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Congratulations to Louis Thiery, winner of the 2016 BrewUnited Challenge! All score sheets are available in your admin area. If anything is missing, please use the contact link, and we will resolve it ASAP.

Welcome to the 2016 BrewUnited Challenge!

2016 BrewUnited Challenge Logo


Overview


The BrewUnited Challenge is back for 2016! We have a few new wrinkles for you. The focus is "beers of the world": can you brew outstanding beers from around the world while limited by some strict restrictions? The BU Challenge is no ordinary homebrew comp!

There are three "geographic divisions" (American, Commonwealth, and Continental) containing six BJCP styles, giving a total of eighteen styles in all. But wait, there's more! We also have a "for fun" SMaSH category (single malt-single hop).

Not convinced yet? Well, the BU Challenge is not just focused on challenging you to brew with restrictions (or the amazing cornucopia of prizes described below). This is a BJCP-sanctioned (#204828) comp where judges have been given a focus to give you some great feedback on your beer! And we're using the new, improved 2015 BJCP Guidelines!


The Prizes


Now, your ears naturally perked up when I mentioned prizes, huh? Last year, we gave away nearly $4,700 worth of prizes. As of the latest edit, we have nearly thirty sponsors onboard, with nearly $7,500 worth of prizes already donated. Things are looking great for us to be able to give away some excellent prizes once again - including a grand prize of a fabulous 7 Gallon Chronical fermentor from SS Brew Tech!

And of course, the prestigious Homebrew Hero capes are up for grabs again this year. Do you have what it takes to be a Homebrew Hero?


The Divisions, Rules, and Sundry Details


These tables describe the divisions, BJCP styles, shipping locations for each style, and ingredient restrictions and requirements. The restrictions and requirements are mandatory, so you may have to brew especially for the BU Challenge!

American Beers Division
Shipping Location: Chicago, Illinois
BJCP Category #Style Name
1BAmerican Lager
1CCream Ale
19AAmerican Amber Ale
20BAmerican Stout
21AAmerican IPA
27Kentucky Common (historical)
Special Rules for Division
Hop RequirementHop bill must be use either >= 25% Amarillo or >= 25% Cluster. The rest of hop bill must be one or more American-grown hops (brewer's choice)
Fermentables Requirements1. Base Malt: Bill of fermentables must be at least 20% American 6-Row Pale Malt, plus at least another 20% of the base malt must be one (and only one) of the following: U.S. 2-Row Pale Malt, U.S. Pilsner Malt, U.S. Pale Ale Malt, Wheat Malt, or Rye Malt
2. Specialty Grain: Must use at least 5% corn or maize (flaked, malted, torrified, or grits)
3. Rest of bill of fermentables: brewers choice, including any grain listed above
Yeast RequirementsMust use a single American strain of yeast (see below)
Other RulesSee Seven Total Ingredients Restriction below.
To be clear, "6-row" means 6-row pale malt, and not a specialty malt made from 6-row barley.
Total entries in division: 150.
Eligible for Best of Show?Yes


Commonwealth Beers Division
Shipping Location: Austin, Texas
BJCP Category #Style Name
11AOrdinary Bitter
12CEnglish IPA
13ADark Mild
15AIrish Red Ale
16BOatmeal Stout
27London Brown Ale (historical)
Special Rules for Division
Hop RequirementHop bill must be use either (a) 25% or more Target, or (b) 25% or more Northdown. The rest of hop bill must be one or more hops grown in the UK and/or any of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations as defined by Wikipedia (brewer's choice)
Fermentables Requirements1. Base Malt: Bill of fermentables must be at least 20% Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt, plus at least another 20% of the base malt must be one (and only one) of the following: base malt made from Golden Promise, Optic, or Pearl barley varietals; Wheat Malt; or Rye Malt
2. Specialty Grain: Must use at least 5% U.K. Crystal Malt (malt color left to brewer)
3. Rest of bill of fermentables: brewers choice, including any grain listed above
Yeast RequirementsMust use a single U.K. strain of yeast (see below)
Other RulesSee Seven Total Ingredients Restriction below.
Total entries in division: 150.
Eligible for Best of Show?Yes


