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Old 04-20-2013, 12:06 PM   #1
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Default National Homebrew Competition

I'm in Milwaukee this morning, getting ready to head over to Rock Bottom to judge in the regional first round of the National Homebrew Competition. Here's hoping I get Spice/Herb/Vegetable - I think starting the morning off with some fiery pepper beers sounds great. Or maybe Sours would be good at 9 am.

My friend Bill and his spouse joined Nancy and I for dinner last night at Cafe Benelux - which had a very good Belgian beer list. I wish I had ordered the dinner that Nancy ordered, instead of my just 'ok' mussels, but oh well. The company and beer were very good

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Old 04-20-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
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Those are two great categories for sure. How cool would a veggie tomato bloody beer be first thing!

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Old 04-20-2013, 12:14 PM   #3
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Have fun man. If you can, take a few pictures and post them up! I wish I could have judged at Atlanta but it's a far trip from Raleigh.

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Old 04-20-2013, 01:17 PM   #4
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Yeah,I agree that pics would be great.

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Old 04-21-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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Sorry, I didn't think to take any photos. There were three sessions on Saturday, at 9:30 am, 1 pm and 3:30 pm. I judged stouts at the first session, Belgian and French ales at the second, and American ales at the third. The judging was setup at two long tables and you were paired with the person across from you. At the first session, I believe everyone was judging stouts, and the beers came out in order of the subcategories, so that meant that we didn't do many beers in the same subcategory. For example, with the stouts, if my memory is correct, we judged one dry stout, one sweet stout, one oatmeal stout, two foreign extra stouts, one American stout, and two Russian Imperial Stouts.

I'm still thinking that through a little; I understand that we should be judging each beer on its own merits, not comparing it to the other beers we're judging, but judging three sweet stouts in a row helps, I think, get the palate and mind calibrated for the style. In any case, the competition worked very efficiently, from my where I sat.

I was a little surprised at the quality of the beers. I judged at least 25 beers that day (too much, for me), and really only three beers jumped out at me as very good. And there were many beers that were less than good, mediocre I would say. There were only two that were bad. In my experience judging at other competitions this winter, there seem to be a lot of beers that are good (roughly in the 30s) but not so many that are mediocre (roughly in the 20s). I found myself giving a lot of 23-28s at this competition, though. Maybe this is just a matter of the size of the competition and the huge number of entries.

Finally, for me, three judging sessions in a day isn't good, I do better work judging two flights in a day. At least that's my self-assessment.

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Old 04-21-2013, 02:10 PM   #6
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Mmmm... beer for breakfast.

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Old 04-21-2013, 02:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the write-up. I really wanted to join you but we've been on the road so much lately that I needed to stay home. It sounds like great fun, although I also think that three flights in a day is a lot!

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Old 04-21-2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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Sounds like a palette wrecker for sure to me. I often wondered how you folks get through so many beers & still keep things accurate?...

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Old 04-21-2013, 07:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Thanks for the write-up. I really wanted to join you but we've been on the road so much lately that I needed to stay home. It sounds like great fun, although I also think that three flights in a day is a lot!
We'll have to find another competition to judge at together - that would be a nice excuse to get together.

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Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
Sounds like a palette wrecker for sure to me. I often wondered how you folks get through so many beers & still keep things accurate?...
For me, the 25 beers I judged left me a little fatigued by the end of the day. I never have a beer with lunch at competitions - I have no idea how other judges do that, but I really need to give my palette a rest and certainly don't need the additional alcohol.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:52 PM   #10
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Yeah those Milwaukee guys like the 3 sessions. I actually like it too. Keeps people busy, as there can be too much downtime at comps. You also get to recycle your judges so you dont need as many newbies/inexperienced. yes, the downside is you can get more fatigued. I was pretty spent on the 3rd session yesterday.

It's really a function of how many judges you get. So we can always thank our judging brethren for not volunteering, while we get to do 2 days of 3 sessions.

The guys who ran the comp this weekend are sharp guys, and they run great comps. Schedule withstanding, I will always help them out, as they come down and help us out.

BTW, Pappers, I agree with you about the quality of the beers yesterday. Category 15s were notably disappointing. there were I think 24 of them and only 3 got passed to the mini-BOS. And on my flight I only gave one beer a score in the 30s.

On the other hand, there were a number of good Strong Ales in my flight.

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