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Old 02-08-2010, 03:33 PM   #1
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Default First Competition Results: Discouraged

Just thought I would vent on my favorite forum. Entered my first competition and just got the results. Pretty bummed. I thought I was making some pretty good beer but perhaps not. I entered:

English IPA: Scored a 27
Got crushed on aroma scores but I still feel like it is to style. It's not supposed to be as crazy hopped as an American style but, oh well. I guess I need to go crazy with aroma for future competition brews.

Sweet Stout: Scored a 24

This one I just don't get. Kept getting nailed for "not sweet enough". Two judges commented said I should have used lactose. I used 1.25 pounds of lactose. It is obvious when you taste the beer that there is lactose in the brew.

I'm not trying to be sour about it, but it seems that it should be obvious that there is a good amount of lactose in this one.

This brings up a question as well for those that have competition experience:

I was under the impression that entering a BJCP sanctioned competition meant getting my beer evaluated by BJCP certified judges?

Is this not the case?

Only 1 of the 5 feedback forms I received have a BJCP judge number and the rest didn't check any of the boxes or judging info. They just skipped it.
So I don't even know the qualifications of who is giving this feedback.

Is this normal?

I'm sure I'll get fired up and just strive to improve my beers, I'm just a little bummed and discouraged because I put a lot of time, effort, and research into my beers and I feel like I pay a lot of attention to detail on brew day.

Thoughts?

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:37 PM   #2
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Not every CP'd, BJ is equal. And the reality is that you could enter those same EXACT beers into another comp and would likely get high marks if not "Best of freekin Show."

It's a very subjective entity, even if they are certified.

I've known some judges that wouldn't know lactose if it was coming from a bewb.

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:40 PM   #3
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The brewing network guys have talked a lot about competing, and they go on for a long long time about how bad judging is sometimes (most of which is unjustified). But I seem to remember that in order to judge, you might only have had to take the exam (not achieve a certification), and sometimes not even that much.

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:40 PM   #4
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My thoughts are that most homebrew isn't as good as the brewers think it is Sorry.

Screw the judges, if you like your beer then that is all that matters. If you want honest feedback that doesn't pull punches, enter competitions.

Often comps will not be all BJCP judges. Sometimes, the judges may suck. But they are doing their best and it is still an honest opinion from someone who likes beer.

Also, both your scores were in the "good" range. Basically, that means you made a good beer, but it isn't awesome. I think many homebrewers think they are making world class beer, but it is just not the case. VERY few homebrewers brew beer as good as a good micro.

So chin up Charlie, you are doing just fine. Just have fun and make beer you like to drink.

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
My thoughts are that most homebrew isn't as good as the brewers think it is Sorry.

Screw the judges, if you like your beer then that is all that matters. If you want honest feedback that doesn't pull punches, enter competitions.

Often comps will not be all BJCP judges. Sometimes, the judges may suck. But they are doing their best and it is still an honest opinion from someone who likes beer.

Also, both your scores were in the "good" range. Basically, that means you made a good beer, but it isn't awesome. I think many homebrewers think they are making world class beer, but it is just not the case. VERY few homebrewers brew beer as good as a good micro.

So chin up Charlie, you are doing just fine. Just have fun and make beer you like to drink.
I hear what you're saying. I didn't think I was making world class beer, but I thought it was better than what I scored.

I guess I'm most disappointed that these weren't BJCP certified judges. Granted, I may have scored worse if they were, but I would at least be able to take the feedback more seriously and improve my brewing.

With this feedback from judges whose qualifications are a mystery, I don't know how much stock to put into the specific feedback.

You know what I mean?
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:45 PM   #6
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I'm not a BJCP judge, but I will say that it is my understanding that good beer judges should never, ever, comment on ingredient additions or specific elements of the recipe. They can and should comment as much as they want on aroma, taste, and other sensory qualities of the beer in front of them (such as the comments like "not sweet enough"). They can and should compare it to their knowledge of the style. But given that they don't know the recipe, they should never say, "you should have used lactose". Good judges judge the qualities of the beer in front of them, but they shouldn't speculate on recipe & process that aren't provided to them.

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:45 PM   #7
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I just entered my first competition, but I won't get the result for a couple more weeks.

Honestly I think I make pretty good beer, but I told my wife, I'd be happy to get somewhere in the 25-30 range for my scores. I like my beer, but I'm still very young in my brewing career.

Take the advice they gave, and give it a try, it may make for a better beer. Or, if it's not to your liking, just keep doing what you're doing, especially if YOU like it!

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkling View Post
I'm not a BJCP judge, but I will say that it is my understanding that good beer judges should never, ever, comment on ingredient additions or specific elements of the recipe. They can and should comment as much as they want on aroma, taste, and other sensory qualities of the beer in front of them (such as the comments like "not sweet enough"). They can and should compare it to their knowledge of the style. But given that they don't know the recipe, they should never say, "you should have used lactose". Good judges judge the qualities of the beer in front of them, but they shouldn't speculate on recipe & process that aren't provided to them.
I guess I kind of thought this too. But I am new to this. It was just frustrating for two judges to comment on the importance of using Lactose in a Sweet Stout, when I used a pretty fair amount.

I guess this is what also makes me wonder about a couple of the judges? Most Sweet Stouts contain Lactose. That's what contributes the creamy mouthfeel and unfermented sweetness.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:54 PM   #9
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With the surge in popularity of competitions, there is sometimes a major lack in BJCP judges. Sometimes stewards are even called upon to judge. There are also different ranks. A 60 on the exam will get you "Recognized". 70=certified, 80=National, 90=Master. Bad scores don't necessarily reflect how good your beer is, they just reflect how that paticular set of judges think your beer compares to the style.

I agree that judges shouldn't speculate about a beer. You often put your foot in your mouth. In my BJCP class, we have been told that it is appropriate, and encouraged to offer suggestions on how to improve the beer in "General Impression".

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Old 02-08-2010, 03:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodovico View Post
With this feedback from judges whose qualifications are a mystery, I don't know how much stock to put into the specific feedback.

You know what I mean?
Honestly, I don't put that much stock in the BJCP. Being certified doesn't mean you know anything about good beer IMO. I would rather have Joe Schmoe who really knows his stuff that some Beer Snob who studied for a while and took a test.

Were the comments consistent? If so, I think I would trust them. I want to get into competitions but don't think my beer is good enough to win them yet. I have enough beer judges to know how good (or bad) my beer is. The only reason for me to enter comps would be to win Many people don't have good critics though, so comps are a great way to get an honest, and hopefully, informed review of your beer.
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