We have received the results from the B.O.S.S. Brewing Competition. I filled out an AHA Beer Score Sheet prior to receiving the results from the competition. I rated the beer as follows:
Overall Impression: 5/10
This rated as "Very Good" (roughly the same as "Average").
The final score in the competition was 34/50 - "Very Good"
The two judges who rated this beer had the following comments:
AROMA (9/12; 9/12)
"slight grassy piney hops, very nice!"
"slight fruity, esters, tropical"
"a hint of caramel and bread"
"piney, grassy hop aromas"
APPEARANCE (2/3; 3/3)
"medium gold, clear, off-white head, moderately lasts"
"very clear beer, light amber color with a head that does not hold for long"
FLAVOR (12/20; 12/20)
"very, very dry"
"astringency stale hop flavor that could be due to old hops"
"picking up musty taste, slightly oxidized, maybe"
"woody hops, some citrus, piney, crisp with moderate malt presence."
"slight sulfur presence"
"balance between hops and malt."
MOUTHFEEL (3/5; 4/5)
"medium body, smooth, no noticeable astringency"
"dry beer with little carbonation leaves a heavy dryness"
"after drinking, I pick up an alcoholic flavor in the nose"
OVERALL IMPRESSION (7/10; 7/10)
"It might just be old hops that you have used"
"Try to improve your fermentation temperatures and watch the amount of carbonation."
"A very good beer overall. Malt is present, perhaps could use a bit more malt for the balance."
"As the beer warms, it becomes a bit astringent and coppery."
We used pellet hops for my batch, and it was fresh at the time. We knew that our carbonation would be an issue - our calculations for carbonation probably need to be tweaked - we were shooting for a 2.5 carbonation level, but perhaps we should be going for a somewhat higher number.
This beer was bottled and carbed using priming sugar (corn sugar), but we also kegged ten gallons of it and forced carbed it. The forced carbed beer does taste quite a bit better, and significantly different enough to be able to tell the two apart.
One of the judges mentioned oxidation as an issue - it's always possible, but I really think that our hops profile needs a tune up. For American Pale Ale's, the hops profile (aroma and flavor) is what has to be done right for the beer to be heading in the right direction.
From my own tasting of the beer, the aroma is really awesome, but the mouthfeel and taste of the beer are incongruent with that aroma. The beer smells like it will taste one way, and when you taste it, it does not meet that expectation. At least for me. We will be tweaking this recipe and brewing it again on 04/21. We are only changing the hop profile for this batch. We are still using all the same hops, but significantly cutting back our use of the Cascade, lowering the IBUs. If the hop profile comes out tasting good, subsequent brews will (hopefully) focus on the grain bill - seeking a slightly more full-bodied ale with a less-watery mouthfeel and better head retention (which is all about the mash, I guess).
Cheers to any and all who have been following. I'll post our final recipe for the second batch around brew day and go through the process again.