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Old 05-24-2010, 09:57 PM   #1
jgarretson
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Default Home Brew Judging and Styles

So, my company had our second home brew festival this past weekend and we had four people enter six different beers. We had a citrus wheat, a apricot hop wheat, a pale ale, a hazelnut brown, a double IPA and a wee heavy.

We're already planning our next festival and want to do it in the late fall. I'd like to try and establish one style that will be judged because having people try to judge a pale ale against a hazelnut brown is impossible. Also, the judges were fellow employees who don't know much. We're going to get some pro judges from our local home brew shop.

My question is, if we designate a style like stout or porter, is that too broad? I was looking at the BJCP.org site and under stout, they have about six different designations. Dry, sweet, oatmeal and so on. If we say brew and enter a stout and we have a chocolate, a milk, a coffee and cherry stout, would that work? Or should we say only brew a very specific stout?

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Old 05-24-2010, 10:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgarretson View Post
So, my company had our second home brew festival this past weekend and we had four people enter six different beers. We had a citrus wheat, a apricot hop wheat, a pale ale, a hazelnut brown, a double IPA and a wee heavy.

We're already planning our next festival and want to do it in the late fall. I'd like to try and establish one style that will be judged because having people try to judge a pale ale against a hazelnut brown is impossible. Also, the judges were fellow employees who don't know much. We're going to get some pro judges from our local home brew shop.

My question is, if we designate a style like stout or porter, is that too broad? I was looking at the BJCP.org site and under stout, they have about six different designations. Dry, sweet, oatmeal and so on. If we say brew and enter a stout and we have a chocolate, a milk, a coffee and cherry stout, would that work? Or should we say only brew a very specific stout?
It is appropriate to judge all of the beers in a category together, that is why they are grouped that way. At the NHC styles within a category are always judged together. At other competitions categories may be split or combined to get a reasonable number of entries to judge.

When you judge them, just order them by the subcategory letter (so dry then sweet then oatmeal then foreign then american then imperial) as that is increasing order of palette impact. If you get any fruit, SHV, specialty smoked etc stouts you will have to make a judgement about where to place them in the flight. Generally you want to taste the strongest tasting beers last.
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:17 PM   #3
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I'd say you should designate a category (stout). Then, anybody can brew any sub category of Stout. As long as they specify what sub category they used, the judges can judge it according to the descriptions for that sub style.

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Old 05-24-2010, 10:45 PM   #4
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I think in a competition that small, you really just need someone who is well versed in styles and can judge each beer on its own merits. Even if you narrow it down to stouts or wheats or something, there can be enough variant in the product that you just get a winner from what is most accessible regardless.

Let people brew what they want, and get a couple of pros. Make sure they know to judge on technical merit. That should make it easier.

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Old 05-24-2010, 10:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input!

I was thinking stout would be the right way to go since this will be a winter version. I think we're also going to brew a second beer of whatever style we want so there's more options. Maybe we can have a second class of judging for best beer overall.

Last year, I brought an oatmeal stout to our first event. It was a fantastic beer. The problem was, it was 97 degrees that day and we were outdoors in the sun. People had a hard time enjoying the stout given the weather. A decent saison won but it was generally because it was approachable in the heat.

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Old 05-24-2010, 10:55 PM   #6
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That's always how competitions are. Beers win in the moment, and that's just how it is.

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