Continental Beers Division
Shipping Location: Fresno, California
BJCP Category #Style Name
4BFestbier
7AVienna Lager
10AWeissbier
25BSaison
26BBelgian Dubbel
27Roggenbier (historical)
Special Rules for Division
Hop RequirementHop bill must be use either (a) 25% or more Hallertau, or (b) 25% or more Perle. The rest of hop bill must be one or more hops grown in Continental Europe (brewer's choice)
Fermentables Requirements1. Base Malt: Bill of fermentables must be at least 20% Vienna Malt, plus at least another 20% of the base malt must be one (and only one) of the following: Munich Malt, German Pilsner Malt, Belgian Pilsner Malt, Bohemian Pilsner Malt, Wheat Malt, or Rye Malt
2. Specialty Grain: Must use at least 5% Caramunich or Caravienne (malt color left to brewer)
3. Rest of bill of fermentables: brewers choice, including any grain listed above
Yeast RequirementsMust use a single Continental strain of yeast (see below)
Other RulesSee Seven Total Ingredients Restriction below.
Total entries in division: 150.
Eligible for Best of Show?Yes


Single Malt, Single Hop (SMaSH) Division
Shipping Location: Washington, D.C.
BJCP Category #Style Name
4CHelles Bock
5DGerman Pils
11CStrong Bitter
18ABlonde Ale
18BAmerican Pale Ale
24BBelgian Pale Ale
Special Rules for Division
Hop RequirementHop bill may contain only one hop variety of brewer's choice
Single Malt RequirementBill of fermentables (BOF) may contain only one type of fermentable (malt, grain, sugar, etc.) of brewers choice.
No toasting or other processing of grains unless you plan to use that one kind of processed grain for all of your fermentables.
No other adjuncts are allowed.
ExceptionsBrewing salts/acids, fining agents, and priming sugar for bottlers are not excluded by the single malt rule. Priming sugar is limited to amount needed for bottle carbonation, and is limited to pure table sugar (sucrose), powdered corn sugar (dextrose), and carbonation drops/tabs. No flavor-contributing sugars (i.e. honey, maple syrup, etc.) are allowed.
Yeast RequirementsAny microbes may be used (one or more)
Other RulesMust enter at least one beer in the geographic division to be eligible to enter SMaSH Division.
Total entries in division: 50.
Eligible for Best of Show?No. Only 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for the Division will be awarded.


Seven Total Ingredients Restriction - Applies only to Geographic Divisions


You can use seven total ingredients (Malt, grains, hops, yeast, adjuncts, etc.). Using an ingredient more than once in the process does not count against the limit again (for example, you can use Cluster hops for bittering and dry hop and it's still one ingredient against the limit of seven.) You can't modify an ingredient and call it the same ingredient (for example, plain table sugar and dark candi syrup you make from table sugar count as two ingredients against the limit.)

Exceptions to Seven Ingredient Rule: Water, water salts/acids, finings, and priming sugar for bottlers do not count against the seven ingredient limit. However, the priming sugar exception is limited to the amount needed for bottle carbonation, and limited to pure table sugar (sucrose), powdered corn sugar (dextrose), and unflavored carbonation drops/tabs. Priming sugars that contribute flavor, such as honey or brown sugar, count as one ingredient against the seven ingredient limit.


Regarding Yeast


We will not attempt to name or classify every single yeast or yeast blend. We ask that you use yeast that is traditional in the region of your geographic Division (American yeasts for American beers, European yeasts for Continental beers, etc), and follow the spirit of the competition. For example, the "Conan" yeast (ECY Vermont Ale or TYB Vermont IPA) has some English characteristics but clearly "grew up" in Vermont and is used almost exclusively in American IPAs. On the other hand, Wyeast 1332 (Northwest Ale) was directly sourced from Gale's Brewery in England, and retains its Englishness. What we don't want to see if use of an "American" yeast like WLP001 in an English IPA, or a German lager yeast in your Kentucky Common. Use the yeast origins chart on Mr. Malty as a good guideline. If you still have questions contact the Competition Director for a ruling before brewing.


The Spirit of the Competition


We may disqualify any entry that circumvents either the letter or spirit of the competition rules, which is to brew the best beer in these styles while putting the flavor of mandatory ingredients into the beer while dealing with ingredients restrictions. For example, using uncrushed grain or whole popcorn kernels to avoid truly using a mandatory fermentable in your beer, or baking a mandatory hop variety in the oven to eliminate its contribution to the beer. We don't want to disqualify your beer! So if you have any doubts, contact the Competition Director for a ruling before brewing.


BrewUnited Homebrew Heroes


The BrewUnited Homebrew Hero award may be given to a maximum of three brewers. The Homebrew Heroes will be recognized on the BrewUnited Homebrew Hero page, with a brewer bio, a photo gallery of the brewer, as well as links to their winning recipes and notes. A special prize package and medal will be awarded to each Hero! Furthermore, each winner gets the home brew equivalent of a green Masters jacket: the Homebrew Hero's cape.

