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AHA Guideline

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Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beers are any range of color. Any lager, ale or hybrid beer, either a traditional style or a unique experimental beer, can be aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood. These beers are aged with the intention of imparting the particularly unique character of the wood and/or what has previously been in the barrel; but, wood aged is not necessarily synonymous with imparting wood-flavors. New wood character can be characterized as a complex blend of vanillin and/or other unique wood character. Used sherry, rum, bourbon, scotch, port, wine and other barrels are often used, imparting complexity and uniqueness to beer. Ultimately a balance of flavor, aroma and mouthfeel are sought with the marriage of new beer with wood and/or barrel flavors. Wood-Aged Beers may or may not have Brettanomyces character. Body is variable with style. When entering this category brewers should specify type of barrel and/or wood used and any other special treatment or ingredients used. Competition managers may create style subcategories to differentiate between high alcohol and low alcohol beers and very dark and lighter colored beer as well as for fruit beers and non-fruit beers. Competitions may develop guidelines requesting brewers to specify what kind of wood (new or used oak, other wood varieties) and/or barrel (whiskey, port, sherry, wine, etc.) was used in the process. The brewer should explain the special nature (wood used, base beer style(s) and achieved character) of the beer.


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  • Color SRM (EBC) ()