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The Competition

The Best Finnish Beer competition

The purpose of the competition is to improve the appreciation of Finnish beers and to make beers and their producers known. The competition brings an interesting addition to the Finnish beer culture and stimulates discussion about the taste, quality, raw materials and production of beers.

The Best Finnish Beer competition is the only Finnish beer competition that gathers domestic producers together to compete with their products. The products of large and small producers participate in the competition in parallel, in which case the beer itself and the related quality and taste factors are the main points under scrutiny.

For the consumer, the competition provides tools for making choices by highlighting familiar and previously unknown products and their characteristics. At the same time, it encourages a beer lover to try flavors and products that differ from the user’s usual taste. For manufacturers the competition provides support for product marketing and direction for new product development.

Main sponsor of the competition is Viking Malt. Other sponsors are Pienpanimoliitto, Panimo- ja virvoitusjuomaliitto, Caldic Brew Nordic, Perho Liiketalousoppilaitos, Rastal and mediapartner Olutposti.

The right to participate in the competition

The competition is open to all beers made in Finland by commercial breweries operating in Finland. The beers have to be in regular on-trade or retail sales. Only retail packed products (can, bottle) can participate in the competition.


The best three products in each category are awarded. The jury then selects The Best Finnish Beer among the winners of each category. Also the best three gluten-free beers are given an honourable mention.

The Best Finnish Beer is awarded with an honourable mention and a diploma. In addition, The Best Finnish Beer is sponsored to represent Finland and the winning brewery in the European Beer Awards.

The three best beers in every category receive a diploma.

Announcing the results and the award ceremony take place in a separate Best Finnish Beer event where the winning beers are presented also to the public and the press.

Competition categories

There are 15 different categories in The Best Finnish Beer competition in 2024.

The beers in the competition are categorized by applying the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines 2021.

1. Non-alcoholic or Low-alcoholic Beer

Category for beers with an alcohol content less than 2.8% ABV. Non-alcoholic beers contain alcohol less than 0.5% ABV.

035A  Non-alcoholic beer

035B Low-alcoholic beer

2. Lightly Hopped Pale Lager

Category for the bottom fermented lightly hopped pale lagers. Examples of the International and American Pale Lagers are typically industrial scale beers with big brands.

001A American Light Lager

001B American Lager

002A  International Pale Lager

004A Munich Helles

005A German Leichtbier

002A1 Mexican Lager

3.  Pils or Other Hoppy Lagers

Category for the bottom fermented bitter pils (pilsner, pilsener) and other hoppy lagers.

003B Czech Premium Pale Lager

005D German Pils

027A6 Pre-Prohibition Lager

034B1 Other Hoppy Pils

034B2 Other Strongly Hopped Lager

034B4 India Pale Lager

4. Other Pale Lager

Category for the other bottom fermented pale lagers.

002D  Strong Pale Lager

003A Czech Pale Lager

004B Festbier

004C Maibock

005C Dortmunder / German Helles Exportbier

009AB Pale Doppelbock

007C1  Pale Kellerbier

5. Dark or Coloured Lager

Category for the bottom fermented Amber and Dark Lagers and Dark Bocks.

002B  International Amber Lager

002C International Dark Lager

003C Czech Amber Lager

003D Czech Dark Lager

006A Märzen

006C Dunkles Bock

007A Vienna Lager

008A Munich Dunkel

008B Schwarzbier

009AA Dark Doppelbock

009B Eisbock

019B California Common

007C2 Pale Kellerbier

6. Pale or Amber Ale /Category sponsored by Viking Malt

Category for the top fermented pale or amber ales, traditional English IPA:s and pale strong ales. Colour scale is up to dark copper, about 50 EBC.

001C Cream Ale

005B Kölsch

007B Altbier

007B1 Sticke & Doppelsticke Altbier

011A Ordinary Bitter

011B Best Bitter

011C Strong Bitter

011B1 British Pale Ale

012A British Golden Ale

012B Australian Sparkling Ale

012C  English IPA

013A Dark Mild

013B  British Brown Ale

014A Scottish Light (60 shillings)

014B Scottish Heavy (70 shillings)

014C  Scottish Export (80 shillings)

015A Irish Red Ale

017A  British Strong Ale

017A1 Burton Ale

017B Old Ale

017C Wee Heavy

017D  English Barley Wine

018A  American Blonde Ale

019A  American Amber Ale

019C  American Brown Ale

022B  American Strong Ale

022C  American Barleywine

024B  Belgian Pale Ale

024C Bière de Garde

025A  Belgian Blond Ale

025B Saison

025B1 Grisette

025C Belgian Golden Strong Ale

026A  Belgian Single

026B  Belgian Dubbel

026C  Belgian Tripel

026D  Belgian Dark Strong Ale

027A2 Kentucky Common

027A4  London Brown Ale

7. APA or Session IPA

Category for the American Pale Ales and light session-type IPA’s.

