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Old 05-24-2010, 02:02 AM   #1
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Default 14th annual BEER Brew-off

Any other HBTers place? I took first in the Fruit, SHV, Smoked category with my Caber Toss Oaked Porter (also here). It scored a respectable 35.

Interestingly, my Russian Imperial Stout scored a huge 41 and didn't even place. It did get me one of the coolest comments I've seen: "Haunting hop notes."

-Joe

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Old 05-24-2010, 03:22 AM   #2
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I took a third for my N. English Brown entered as a Mild. Excellent score sheets from this comp.

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Old 05-25-2010, 02:43 AM   #3
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Congrats! My score sheets were all over the map. One had very few comments, one had nothing but positive things to say but scored 35, one didn't have several parts filled out.

-Joe

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Old 05-25-2010, 03:04 AM   #4
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Congrats! My score sheets were all over the map. One had very few comments, one had nothing but positive things to say but scored 35, one didn't have several parts filled out.

-Joe
Congrats as well!

That sucks about your sheets. One guy was a national judge and nailed everything I like and dislike about my beer. Super explicit and well filled out.
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:17 PM   #5
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Thanks! Yeah, there were a few good comments, but I was hoping for a little more constructive feedback to help improve my beer. The only two negatives on my 35-point porter were "low carbonation" and "more oak for less time (tannins)". Which are useful, but I'd have expected a little more.

-Joe

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Old 05-25-2010, 09:31 PM   #6
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I actually got VERY contradicting comments and scoring on an old ale aged in a whiskey barrel. I entered into 22C and had one judge (BJCP) say that the smoke was overpowering, and the other judge (professional brewer) said there was no smoke character and it was supposed to have it. Category 22C does not require smoke, and there was absolutely no smoke character in the beer. So while the pro brewer got that part right, he was totally wrong on the category requirements.

Secondly, both judges said the beer was under-attenuated and too sweet. BJCP guidelines for old ale are "Usually tilted toward a sweeter, maltier balance."

The only comment that was valid was the BJCP judge said it was "too young", and being that it was only aged 3 months, I gotta give him that.

Basically, this competition soured my opinion of competitions and I now agree with the president of my homebrew club who thinks they are a waste of time because the judges are usually contradictory and too subjective.

In all honesty, I now view them as a waste of my precious beer.

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Old 05-26-2010, 02:10 AM   #7
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Secondly, both judges said the beer was under-attenuated and too sweet. BJCP guidelines for old ale are "Usually tilted toward a sweeter, maltier balance."

The only comment that was valid was the BJCP judge said it was "too young", and being that it was only aged 3 months, I gotta give him that.

Basically, this competition soured my opinion of competitions and I now agree with the president of my homebrew club who thinks they are a waste of time because the judges are usually contradictory and too subjective.

In all honesty, I now view them as a waste of my precious beer.
I've had my share of doozies as well. Don't let it ruin your perception of all competitions. Like everything else, there are good and bad. It's also a weird period of time we're in, home brewing and craft beer is at an all-time high in terms of popularity and numbers. There was a record number of entries at NHC this year, but a limited amount of judges. Comp coordinators are almost forced to let anyone judge who wants to, just to get the competition judged in a reasonable amount of time. It doesn't help that the BJCP is still only allowing five exams a month, it's booked for almost a full year in advance right now. Hopefully we'll all catch up in time.

Like I said, it's worth it to enter a few beers now and then, even if you get only a good score sheet or two. It helps to fine tune your palate and get your beers dialed in.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:17 AM   #8
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I've entered three so far, and only one really was squared away. The second one I entered a sweet stout. One judge said in the recommendations that it needed more lactose. His suggestion: 1 pound. My recipe: 1 pound.

I'm sure I'll enter again one day, but definitely only local ones I don't have to go out of my way for.

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Old 05-26-2010, 03:35 AM   #9
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I've entered three so far, and only one really was squared away. The second one I entered a sweet stout. One judge said in the recommendations that it needed more lactose. His suggestion: 1 pound. My recipe: 1 pound.

I'm sure I'll enter again one day, but definitely only local ones I don't have to go out of my way for.
That's lame, they're not supposed to assume anything about the recipe, only point out what the beer is lacking.

The HBT forum comp judges scored my American Amber a 29 and both sheets claimed my beer was way under attenuated. Both said "cloyingly sweet". It finished at 1.013, actually a point or two lower than I intended.

Two months later it won a gold and scored a 42, one judge claimed he would purchase multiple pints of it, and remarked how well fermented and clean it was. Still scratching my head about that.

Anyhoo, I still enter beers in competitions, every one I enter points out some detail about one of my beers I miss.
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:43 AM   #10
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Just got my scoresheets back from a different comp. You want to talk about scratching your head? The same RIS that scored 41 in the brew off scored 22.5 in this one.

Here's a comparison of comments on the RIS from the BEER comp scoresheets and this second one - the beers were bottled and entered within days of each other. BEER comments first:

malt is there in nose, nice strong coffee and chocolate notes
very low aromas

Deep roastiness
not enough roasted malt character, Almost no flavor after the light roast

burnt maltiness gives nice bitter
light bitterness, little malt character

alcohol presence, alcohol not obvious yet felt
no alcohol flavor or warmth

this is a very fine example of the style.
would have been better as 13A

great body
almost a bit watery

haunting hop notes
no hops


It's like they judged two different beers that were the exact opposite of one another.

I guess you chalk that up to bad position in the flight and move on, eh? I realized there would be fluctuation among palates, but I had no idea it could swing this wildly. I was entering competitions with the hopes of having my beers critically evaluated, but this doesn't really help at all.

-Joe

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