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Old 11-10-2010, 02:45 AM   #1
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Default All Novice Judging Panel?

Is it possible for a judging panel to be made up of all Novice (non-BJCP) judges? I would think a competition would require at least 1 Recognized Judge in the flight.

The reason I ask is I just got my score sheets back and am disappointed with the results for my American Stout (average 27). All the judges commented on how there were "too much hops". I had the IBUs at 60, within the style, but I can't help but wonder if they'd ever even had this type of stout and realized it's not a Guinness.

I guess what I'm saying is, for my $6 and bottling time, I at least want a real judge with constructive feedback and not a random off the street. Anyone else had lame competition experience you'd like to share?

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:17 AM   #2
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"Too much hops" doesn't necessarily only apply to IBUs. They could mean flavor and/or aroma, too. Let's have a look at your recipe and briefly describe your process, and see if those judges were in the ballpark.

Sorry to hear about your scores, man. Never, ever worry about what someone else thinks about your homebrew as long as you brew what you want to drink.

TB

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Old 11-10-2010, 04:59 AM   #3
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I used the following hops in a 1.062 OG, 1.011 FG 12.4 gallon (prechill) 10.8 gallon into the fermentor beer:

2 oz 13.8% Nugget @ 60
1 oz 13.8% Nugget @ 40
1 oz 13.1% Magnum @ 20
2 oz 9.1% Amarillo @5

The grain bill was based on the BCS American Stout with the addition of 2 lb flaked barley.

I just tasted a retention bottle I filled and I think the hops are not "too much". I get more dark chocolate and coffee than the citrus in the aroma and the roastyness comes through in the flavor. When I look at the judging forms they are adding comments right out of the style guideline and listing them like flaws because they don't like them. I don't think the judges really understood this style. I may be cellar blind on this one, I'll grab a few commercial examples to calibrate my palate (I love this kind of homework) and take mine to my next club meeting and get some other opinions as well.

It's funny because I got a 36 from a Certified judge on an Amber that I though was an ok beer and a 31 on an AmRye from a National judge but if I would have had to bet before the competition, I would have put my money on the stout to get a better score than everything else I entered. I guess I can't help but focus on the negative. I did get some quality constructive feedback from a National judge that I'll try to see if I can taste the same flaws as he did. (which was my purpose for entering in the first place)

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Old 11-10-2010, 05:26 AM   #4
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I would have thought they would have had a set of the style guidelines at the table. Style 13E, American Stout:

"A hoppy, bitter, strongly roasted Foreigh Style Stout."

IBU's 35-75

2 oz 13.8% Nugget @ 60
1 oz 13.8% Nugget @ 40
1 oz 13.1% Magnum @ 20
2 oz 9.1% Amarillo @5

But, that's a ton of hops. Ran ProMash and it comes up with 84.6 IBU's per your recipe.


What software did you run? Are you BJCP Certified or trained? Not poking, just asking.

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Old 11-10-2010, 05:30 AM   #5
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BJCP sanctioned competitions do not have to be judged by BJCP recognized judges.

Homebrew competitions are like homebrew shops. Some are good, and some are lacking. Some have great staff that know their $h!t and some have newbies trying to run the show. You have to pick and choose carefully. Never assume that just because you walk into a homebrew shop (or enter a beer competition) that the staff are experts.

Regardless, sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the scores. But did you get any valuable feedback?

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigscience View Post
Is it possible for a judging panel to be made up of all Novice (non-BJCP) judges? I would think a competition would require at least 1 Recognized Judge in the flight.

The reason I ask is I just got my score sheets back and am disappointed with the results for my American Stout (average 27). All the judges commented on how there were "too much hops". I had the IBUs at 60, within the style, but I can't help but wonder if they'd ever even had this type of stout and realized it's not a Guinness.

I guess what I'm saying is, for my $6 and bottling time, I at least want a real judge with constructive feedback and not a random off the street. Anyone else had lame competition experience you'd like to share?
Do you know all three judges were novices because they indicated that on the score sheets or are you guessing because you don't like what they said? If the former, I would never enter that competition again.

As the other guy said, hoppy doesn't mean bitterness per se and I'll also point out that you don't actually know what the IBUs are. You can't except someone's perception to match what some software guestimated.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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To be fair, that *is* a lot of hops. American-style hops certainly can have a fair amount of hop character, but... Speaking personally here, I'm not BGCJ certified but I think I've got a pretty decent idea of styles, I'd still want my American "stout" to be a "stout" first and foremost. Is the roastiness still upfront?

That level of hopping strikes me as potentially more reminiscent of a "Black IPA" or "Cascadian Dark Ale" (whatever you want to call it).

But, everyone's got an opinion, and there's no hard-and-fast rules on how much hopping is too much versus not enough for the style. I wouldn't assume that the judges weren't certified or didn't know what they were doing just because they though this was TOO hoppy for a stout.

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Old 11-10-2010, 02:05 PM   #8
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The Amarillo is probably what killed you. That is a huge late addition for a stout and while I'm sure it's delicious, it probably seems out of style.

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Old 11-10-2010, 02:16 PM   #9
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I know (have a strong guess) that they were all Novice for the following reasons:

1 of the 3 checked Novice, the others left the Qualifications section blank
None have a BJCP ID
The forms are not completed correctly
And the overall level of detail in the comments.

To truly answer the IBU question, I'm going to have a buddy test it in his lab.

As for the scores, I'm not necessarily disappointed, my other 4 beers did better than I thought they would. I did get some good feedback on one of them from a real judge. I just wish I didn't waste the time filling bottles to get the same level of comments I got from my brew partner's girl friend, "that's hoppy".

Oh, and I'm not a BJC trained/certified judge. That's pretty much the only reason, for me anyway, to enter a competition is to receive constructive feedback from qualified judges and tune my palate.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrookdaleBrew View Post
The Amarillo is probably what killed you. That is a huge late addition for a stout and while I'm sure it's delicious, it probably seems out of style.
This is the type of feedback I would expect from a judge. "Overpowering citrus aroma and flavor dominate this beer while masking the roast. Reduce late hopping additions." That is something I can work with. Thanks.
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