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Old 05-12-2011, 01:46 AM   #1
JLem
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Default complaint with competition judging of smoked porter

sorry to rant here, but just had to get something off my chest...

I entered a smoked porter into a couple of comps and received mediocre scores (mid-high 20s). I'm not complaining about the scores so much as the comments, which I just don't understand. Almost across the board the judges commented on how there was no or little smoke aroma or flavor. I had originally thought there was plenty, but after receiving the scoresheets I figured my perception was flawed (I hadn't opened one in a while). But tonight I decided to give one a try and I have no idea what the judges were talking about - there is a distinct smokey aroma and flavor. It's not overpowering by any means, but this is precisely why I like this beer and thought it would do well in comps.

Clearly though all the judges together seem to agree that there was no smoke. Is my taste that skewed? How could something as distinct as smoke be perceived so differently? It's almost like the judges were tasting a completely different beer!

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Old 05-12-2011, 01:50 AM   #2
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Try drinking one a little too cold and another a little too warm. See if that dampens the smoke. It's possible that during judging the beer wasn't handled in a way that accented your smoke. Also, try pouring some and letting it sit for about 10 minutes then check for the same thing. If yours was at the end of the flight, it may have sat for a bit.

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Old 05-12-2011, 02:09 AM   #3
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The other problem with judging a large flight of smoked beers is that the judge's palates become fatigued from the smoke. The beers judged at the end of the flight may be percieved as lacking smoke while the first beers were considered to have higher content. Its a tough style to judge.

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Old 05-12-2011, 02:30 AM   #4
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Well, I've been sipping the beer over the past 45 minutes or so - I still get a nice smokey flavor both cold and warm, though now that it has warmed up some I get more of an unpleasant astringency that detracts from the beer. Perhaps that distracted the judges from the smoke - it is certainly distracting me.

Thanks for the ideas. Like I said, just needed to complain a little.

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Old 05-12-2011, 02:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JLem View Post
Like I said, just needed to complain a little.
The worst part is that you REALLY loved this brew until the comp, now you are dissecting it. This is the number 1 reason I dislike comps, because I am sure that I would have been in the same boat as you...lol.

Instead of trying to "win a comp" why not try to brew a beer that YOU love? or why not try to find a lot of comps all happening in the same period of time and send out an entire 5 gallon batch for judging to different events? At least then you would have a baseline for data instead of fretting over what a small handful of people thought of it!

It may be time to adopt the "more for me" attitude. I can understand the need/want to improve a process or recipe but it seems like you are now trying to please everyone and that just will not happen...ever. My recipes and process always get tweaked just a bit after each batch to MY taste. I seriously hope the folks I give my beer to also like my brews but if not...More for me!
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:07 AM   #6
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nothing creates more bias than personal taste, there's a reason they make chocolate and vanilla. could be just their (your) opinion of the "taste" in general, separate from the quality of the beer.

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