Does the BJCP System Stifle Innovation?

Reads 4590 • Replies 54 • Started Monday, February 1, 2016 4:34:19 PM CT

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SHIG
beers 8169 º places 389 º 09:56 Tue 2/2/2016

Originally posted by b3shine
Originally posted by StefanSD
The large number of beer variations available in local shops is overwhelming evidence that NO the BJCP has not stifled innovation.

+1

I don’t think most brewers brew their beer with major concern for how it will be evaluated by the BJCP (at least anymore).


I agree this has not stifled innovation on the industry level. However I have seen first had on score cards in homebrew competitions where innovation has caused them placing because xyz that they did was not to style.

Perfect example is my friend entered a black IPA before the new changes to categories and he basically got back on his score cards that it was a gimmic beer. He knew going in he would lose points for appearance and such, but where is the real feedback that would make his beer better. If he took this to heart he would be just brewing standard IPA to try and win medals.

 
SamGamgee
beers 2452 º places 182 º 10:17 Tue 2/2/2016

I would say that most hombrewers don’t enter competitions and don’t care. People need to stop paying attention to the BJCP outside of competition. They are much better now as an overview of the beer spectrum as it actually exists but it’s still a bad idea to give them authority over styles outside of the judging table (or even at it).

 
FooFaa
beers 1 º places 29 º 11:25 Tue 2/2/2016

Originally posted by SHIG
I agree this has not stifled innovation on the industry level. However I have seen first had on score cards in homebrew competitions where innovation has caused them placing because xyz that they did was not to style.

Perfect example is my friend entered a black IPA before the new changes to categories and he basically got back on his score cards that it was a gimmic beer. He knew going in he would lose points for appearance and such, but where is the real feedback that would make his beer better. If he took this to heart he would be just brewing standard IPA to try and win medals.


That sounds like more an issue with training judges than it does with the BJCP styles.

 
HornyDevil
12:07 Tue 2/2/2016

Originally posted by SamGamgee
People need to stop paying attention to the BJCP outside of competition.


Agreed.

And I don’t think that many people who don’t compete pay any attention. I certainly don’t. Their failure to stay current with taxonomy (and even provide accurate style guidelines for the styles they do have) is only one reason that they are an effete organization. Even if they would keep current with trends in the industry, their inability to properly train judges makes them even more comical. Remedy those two things and I’d start paying attention to them. As I can’t see that happening, ever, I’ll not be holding my breath.

 
peepthesot
beers 10 º places 6 º 13:45 Tue 2/2/2016

The BJCP Style Guidelines were developed for the sole purpose of providing a common language for judging of _amateur brewiing competitions_. They have no meaning or relevance outside of that for _at least_ two reasons:
1) ’Styles’ have always been up to individual interpretation by the brewers and have always continually evolved as a result and
2) the guidelines themselves are largely arbitrary and in many cases, quite flawed.
Most brewers I have known over the years (both professional and amateur) don’t take the guidelines very seriously at all.
Lew Bryson summed it up quite simple and eloquently when he said: "Brew _with_ style, not _to_ style."

Originally posted by HornyDevil
Originally posted by ContemplateBeer
I’d answer that, until the modern epoch, artists were still encouraged to study the "masters," and to learn by emulating their work. We have some number of Van Gogh’s early works, for instance, that points to some study of his predecessors. Countless musicians have done the same... chefs (referred to in the facebook thread) usually study some classical discipline of cooking (french, for instance) that has a progression of knowledge, preparations, etc. from which they may eventually abstract to create their own gastronomic art. There is some significant precedence for studying your "elders" before stepping out and being unique.

Are we better off in the present for ignoring the "democracy of the dead"? Only time will tell, but it is certainly worthy to discuss and debate.


Everyone is influenced by someone or something. Not sure how that applies to this particular discussion, however.
Though I may be misreading/misunderstanding Joe’s intent here, he seemed to be arguing against the usefulness of emulating what has come before.

Referencing an earlier commenter, I have to wonder why those who wish to be innovators and "break the chains" that are associated with tradition would use words like Gose, Kolsch, Pale Ale, etc. in the first place? You are associating your beer with a tradition by doing such a thing.

A related question: Is RateBeer being "oppressive" by insisting that every beer entered is within a style?

 
HornyDevil
15:37 Tue 2/2/2016

Originally posted by ContemplateBeer
A related question: Is RateBeer being "oppressive" by insisting that every beer entered is within a style?


Are you suggesting that we do away with style classifications altogether?

Originally posted by HornyDevil
Originally posted by ContemplateBeer
A related question: Is RateBeer being "oppressive" by insisting that every beer entered is within a style?


Are you suggesting that we do away with style classifications altogether?

No... but that such as idea is consistent for proponents of abstraction, since the styles we have listed are largely categories with some sort of traditional definition.

 
johnnnniee
beers 5949 º places 209 º 17:29 Tue 2/2/2016

Originally posted by FooFaa
Originally posted by SHIG
I agree this has not stifled innovation on the industry level. However I have seen first had on score cards in homebrew competitions where innovation has caused them placing because xyz that they did was not to style.

Perfect example is my friend entered a black IPA before the new changes to categories and he basically got back on his score cards that it was a gimmic beer. He knew going in he would lose points for appearance and such, but where is the real feedback that would make his beer better. If he took this to heart he would be just brewing standard IPA to try and win medals.


That sounds like more an issue with training judges than it does with the BJCP styles.


I view that as an entry, entered into the wrong category not necessarily bad judging. Now if a judge commented that this was a gimmick beer that is poor feedback. in the 2008 guidelines, which I think he’s talking about, a black IPA should do poorly in the american ipa category because its out of style in color, aroma, and flavor. That beer should have been entered into Category 23 open, basically where everything that doesn’t fit a defined style should be.

 
skinnyguy
18:35 Tue 2/2/2016

Originally posted by johnnnniee
Originally posted by FooFaa
Originally posted by SHIG
I agree this has not stifled innovation on the industry level. However I have seen first had on score cards in homebrew competitions where innovation has caused them placing because xyz that they did was not to style.

Perfect example is my friend entered a black IPA before the new changes to categories and he basically got back on his score cards that it was a gimmic beer. He knew going in he would lose points for appearance and such, but where is the real feedback that would make his beer better. If he took this to heart he would be just brewing standard IPA to try and win medals.


That sounds like more an issue with training judges than it does with the BJCP styles.


I view that as an entry, entered into the wrong category not necessarily bad judging. Now if a judge commented that this was a gimmick beer that is poor feedback. in the 2008 guidelines, which I think he’s talking about, a black IPA should do poorly in the american ipa category because its out of style in color, aroma, and flavor. That beer should have been entered into Category 23 open, basically where everything that doesn’t fit a defined style should be.



Agreed completely.

To the OP’s question, I judge in BJCP competitions, but I primarily brew specialty beers at home. I don’t believe it has had any effect on my "innovation." How long have the style guidelines been around? Are all homebrewers making the same beer?

You need a baseline to judge. With the styles, it is how closely was the beer brewed to that style. If you brew outside of the styles, just enjoy your beer. If you enter in the specialty category, be prepared for more subjectivity. If we did away with the styles, that is what all judging would be: How much did I personally like the beer? There are absolutely instances of bad feedback, poor judging, etc. You also have the same issue everyone has- your perception of a beer dependa on lots of factors, including environmental. We’ve all had fanstastic beers that seemed mediocre because they were compared with phenomenal ones. You try to avoid that as much as possible by using the guidelines, but some of that is inevitable.

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