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Old 03-29-2013, 11:41 AM   #21
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Cool Write up

I had a few beers in and took a couple of 3rd places , in fact one in the California Common category!

I've put beers in 3 competitions now and find the feedback to be interesting. Sometimes the same beer (from same batch) can get scores that are 5-10 points different from comp to comp.

I do think that the first two/three judges make or break your ability to get a ribbon, if one of them gives you a "low" score you can't make it to next round and have a chance.

Thanks for the writeup, and I'm local to the South Suburbs if you are having trouble getting rid of prizes! I will make sure I get to the awards next year.
One of the distinguishing features of the Chicago Cup is that everyone who has a beer that places gets not only the ribbon(s) but a prize. Watch your mail!
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:02 PM   #22
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One of the distinguishing features of the Chicago Cup is that everyone who has a beer that places gets not only the ribbon(s) but a prize. Watch your mail!
Got it. Thanks!
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:21 PM   #23
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Pappers, nice write-up.

I just worked my first competition as a steward for the Drunk Monk Challenge a few weeks ago. I always figured there was a lot of work involved in running a comp, but until I got to experience it first hand I did not realize how organized a well run competition needs to be. Everything from the unboxing the weekend before the comp, to the setup the day of the comp, to the actual judging takes a ton of planning, coordination of volunteers, and attention to every little detail.

BOSS runs a nice comp, I just wish my entries would have scored a bit better and I would have been able to be there in person for the results. One entry was a "feedback" beer that I thought was decent, but needed some help, and another one of my entries may have been just past its peak so I didn't know how it would do.

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Old 04-04-2013, 09:30 PM   #24
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I'll come judge!

The NHC judging in Milwaukee is April 16th I think - Nancy and I are going up on Friday with a couple, having dinner, spending the night the off to judge. I really hope that isn't the same day as the baby shower so you can join us!
It's the 19th & 20th. I'll be up there as well. Not sure if you know who I am, but I was also at the BOSS comp and judged the Best in show.

Also, I'll be getting my last two points for Master rank at Milwaukee!
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:36 PM   #25
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The lowest we've been "allowed" to give is 13. But we fill out the scoresheets fully, with good feedback. Generally, I've been told to give at least one piece of real and helpful advice for every 10 points subtracted. So, for a 13 beer, I'd give at least four pieces of good advice. I'd also make sure to note WHY the scores are the way they are.

To be frank, most of the beers I've judged have not been very good. I think brewers are looking for helpful feedback, and submit beers for criticism so they can improve. I've had a couple of "world class" beers, and maybe handful of "very good to excellent" to judge. The rest have been "good", "fair", or "problematic".
That's an interesting take on the process and pretty neat. My personal approach to judging is that when an entrant gets their scoresheet back and reads it, the score absolutely should match up with what is written. I try and use as much of the scale from 0-50 as possible to create a continuum. I try and mentor people to do the same sort of thing; the whole scale is there for a reason. If you send back a sheet that says that basically everything is okay for the style, no major flaws but you give him a 25, you're not doing your job. I've never had anyone ask me why I gave them the score, it's always about the impression I got and how can they pick it up. Like Yooper said, you have to give them feedback, that's ultimately what they're paying for. Unless you just want hardware!
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:38 PM   #26
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Last year at one of our local comps, I was lucky enough to judge meads with the head brewer of one of the larger microbreweries in the country. Early in the session, he said something that's really stuck with me. Paraphrasing, his philosophy is that you want to help people improve, and that you also want them to enter the same competition next year. Beating up on them isn't going to make them want to come back, so the idea is to be honest, but still constructive and encouraging. Regardless of whether or not you could justify a courtesy score of 13, that's just going to hurt somebody's feelings. He scores a little charitably - but keeps the overall score in the 14-20 range - for such entries. That score reduces embarrassment and discouragement for the entrant while still indicating there is significant improvement to be made. Your feedback will help them improve next time, and you're not doing anything that is going to affect the higher-scoring entrants.

I like his approach because I think it really reduces the chance of a 'why should I enter a competition again' reaction that extremely low scores can generate.

Great input! It's actually contrary to the vast majority of commercial brewers in my experience. Most are terrible judges that I've dealt with and most already know that...
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:44 PM   #27
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Pappers, nice write-up.

I just worked my first competition as a steward for the Drunk Monk Challenge a few weeks ago. I always figured there was a lot of work involved in running a comp, but until I got to experience it first hand I did not realize how organized a well run competition needs to be. Everything from the unboxing the weekend before the comp, to the setup the day of the comp, to the actual judging takes a ton of planning, coordination of volunteers, and attention to every little detail.

BOSS runs a nice comp, I just wish my entries would have scored a bit better and I would have been able to be there in person for the results. One entry was a "feedback" beer that I thought was decent, but needed some help, and another one of my entries may have been just past its peak so I didn't know how it would do.
What styles did you enter? Just wondering if I may have judged them...
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:47 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by BPhad View Post
Cool Write up

I had a few beers in and took a couple of 3rd places , in fact one in the California Common category!

I've put beers in 3 competitions now and find the feedback to be interesting. Sometimes the same beer (from same batch) can get scores that are 5-10 points different from comp to comp.

I do think that the first two/three judges make or break your ability to get a ribbon, if one of them gives you a "low" score you can't make it to next round and have a chance.

Thanks for the writeup, and I'm local to the South Suburbs if you are having trouble getting rid of prizes! I will make sure I get to the awards next year.
Beers change. A lot. I've had beers that continue to evolve throughout their life on tap. Remember, it's a living thing. I will say, though, that you know you have a good one when you get consistently high scores

As to the first set of judges making or breaking your ability to place, I'd say yes and know. When a mini best of show is set up, each group of judges send forward there top 1-3 beers to go head-to-head with the other groups' top beers. If you weren't in the top of your flight, you won't get pushed on. The whole point of this is to minimize scoring biases. It's not uncommon for the highest scoring beer to not be the winner of a category. Some judges naturally tend higher. Other times judges are "off" a bit or more "on" and more readily able to pick up on flaws, etc.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:44 AM   #29
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It's the 19th & 20th. I'll be up there as well. Not sure if you know who I am, but I was also at the BOSS comp and judged the Best in show.

Also, I'll be getting my last two points for Master rank at Milwaukee!
Hi Brian, we'll be coming up on the 19th and judging on the 20th. Lets seek each other out and make sure we connect. Congrats on getting the points for Master, that is a wonderful accomplishment! Well done!
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:07 PM   #30
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What styles did you enter? Just wondering if I may have judged them...
I entered a Robust Porter, IIPA, and Irish Red.

The robust porter was judged by Eric Duske and Timothy Racette.

The IIPA was judged by Ken Getty and Ron Stazuk. It was a feedback beer and from the comments past its prime for aroma by the time it went to this comp. Other than the lack of aroma due to the age of the beer, the comments I received from this comp were about the same as the other comps that I sent the beer into.

One of the judges for the Irish Red was actually a fellow member of the Urban Knaves of Grain (Matt Klausner), and I have already jokingly given him a little grief over his comments (even though I think they were valid for the most part).

Overall, I think the judging from the three comps that I entered so far this year have all been very good. The comments were well thought out, and helpful. On my beers that scored well, there were good suggestions on things to try to possibly make it better. On the beers that did not score well, I saw just as much encouragement as I did helpful suggestions. Even an "Altbeir" that really missed the style, had comments from a judge that when paraphrased basically said that I made a really good beer that he would enjoy drinking again, just not an "Altbeir".
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