The Road to Beer Judging Certification: Light Hybrid, Amber Hybrid, German Wheat & Rye

This week we worked our way through Light Hybrid (6A. Cream Ale, 6B. Blonde Ale, 6C. Kölsch, 6D. American Wheat or Rye), Amber Hybrid (7A. Norther German Alt, 7B. California Common, 7C. Düsseldorf Alt) and German Wheat and Rye (15A. Weizen, 5B. Dunkelweizen, 5C. Weizenbock, 5D. Roggenbier).

The hybrid categories are that blurry line between lagers and ales. The subcategories are either ales fermented with lager yeast (California Common) or lagers fermented with ale yeast (Cream Ale) or some similar jostling. The German Wheat and Rye styles were included to conveniently compare the wheat presentation against that within the American Wheat or Rye and Blonde Ale styles.

This was the most difficult class so far. The vast majority of the beers had significant faults, from minor things (stale) to more significant things (nowhere near the declared style). Adding to judging difficulty, the ranges of these styles is significant. As was the selection: 21 beers across 11 substyles.

Cumulative Statistics:
IBU: 8 – 50
SRM: 2 – 25 (straw to dark brown)
OG: 1.038 – 1.090
FG: 1.007 – 1.022
ABV: 3.8 – 8%

On the plus side, a distinctive hop presence in flavor and bitterness is starting to become much more prominent. On the downside, it’s still mostly inappropriate.

Tonight’s Ranking (using BJCP’s 0-50 scale)

  1. 49 – St. Blasius Weizenbock (Weizenbock, great example of the style and delicious: malty with deep plum and rum notes and pineapple sweetnees. You must find this beer.)
  2. 48 – Flensberg Weizen (Weizen)
  3. 47 – Ayinger Ur Weisse (Dunkelweiss)
  4. 47 – Flying Dog Amber Lager (California Common)
  5. 45 – Anchor Steam (California Common, considered the classic example of the style)
  6. 44 – Franiskaner Dunkelweisse (Dunkelweiss)
  7. 40 – Lake Superior Kayak (Kölsch)
  8. 36 – Genesee Cream Ale (Cream Ale, considered the classic example of the style)
  9. 34 – Bell’s Oberon (American Wheat or Rye)
  10. 32 – Weihenstephan Hefeweisbier (Weizen)
  11. 31 – Innstadt Weizenbock (Weizenbock)
  12. 28 – Uerig Sticke (Düsseldorf Alt)
  13. 28 – Pyramid Curve Ball (Blonde ale, to timid for the style)
  14. 28 – Widmer Bros Citra Blond (Blonde ale, way too big and hoppy for style)
  15. 28 – Alaskan Amber (Northern German Altbier)
  16. 24 – Schlägl Roggen Gold (Roggenbier, though it had nothing in common with the style)
  17. 20 – Schell Deer Brand (Cream Ale)
  18. 20 – Mankato Original (Kölsch)
  19. 20 – Anchor Summer (American Wheat or Rye)
  20. 18 – Pinkers Munster Alt Organic (Northern German Altbier)
  21. 18 – Mankato Stickem (Düsseldorf Alt)