29B - Fruit and Spice Beer
A tasteful union of fruit, spice, and beer, but still recognizable as 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.
Varies by base style and special ingredients. Lighter-colored beer should show distinctive ingredient colors, including in the head. The color of fruit in beer is often lighter than the flesh of the fruit itself and may take on slightly different shades. Variable clarity, although haze is generally undesirable. Some ingredients may impact head retention.
Varies by base style. The fruit and spice character should be noticeable in the aroma; however, note that some fruit and spices (e.g., raspberries, cherries, 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. Hop aroma may be lower than in the base style to better show the specialty character. The specialty ingredients should add an extra complexity, but not be so prominent as to unbalance the resulting presentation.
Varies by base style. As with aroma, distinctive fruit and spice flavors should be noticeable, and may range in intensity from subtle to aggressive. The fruit character should not be so artificial or inappropriately overpowering as to suggest a spiced fruit juice drink. Hop bitterness, flavor, malt flavors, alcohol content, and fermentation byproducts, such as esters, should be appropriate to the base style, but be harmonious and balanced with the distinctive fruit and spice flavors present. Fruit generally add flavor not sweetness, since fruit sugars usually fully ferment, thus lightening the flavor and drying out the finish. However, residual sweetness is not necessarily a negative characteristic unless it has a raw, unfermented quality. Some ingredients may add sourness, bitterness, and tannins, which must be balanced in the resulting flavor profile.
Varies by base style. Fruitoften decreases body, and makes the beer seem lighter on the palate. Some smaller and darker fruits may add a tannic depth, but this astringency should not overwhelm the base beer. SHVs may increase or decrease body. Some SHVs may add a bit of astringency, although a “raw” spice character is undesirable.
The description of the beer is critical for evaluation; judges should think more about the declared concept than trying to detect each individual ingredient. Balance, drinkability, and execution of the theme are the most important deciding factors. The specialty ingredients should complement the original style and not overwhelm it. Base style attributes will be different after the addition of fruit and spices; do not expect the beer to taste identical to the unadulterated base style.