Once a BrewUnited Homebrew Hero, always a Homebrew Hero - meaning that past cape winners are not eligible to win it again.

Any individual brewer who enters three non-SMaSH beers and scores at least a 30 for each of the three beers is eligible to win; winners will be selected by the following scoring criteria: first, the highest sum of the brewers' three beer scores; then if needed, the highest sum of the brewers' top two beer scores; then if needed, the highest of the brewers' lowest beer score. Team entries are not eligible for the Homebrew Hero award.


More Competition Rules, including stuff our freakin' lawyer is making us say


1. The competition is open to any brewer, amateur or professional.

2. All beers MUST be brewed on home brewing equipment. Using professional equipment or facilities disqualifies the brewer.

3. A maximum four entries is allowed per entrant: up to three entries in the geographic divisions, plus up to one entry in the SMaSH Division. Team brews will count against this limit, meaning a team brew uses up both an entry slot and an entry in that BJCP style for all team members. Any attempt to circumvent this entry cap (four beers per person) may result in the disqualification of all of your entries.

4. The terms, rules, restrictions, and requirements contained in the Division charts above are part of the competition rules.

5. Only one entry is allowed per BJCP style category. Entrants must enter at least one beer in a geographic division to enter a beer in the SMaSH Division.

6. Entrants must register and pay for entries via the BrewUnited.com website, using an active BrewUnited community account. If you do not already have an account, you may register for one with your competition registration (there is no charge for an account). Use a valid email address for your account because all confirmation, reminder, score sheet notification, and prize notifications emails will be sent to that email address. By registering, you agree to receive those emails (we will not spam you, nor will we sell or share your email with any third party).

7. Entry fees are non-refundable, and your beer entries are not registered until you have paid the entry fees in full via Paypal (you may use your PayPal account or use a credit card) before they can be considered to be active.

8. For each beer entry, the brewer must include a complete recipe and detailed process notes, certifying compliance with the rules, using the online interface at BrewUnited.com. No paper submission will be accepted. This must be completed for each entry before shipping and entry labels can be printed. Beers for which any recipe or process data is missing may be disqualified by us without notice.

9. You must ship two 12-ounce bottles of each submitted beer to the judging location for the applicable Division, at your expense. Shipping addresses will be provided no later than September 1, 2016. Each bottle should be labeled only with the printed competition label, which must be attached to the bottle with a rubber band. Beers with any other markings or labels on the bottle or cap may result in disqualification. Bottle geometry (longnecks, shorties, etc.) is up to the brewer, as long as the bottles are twelve U.S. ounces in volume. It is strongly suggested that brewers use brown or amber bottles. We are not responsible for beer shipped to the wrong shipping address (i.e. a Continental Division beer mistakenly shipped to the American Division address).

10. The delivery window for beer is September 23, 2016 to October 7, 2016. We are not responsible for any beer delivered before then, and any beer received after then may be disqualified. Contact the competition director as soon as possible if you cannot comply with this delivery window.

11. If your beer advances to the Overall Best of Show round (i.e. you win one of the three main Divisions), you will be required to ship a third bottle of beer to a new location. Beers must be received for Overall Best of Show no later than October 26, 2016, and judging will take place on October 28, 2016. You will not have time to re-brew for Overall Best of Show!!

12. After judging is complete and the winners are announced, brewers will be notified via email to return to the website to access digital versions of their score sheets. This may take 2-3 weeks to complete. BJCP score sheets will be scanned into PDF format for download and printing.

13. By entering, you grant BrewUnited the express right to publish your recipe, process notes, etc. You will receive full credit for all such information, but you agree to allow us to post it here on the website. We will not return any beer shipped to us and not used for judging. By registering for a BrewUnited.com account, you agree to the terms of service of BrewUnited.com.

14. BrewUnited reserves the right to the change these rules at any time, including during or after the shipping window or judging, in its sole discretion. Any updates to rules will be binding when posted and will be posted only on BrewUnited.com; you are solely responsible for checking BrewUnited.com regularly for changes.

15. BrewUnited also reserves the right to interpret these rules, or disqualify any entry for any rules violation, at any time, including during or after the shipping window or judging, in its sole discretion. By entering in the competition, you agree that the liability of BrewUnited, BrewUnited.com, the competition organizer, the judges, and their respective staff is limited in the aggregate to the amount of your entry fees, and that any claim related to or arising from the BrewUnited Challenge must in any way be brought under Alabama law, which shall apply, in courts sitting in Alabama.



Special thanks goes out to chino_brews for his extensive help in editing our rules into something more coherent (and legally palatable)!