Pale Ales – U.S. Open Beer Championship Categories
Category 1:
 English Pale Ale
Color: Gold to copper
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium malt aroma and flavor is present. Low caramel character is allowable.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Earthy and herbal English-variety hop character should be perceived, but may result from the skillful use of hops of other origin.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium-low to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery character is moderate to strong. Diacetyl can be absent or may be perceived at very low levels.
Body: Medium
Alcohol by Volume: 4.40% – 5.30%
IBU: 20-40
Color SRM: 5-14

Category 2: American Pale Ale 
Color: Deep golden to copper or light brown
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low caramel malt aroma is allowable. Low to medium maltiness may include low caramel malt character.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Body: Medium
Alcohol by Volume: 4.40% – 5.40%
IBU: 30-42
Color SRM: 6-14

Category 3: American Strong Pale Ale
Color: Deep golden to copper
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low caramel malt aroma is allowable. Low level maltiness may include low caramel malt character.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic-catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
Perceived Bitterness: High
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Body: Medium
Alcohol by Volume: 5.60% – 6.30%
IBU: 40 – 50
Color SRM: 6 – 14

Category 4: International Style Pale Ale
Color: Gold to light brown
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium malt flavor and aroma should be present. Low caramel malt aroma and flavor may be present.
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Hop aroma is low to high. Hop flavor is very low to high. Hop character can vary widely depending on variety and origin of hops used, and should reflect attributes typical of non-U.S. and non-British variety hops.
Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high
Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery flavor and aroma can be low to high. Diacetyl should be absent or present at very low levels. DMS should not be present.
Body: Low to medium
ABV: 4.40% – 6.60%
IBU: 20 – 42
Color SRM: 5 – 14

Category 5: Australian-Style Pale Ale
Color: Straw to medium amber
Clarity: Yeast, chill and/or hop haze may be present in this style at low levels but are not essential
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Very low to medium
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-low to medium-high, exhibiting attributes typical of modern Australian hop varieties such as tropical fruit, mango, passionfruit, and/or stone-fruit
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium-high
Fermentation Characteristics: Very low to low fruity esters are acceptable but not essential.
Body: Low to medium-low with a dry finish
Additional notes: Overall impression is a well-integrated easy drinking, refreshing pale ale style with distinctive fruity Australian hop aromas and flavours. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at very low levels. DMS should not be present.
Alcohol by Volume:4.0%-6.0%
IBU: 15-40
Color SRM:3-9

Category 6:  Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale
Color: Straw to deep gold
Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to low-medium malt aroma and flavor may be present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. Perceived impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance, and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be present, but are usually overwhelmed by hop fruitiness. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
Body: Medium-low to medium-high. Perceived silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
Additional notes: Grist may include a small amount of oat, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. Descriptors such as “juicy” are often used to describe the taste and aroma hop-derived attributes present in these beers.
Alcohol by Volume: 4.4%-5.4%
IBU: 25-50
Color SRM: 4-7

Category 7:  Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale
Color: Straw to deep gold
Clarity: Low to very high degree of cloudiness is typical of these beers. Starch, yeast, hop, protein and/or other compounds contribute to a wide range of hazy appearance within this category.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium-low malt aroma and flavor may be present
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Medium-high to very high hop aroma and flavor are present, with attributes typical of hops from any origin.
Perceived Bitterness: Low to medium. The impression of bitterness is soft and well-integrated into overall balance and may differ significantly from measured or calculated IBU levels.
Fermentation Characteristics: Medium-low to medium-high fruity esters may be present, and can contribute to the perception of sweetness and be complementary to the hop profile. Diacetyl should not be present.
Body: Medium-low to medium-high. A silky or full mouthfeel may contribute to overall flavor profile.
Additional notes: Grist may include oats, wheat or other adjuncts to promote haziness. The term “juicy” is frequently used to describe taste and aroma attributes often present in these beers which result from late, often very large, additions of hops. A juicy character is not required, however. Other hop-derived attributes such as citrus, pine, spice, floral or others may be present with or without the presence of juicy attributes.
Alcohol by Volume: 5.6%-10.0%
IBU: 25-60
Color SRM: 4-9

Category 8: Specialty Pale Ale
So many brewers like to put their on touches to traditional pale ales. Thus, these ales do not fit into the traditional pale ale style according to the definition from the Association of Brewers. The “Out of Bounds Pale Ale” category will let the judges use just their taste buds to determine which ale gets the gold.