018B  American Pale Ale

021B8 Specialty IPA – Session IPA

8. Hazy IPA

Category for Hazy IPA’s.

021C  Hazy IPA

9. IPA

Category for the American IPA’s other than Hazy IPA, Session IPA and some specialty IPA’s that are found in other categories.

021A American IPA

021B Specialty IPA

021B1 Specialty IPA – Belgian IPA

021B2  Specialty IPA – Black IPA

021B3  Specialty IPA – Brown IPA

021B4 Specialty IPA – Red IPA

021B5  Specialty IPA – Rye IPA

021B6 Specialty IPA – White IPA

021B7  Specialty IPA – Brut IPA

022A Double IPA

021B0 Speciality IPA – Cold IPA / Specialty IPA – Cold IPA

10. Wheat Beer

Category for bottom- or top-fermented wheat beers.

001D American Wheat Beer

010A  Weissbier

010B  Dunkles Weissbier

010C  Weizenbock

022D Wheatwine

024A Witbier

027A5 Piwo Grodziskie

034B3  Hoppy Weizenbock

11. Stout or Porter /Category sponsored by Viking Malt

Category for the stouts and porters regardless of strength or the yeast type used for fermentation. Barrel-aged or otherwise aged beers do not belong here; they have their own category.

009C Baltic Porter

013C English Porter

015B Irish Stout

015C Irish Extra Stout

016A  Sweet Stout

016B Oatmeal Stout

016C Tropical Stout

016D Foreign Extra Stout

020A American Porter

020B  American Stout

020C Imperial Stout

027A7 Pre-Prohibition Porter

031B1 Dessert/Pastry Stout

034B5  Belgian Stout

12.  Sour Beer, unspiced or spiced

Category for both spiced and unspiced sour beers. For example, Lambic, Gose, Berliner Weisse, Sour Ale and other sour beers.

021B9  Specialty IPA – Sour IPA

023A Berliner Weisse

023B Flanders Red Ale

023C Oud Bruin

023D Lambic

023E Gueuze

023F Fruit Lambic

023G Gose

027A3 Lichtenhainer

028A Brett Beer

028B Mixed-Fermentation Sour Beer

028C Wild Specialty Beer

028D Straight Sour Beer

028D1 Florida Weisse

034D  Other Sour Beer

13. Spiced Beer

Category for spiced beers. For example, fruit beers, berry beers and other spiced beers. Sour beers are not meant to be in this category.

027A1 Gruit

029A  Fruit Beer

029B Fruit and Spice Beer

029C Specialty Fruit Beer

029C1 Milkshake IPA

029D Grape Ale

030A Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer

030A1 Blonde Stout

030B S Autumn Seasonal Beer

030C Winter Seasonal Beer

030D  Specialty Spice Beer

14. Aged Beer

Category for the barrel aged or otherwise aged beers.

033A Wood-Aged Beer

033B Specialty Wood-Aged Beer

034A1 Other Aged Beer

15. Other Beers

Category for the beers that don’t fit into any other competition category.

006B  Rauchbier

027A8 Roggenbier

027A9 Sahti

031A Alternative Grain Beer

031B  Alternative Sugar Beer

032A  Classic Style Smoked Beer

032B  Specialty Smoked Beer

034A Commercial Specialty Beer

034B Mixed-Style Beer

034C Kokeellinen olut / Experimental Beer

A brewery can label their beer as gluten-free. In this case, the beer is automatically evaluated in the category of gluten-free beers. This category is not judged separately but the best are selected among the best scoring gluten-free beers in each category.

Judging the categories and the jury

The jury consists of beer industry professionals as well as beer enthusiasts and consumers alike. The jury judges the beers entered in the competition by blind tasting every category at a time. A person who is affiliated with beer producers or their products participating in the competition cannot function as a judge.

There is an application process to be a judge and the jury will be trained before judging. The aim is to select the jury so that there are both people with plenty of judging experience and those who are newer beer enthusiasts. The intent is also to include people working in retail and on-trade of alcoholic beverages so that the jury is as extensive as possible and representative of the Finnish beer palate.

Judging of beers and scoring

The beers are judged on a scale between 0 and 50, the score 50 being the best.

Judging a category may take place in several servings. If a category has only one serving, three beers with the highest scores are awarded. If several products receive the same score, the award is shared between them.

If more than one serving is held in each category, the best scoring beers of each serving move on to a semi- final. If there are less than four servings, six samples are selected to the semi-final, whereas the number of selected samples is eight if there are four or more servings. The judging of a semi-final is conducted via conversation among the judges after which the jury selects the three best beers of a category.