Hoppy Halloween Categories

Entries should be entered All BJCP 2021 Styles and all styles of beer, cider and mead will be accepted.

Official BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines


The Hoppy Halloween Challenge has TWO categories unique to this competition:

Fresh Killed Hops Beer

Halloween Theme Beer/Mead/Cider


Hoppy Halloween will award medals using a slightly consolidated grouping of categories similar to the National Homebrew Competition.

When entering a fruited beer where the base style happens to be sour - please use category 29A and not 28C.


HH # Category Name NHC Category BJCP 2021 Category
1 Light Lager 1 1A, 1B, 2A, 4A, 4B, 5C
2 Pilsner 2 3A, 3B 5A, 5D, LSX5
3 European Amber Lager 3 3C, 7A, 6A, 7C
4 Dark Lager 4 2C, 3D, 8A, 8B
5 Bock 5 4C, 6C, 9A, 9B
6 Light Hybrid Beer 6 1C, 1D, 5B, 18A
7 Amber Hybrid Beer 7 2B, 7B, 19B
8 English Pale Ale 8 11A, 11B, 11C, 12A, 12B
9 Scottish and Irish Ale 9 14A, 14B, 14C, 15A, 17C
10 American Ale 10, 11 18B, 19A, 19C
11 English Brown and Mild 12 13A, 13B
12 Porter 13 9C, 13C, 20A
13 Stout 14, 15 15B, 15C, 16A, 16B, 16C, 16D, 20B, 20C
14 American and Double IPA 16, +17B 21A, 22A
15 Other IPA 17, -17B 12C, 21B, 21C
16 German Wheat and Rye 18 10A, 10B, 10C
17 Belgian and French Ale 19 24A, 24B, 24C, 25B, 26A
18 Sour Ale 20, +26A,B,C 23A, 23B, 23C, 23D, 23E, 23F, 23G, 28A, 28B, 28C, 28D
19 Belgian Strong Ale 21 25A, 25C, 26B, 26C, 26D
20 Strong Ale 22 17A, 17B, 17D, 22B, 22C, 22D
21 Fruit Beer 23, +26E 29A, 29C, 29D 
22 Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer 24 30A, 30B, 30C
23 Smoke Flavored/Wood Aged Beer 25, +26H, 26I  6B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B
24 Specialty Beer 26, -26A,B,C,E,H,I 27, 29B, 31A, 31B, 34A, 34B, 34C
25 Traditional Mead 27 M1A, M1B, M1C
26 Fruit Mead 28 M2A, M2B, M2C, M2D, M2E
27 Spice and Specialty Mead 29 M3A, M3B, M4A, M4B, M4C
28 Standard Cider and Perry 30 C1A, C1B, C1C, C1D, C1E
29 Specialty Cider and Perry 31 C2A, C2B, C2C, C2D, C2E, C2F
30 Halloween Theme Beer/Mead/Cider    
31 Fresh Killed Hops Beer    



Fresh Killed Hops Beer  

A wet hop beer made with fresh undried hops that displays the character of those hops in the flavor and aroma.
Brewers should specify the base style and the variety of the wet hop used.
Two bottles are needed for this category.
Brewers are allowed to enter more than one beer in this category, but they must be obviously different beers.
The winner in this category will not be eligible to compete for Best of Show. Also, medallists in this category will not accumulate points toward the Great Pumpkin Award.

Commercial examples are Surly Wet, Brau Brothers 100 Yard Dash, Founders Harvest Ale, Great Divide Fresh Hop, Deschutes Hop Trip Pale Ale, and many more.


Wet Hopped Beers

Aroma: Generally a big fresh herbal, grassy hop aroma including earthy, spicy, floral, citrus or fruity hops. Aromas including grass, herb, tropical and citrus fruits, pine, and apricot are typical but can feature any variety or combination. Notes of malt including grainy, caramel, biscuit, and bready may be found in the background and should reflect the malt character of any base style listed but should always support and feature the wet hop character in a harmonious blend. Roast malt may be found in darker versions but should not upstage the hop aromas. Low to no diacetyl. Alcohol notes may be present in higher gravity versions but should not overwhelm.

Appearance: Golden to Black. Thick white to tan white head that lingers. Many are quite clear but may have slight haze from wet hopping in fermentation tank. If base style is hazy then final wet hop beer would be appropriately hazy.

