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Old 06-04-2012, 04:41 PM   #1
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Default The difference between "World Class" and "Excellent" beer

I'm about to enter my second beer into competition this month and I was wondering how beers make the jump between an "Excellent" rating and a "World Class" rating? How does one brew a beer that matches the style guideline and actually stand out from the crowd. Does it depend on the rest of the beer entered into that particular style, is it matched against commercial beer in that category, is it more arbitrary and based upon the judges personal taste, or is it combination of all these things?

In fewer words: How much leeway is a beer given?

The reason I ask is that the beer I am entering is an ESB and while I think it is a fantastic beer and it seems to be on point as far as the style is concerned I think it tastes just like what I'd buy off the shelf for a good ESB. But is that "World Class?" Or does it need something that differentiates it from the rest? If so how do you do this without brewing something that doesn't exactly match the guideline.

Sorry for the rambling post. Let me know yall's personal experiences with getting that coveted 45-50 rating.

Thanks!

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Old 06-04-2012, 04:48 PM   #2
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I've entered several contests, and even the category winners and overall winners seem to always score around 41-43. All I can guess is that BJCP takes the term "World Class" pretty seriously, as I've never seen that rating given out in a hombrew contest.

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Old 06-04-2012, 05:11 PM   #3
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World class is a term I would use for a beer that gives me goosebumps.

I know the styles, and I know what is expected, but when you find a beer that not only fulfills all the requirements of the category but ALSO has that certain "little extra somethin' somethin'"... something you just can't put your finger on, but you know the beer is better for it, THAT is a world class beer.

So yeah, I guess the term "world class" is a pretty serious thing.

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Old 06-04-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
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From what I hear/read, a "50" is basically the Holy Grail. You should immediately achieve enlightenment as the heavenly liquid touches your palate.

I'm thinking it's sorta like beauty: there are a lot of pretty, attractive, and/or sexy women in the world, but once in a while--and sometimes only for one moment--you find one that takes your breath away.

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Old 06-04-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaK
World class is a term I would use for a beer that gives me goosebumps.

I know the styles, and I know what is expected, but when you find a beer that not only fulfills all the requirements of the category but ALSO has that certain "little extra somethin' somethin'"... something you just can't put your finger on, but you know the beer is better for it, THAT is a world class beer.

So yeah, I guess the term "world class" is a pretty serious thing.

That's kinda what I mean though. How far can you go or better yet how far should you go to differentiate your beer from something that merely fits perfectly into the categorical description of that particular style? For instance my first beer i entered into competition was a Belgian Wit that I brewed with chamomile. I ended up getting a 35 which I was happy with for a first beer that I hadn't even originally brewed for competition. But one of the judges noted that while he enjoyed the chamomile he didn't think of it as being a proper spice note for a Belgian Wit. Even the first sentence of his overall impression was that he considered it to be, and I quote: "An excellent beer." Color me confused. I guess that's why so many people do competition more for fun and its not worth reading too far into judge's notes because so much of the arbitrary human factor comes into play when the final score is arrived at.

(I should also note for correction that the top rank is "Outstanding" and not "World Class")
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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I always wonder if I cleaned the label off an "outstanding" commercial beer and entered it in a contest, how it would score. I suspect in the low 40s!

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Old 06-04-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
I always wonder if I cleaned the label off an "outstanding" commercial beer and entered it in a contest, how it would score. I suspect in the low 40s!
I have wondered this too.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:38 PM   #8
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I always wonder if I cleaned the label off an "outstanding" commercial beer and entered it in a contest, how it would score. I suspect in the low 40s!
Check out the Commerical Calibration section of Zymurgy. BJCP Grand Master Judges judge "good" commercial beers. Most get in the high 30's to low 40's. I have even seen one beer get as low as a 32. I think the highest is I have seen is a 46. Getting a 50 is like an Olympic gymnast scoring a 10...it rarely happens.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:43 PM   #9
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Check out the Commerical Calibration section of Zymurgy. BJCP Grand Master Judges judge "good" commercial beers. Most get in the high 30's to low 40's. I have even seen one beer get as low as a 32. I think the highest is I have seen is a 46. Getting a 50 is like an Olympic gymnast scoring a 10...it rarely happens.
Yeah, I was reading a back issue not too long ago and Gordon Strong basically said Firestone Walker Double Barrel is in the wrong style.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phunhog

Check out the Commerical Calibration section of Zymurgy. BJCP Grand Master Judges judge "good" commercial beers. Most get in the high 30's to low 40's. I have even seen one beer get as low as a 32. I think the highest is I have seen is a 46. Getting a 50 is like an Olympic gymnast scoring a 10...it rarely happens.
I hear ya. Come to think of it since judging beer is such an ephemeral thing it would be almost impossible for a beer to get a 50 from all judges in a competition. I wonder if its ever happened. I couldn't find anything from a quick Google search.
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