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AHA Guideline

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Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beers are any color. For purposes of competition these wood-aged beers contain alcohol greater than 5.2% abw or 6.5% abv. Examples of wood- and barrel-aged strong beer styles include but are not limited to wood-aged barley wine, double porter, triple pale ale or any other wood-aged strong beer style that meets the criteria for alcohol content, with the exceptions of wood-aged strong stout styles which are outlined elsewhere. Any strong classic or unique experimental lager, ale or hybrid beer style, either a traditional style or unique experimental beers, can be aged for a period of time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood. Primary character of the original beer style may or may not be apparent. 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. Sour wood-aged strong beers of any color are outlined in other categories. Body is variable with style. The brewer should explain the special nature of the beer to allow for accurate judging. Comments could include: type of wood used (new or old, oak or other wood type), type of barrel used (new, port/ whiskey/ wine/ sherry/ other), base beer style, and/or any other special treatment or ingredients used. Beer entries not accompanied by this information will be at a disadvantage during judging.


  • Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style (Varies with style)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style (Varies with style)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) >5.2% (>6.5%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) (Varies with style)
  • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style (Varies with style)