Flavor: A big hop flavor followed by a balanced malt backbone. Hop flavors including earthy, spicy, floral, citrus, fruity, or resiny hops are typical but can feature any variety or combination. Grainy, caramel, biscuit, bready or even roast malts in darker versions are typical but both malt and hops should reflect the character of any base style listed and should always support and feature the wet hop character in a harmonious blend. Fresh herbal, grassy notes are typical. Hop bitterness I can be balanced to fairly high but generally the malt helps balance with some malt found in the finish. Fermentation esters may be present but are generally overpowered by hop flavors. Low to no diacetyl. Soft alcohol may be noticeable in higher gravity versions but should not jump out overpowering hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium light to medium full body. Medium to medium high carbonation. Warmth found in higher gravity versions. Depending on malts used may be crisp or creamy. Resinous finish may linger on tongue from fresh hops.

Overall impression: A pleasant beer with upfront fresh hop aroma and flavor. These are generally quite balanced beers in the flavor and finish with the focus on the wet hops and should always support and feature the wet hop character in a harmonious blend.

Ingredients: Typically uses American malts, fresh, never dried, wet hops, and American yeast although English ingredients could be considered traditional. This is a wide open style and anything goes as long as it is harmonious with and features the wet hops.

Comments: Any style of beer can be wet hopped; the goal is to reach a pleasant balance between the wet hop character and the base beer style. THE ENTRANT MUST SPECIFY THE UNDERLYING BEER STYLE. IF THIS BEER IS BASED ON A CLASSIC STYLE (E.G., ROBUST PORTER) THEN THE SPECIFIC STYLE MUST BE SPECIFIED. CLASSIC STYLES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CITED (E.G., “PORTER” OR “BROWN ALE” IS ACCEPTABLE).

History: Originating in Europe, a tradition of brewing a special seasonal beer with just-harvested green, a.k.a. "wet," hops. In 1996, the Brewmaster of Sierra Nevada, Steve Dresler, learned of this technique from a hop farmer and decided to give it a try and other breweries have followed show casing short-lived fresh flavors, terroir, and being in tune with the seasons. There is a less full-throttled intensity; the fresh hops add vibrancy, fineness, and a chlorophyll-driven energy that you don't get in standard-hopped beers.

ABV: Varies with base style.

IBUs: Varies with base style

SRM: Varies with base style

OG: Varies with base style

FG: Varies with base style



Halloween Theme Beer/Mead/Cider    

Any beer with characteristics that would identify it as being made for, and in the spirit of, Halloween.  Individual qualities such as aroma, appearance, and flavor should be part of the “Halloweeness” of the entry. 
Brewers should specify the base style and any unique ingredients as appropriate.  
(Nothing that could be a considered a Health Hazard Please)

Only one bottle is needed for this category

Any live presentations by the brewers will be limited to 3 minutes.

This category will be judged with the theme in mind. It will be judged to BJCP style guidelines of the base beer, mead or cider according to the standard 50 point system PLUS the entry’s adherence to the spirit of the holiday will be assessed based upon an additional 25 point “Halloween Scale”:

Beer Name 5 points
Appearance 5 points
Aroma/Flavor 5 points
Overall Impression 10 points

The name of the entry and any packaging, bottle and/or label embellishments will be factored into the final score! Halloween Theme beers do not have to be scary with a ton of props.  A well made pumpkin ale with an appropriate name and bottle will be judged as it fits the classic holiday theme while a red colored spicy pepper beer in a bottle covered with devils will be judged befitting the spooky side of Halloween.

This category will be judged live in front of an audience.  Theme beers must be named but elaborate bottle decorations are not required though they can enhance the score.  Additional background documentation can also be included but anything over a paragraph that has to be read aloud to the judges and audience will just put them to sleep.

Please note: To insure anonymity, brewers are encouraged to name their beer accordingly (i.e. please don’t incorporate your name, initials or any other wording that would identify the beer as yours). Have fun!

Due to the “unique” nature of this category, the Gold medal winner will not be eligible to compete for Best of Show. Also, medallists in this category will not accumulate points toward the Great Pumpkin Award.

Brewers are allowed to enter more than one beer in this category.

Original Gravity (°Plato) Final Gravity (°Plato) % Alc./Wt. (Alc./V.) IBUs SRM (EBC)
1.030-110 (7.5-27.5) 1.006-30 (2-8) 2.0-9.5 (2.5-12.1) 0-100 1-100 (2-197)


Halloween Theme Beer Gallery







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