions? I would argue the opposite is true. The brewer has taken the lessons and experience of their predecessors to build the foundation of a beer profile, and added their own twist using ingredients available to them in an effort to deliver a product that suits the tastes of their customers. That is at the very heart of traditional brewing practices.

The point is, there is a tradition in brewing of bending style guidelines. This is quantifiable on a number of levels.


Some styles, more so than others, should be considered sacred, such as kolsch, lambic, gose, "saison", pilsner, Berliner weisse, just to site a few examples.

 
bitbucket
beers 2166 º places 63 º 21:42 Mon 2/1/2016

Originally posted by spacecoyote
Some styles, more so than others, should be considered sacred, such as kolsch, lambic, gose, "saison", pilsner, Berliner weisse, just to cite a few examples.


I’m confused by this. Some styles, such as Kolsh and Berliner weisse have fairly narrow definitions... at least in my mind. Others, such as saison and pilsner seem more open to interpretation or local version.

 
FooFaa
beers 1 º places 29 º 21:42 Mon 2/1/2016

Originally posted by spacecoyote
Some styles, more so than others, should be considered sacred, such as kolsch, lambic, gose, "saison", pilsner, Berliner weisse, just to site a few examples.



Why?

 
FooFaa
beers 1 º places 29 º 21:47 Mon 2/1/2016

Originally posted by bitbucket
Originally posted by spacecoyote
Some styles, more so than others, should be considered sacred, such as kolsch, lambic, gose, "saison", pilsner, Berliner weisse, just to cite a few examples.


I’m confused by this. Some styles, such as Kolsh and Berliner weisse have fairly narrow definitions... at least in my mind. Others, such as saison and pilsner seem more open to interpretation or local version.


Agreed. "Saison" and "Lambic" could only scarcely, if at all, be considered styles.

 
Danko
03:41 Tue 2/2/2016

If you look at the BJCP style guidelines it might seem as if it’s hindering progress and evolution.

However, if you look at how every new BJCP style guideline publication changes from one to the other you will notice that they’re very quick (perhaps sometimes too much so) with adding new "styles" and in no small numbers.

So with that in mind, the BJCP organ is not stifling innovation in itself but a look at BJCP at any given moment may lend an impression that they do. BJCP as an organ is following innovation to some measure, trying to be inclusive instead of exclusive and traditional.

Originally posted by FooFaa
Originally posted by ContemplateBeer
Adam Arndt has a lot of time on his hands.

I’m of the old school opinion that you need to learn the rules before you break them, so I think that the BJCP can be good in that sense. Many so-called "experimental brewers" could do themselves a service by learning to brew some beers "to style" before abstracting from all the traditions they don’t care enough to know in the first place.


Further, I think you’re making an assumption that "experimental brewers" don’t care about brewing traditions, which may not be true.
A fair point. However, at least around me, the respect that they may have for these "rules/guidelines/insert your politically correct term here" does not often show up in the actual products they create.

 
HornyDevil
05:46 Tue 2/2/2016

First let me give my answer to the initial question. NO. The BJCP system can only stifle innovation if you blindly follow it thinking "this is the only way to brew beer". I don’t think that many brewers do that, even the ones that like to win BJCP competitions by following their guidelines to a T.

Originally posted by FooFaa
Originally posted by bitbucket
Originally posted by spacecoyote
Some styles, more so than others, should be considered sacred, such as kolsch, lambic, gose, "saison", pilsner, Berliner weisse, just to cite a few examples.


I’m confused by this. Some styles, such as Kolsh and Berliner weisse have fairly narrow definitions... at least in my mind. Others, such as saison and pilsner seem more open to interpretation or local version.


Agreed. "Saison" and "Lambic" could only scarcely, if at all, be considered styles.


OK . . . you guys are confusing things here.

Styles like Kolsch and Pilsner have fairly narrow definitions. The term Kolsch even has appellation as defined by the Kolsch Convention. Though I’m not saying that brewers that brew this type of beer outside of Cologne can’t call it Kolsch, what I am saying is that if you don’t brew the beer as traditionally defined, then it isn’t a proper Kolsch. If you add pineapple to it and call it a Kolsch, you should be slapped. Have some respect and call it what it is. A Pineapple Blonde Ale.

Berliner Weisse and Gose, though simple beers, are also decently well-defined. The "problem" is that Berliner Weisse had the tradition of being flavored, at service mind you, with syrups to cut the tartness and make them more drinkable. The recent trend of fruiting both beers is completely untraditional, though it does produce interesting beers. Just call them " _____ (insert fruit name(s) here) sour" and everyone will be happy.

Saison is one of the most, if not THE most, ill-defined styles in the entire beer world. End of story.

Lambic is one of the most well-defined, especially when referring to process and provenance. The problem with Lambic is that the members of HORAL make such different products and Cantillon, probably the most recognizable maker in the world, is not a member. If however, you want to call your beer a Lambic, you must do the following. You must construct your grist of pilsner malt and unmalted wheat. You must perform a turbid mash. You must hop the runoff with a high level of aged hops. You must boil for an extended time. You must cool your wort in a coolship before transferring to wood for fermentation. You must age your beer in wood and blend the resultant beer into a uniform end product. If you don’t do all of these things your beer cannot even dream of being called Lambic and if you don’t even attempt to do these things and you call your beer a Lambic, then you, sir or ma’am, are an asshole, plain and simple.

 
joet
admin
beers 2900 º places 125 º 06:21 Tue 2/2/2016

What if these same ideas were applied to painting?

You’d have all these painters being asked to develop paintings that fell into defined categories like
1) Modern abstract
2) Pointilism
3) Fauvism
4) Romantic
5) Surrealist
6) etc...

How is this going to affect creativity, placement and judging?

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