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Old 01-18-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default When a great beer doesn't place in a competition....

Is it actually a great beer?

I have a batch of English Old Ale that I thought was by far my best beer to date. It was just phenomenal to my taste, and if I could have bought it in a bar I would have blown an entire paycheck on it. Roommates and friends thought the same.

Entered into a competition and didn't even place. Haven't seen scoresheets yet so I don't know what the specifics were, but it's making me second guess if this one is worth re-brewing for the NHC.

It was on the same table as barleywines, so part of me wonders if a 7.5% ABV Old Ale (no matter how delicious, or true to style it actually is) just seemed bland compared to 12% ABV barleywines.

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Old 01-18-2013, 05:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BudzAndSudz View Post
Is it actually a great beer?

I have a batch of English Old Ale
Its a waste of time to bring any english style to a competition these days.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:04 PM   #3
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Its a waste of time to bring any english style to a competition these days.
Yes and no...depends on the competition. If they had a Strong Ale category it would fit in....if they have an English Brown Category...you obviously wouldn't make an American Brown Ale and enter it in that category...plus there may be an English Pale Ale category.

But if it's just an all open beer competition...then probably not since they would see it as too malty, sweet and no hops. Which is unfortunate nowadays that everyone is so hoppy that the actual "taste" of beer is no longer there - the new taste is just cold carbonated hop tea. More hops...more hops....in this country - we're all about more of something...but the ironic thing is more is not always better. Hops have not only a numbing characteristic to your palette but also it tends to make your food taste differnent than what it was intended. Don't take my word for it - there are plenty of studies out there. Hops as it is a preservative for beer is a low level antiseptic...which numbs tastes buds.

I for one want to taste all the ingredients in beer...not just having one thing overpower everything else....these ultra hoppy beers may by definition be "beer" but they don't taste like beer that has been made for 300-500+ years. To each his own...but I think it's sad to say this is what beer tastes like....same as saying Miller Lite or Coors...is what beer is supposed to taste like.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:08 PM   #4
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At competitions you are at the mercy of the judges and their worldly experiences and preferences.

May be the "bigger the better" effect in play.


(or your tastebuds are off )

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Old 01-18-2013, 06:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by amandabab View Post
Its a waste of time to bring any english style to a competition these days.
How so?


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Originally Posted by Satisfaction View Post
At competitions you are at the mercy of the judges and their worldly experiences and preferences.

May be the "bigger the better" effect in play.
That's exactly what I was getting at. Sharing a table with barleywines surely didn't do me any favors. It does make me wonder though if a competition like the NHC would favor my beer more since each style will have it's own table. So many entries there's just no reason to share a table.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kuhndog View Post

Yes and no...depends on the competition. If they had a Strong Ale category it would fit in....if they have an English Brown Category...you obviously wouldn't make an American Brown Ale and enter it in that category...plus there may be an English Pale Ale category.

But if it's just an all open beer competition...then probably not since they would see it as too malty, sweet and no hops. Which is unfortunate nowadays that everyone is so hoppy that the actual "taste" of beer is no longer there - the new taste is just cold carbonated hop tea. More hops...more hops....in this country - we're all about more of something...but the ironic thing is more is not always better. Hops have not only a numbing characteristic to your palette but also it tends to make your food taste differnent than what it was intended. Don't take my word for it - there are plenty of studies out there. Hops as it is a preservative for beer is a low level antiseptic...which numbs tastes buds.

I for one want to taste all the ingredients in beer...not just having one thing overpower everything else....these ultra hoppy beers may by definition be "beer" but they don't taste like beer that has been made for 300-500+ years. To each his own...but I think it's sad to say this is what beer tastes like....same as saying Miller Lite or Coors...is what beer is supposed to taste like.
I totally agree with you on the hops issue. It's easy to think a beer is "good" at xxx ibu, but the hops are just masking the true beer, good or bad. I have to wonder if it's compensation for not being able to brew a good balanced or malty beer. I still haven't been able aquire the taste for super hoppy beers, I guess I can blame that on all the Belgian beers I've had to taste. Dammit Westvleteren! (and Rochefort, Duvel, Trolle, Gulden Drak, etc.)
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:21 PM   #7
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Wait until you get the scoresheets back, and see why it scored poorly.

Beers are judged according to the BJCP guidelines, no matter what else is in the same flight, and the judges have the guidelines with them as they score the beer. Maybe the beer has a great taste, but it's just not "to style". That sounds like the issue, if you and your friends think it's fabulous.

The scoresheets will tell the tale.

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Old 01-18-2013, 06:31 PM   #8
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At competitions you are at the mercy of the judges and their worldly experiences and preferences.
What? BJCP guidelines have nothing to do with preferences. If your beer didnt score well, go look at the style guidelines, look at what the judges said. Their comments are to help you bring it into the guidelines. They don't comment on a poorly scored IPA "I just don't like hops" They comment "The balance of malt and hop aroma is too one sided, consider a bigger grain bill."

Sure, your beer is probably great. BUT it probably isnt in the style. You can alter the recipe and resubmit to another competition if you care about those things. Most importantly, dont listen to the people in this thread who said your beer didnt do well because it's English or it wasnt 100 IBUs. They have no idea what BJCP is.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Wait until you get the scoresheets back, and see why it scored poorly.

Beers are judged according to the BJCP guidelines, no matter what else is in the same flight, and the judges have the guidelines with them as they score the beer. Maybe the beer has a great taste, but it's just not "to style". That sounds like the issue, if you and your friends think it's fabulous.

The scoresheets will tell the tale.
I will of course wait until I get the score sheets but it's worth speculating still.

The style guidelines for Old Ale are the most broad in the entire BJCP spectrum save for a few like Specialty Ale or FHV beers. I'm 100% sure it was within the broad ranges of the spectrum, but must have missed the specific example of Old Ale that the judges were looking for.

And I think what else is in the flight has to affect the outcome of the tasting. They have the guidelines, but if it says "malty with a bit of alcohol warmth" then obviously mine will seem very lacking in that category compared to the 10 barleywines they just tasted, even if it's not. Obviously judges will do their best to follow the guidelines, but palates do get fatigued and overwhelmed.....
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:39 PM   #10
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Just like everyone is saying, you can have a really wonderful tasting beer but once thrown into a BJCP style it just doesn't measure to the style real well and scores poorly. The guidelines are what a beer is measured against as it's not just a taste contest.

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