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Old 03-11-2009, 02:17 AM   #1
cclloyd
 
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Jan 2007
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I got my scoresheets back yesterday for the three beers I entered in the BFBC. This was the first competition I have entered and the results are encouraging. None of my beers placed in the top three of their respective categories, however they all had some positive comments - and some room for improvement. I entered this competition hoping to learn something and get some good feedback from experienced beer judges and accomplished both so it was an effective exercise. It was a statewide competition with close to 400 entries and the judging was done by certified BJCP members.
All of the recipes I entered were my own, and all were partial mash 3 gallon boils.
For those that aren't familiar with it, the beers are judged on a 50 point scale with 50 being beer nirvana and zero being sewer sludge.
The scoring guide per the American Homebrew Association is segregated into the following areas : Aroma 12 possible points (pp) / Appearance 3 pp / Flavor 20 pp / Mouthfeel 5 pp / Overall impression 10 pp, and the scoring delineations are segregated as follows:

0-13 - Problematic - A beer with a major problem (usually contamination) that overwhelms all other flavors and aromas. Often barely palatable or not consumable at all.

14-20 - Fair - This beer has it's share of problems that may include missing the style parameters, off flavors and aromas, balance problems, contamination or other flaws. Scores near the lower end of this range exhibit more major flaws.

21-29 - Good - A satisfactory beer that generally fits the style parameters. Scores near the upper end of this range may have only a few minor flaws or be slightly out of style and also may be lacking in balance or complexity. Scores near the lower end of this range tend to have more flaws and are likely to have stylistic inconsistencies.

30-37 - Very Good - Beers in this range may have a minor flaw (technical or stylistic), or may be lacking in balance or complexity.

38-44 - Excellent - Beers in this range may have no flaws but may be missing the intangibles for a world class beer.

45-50 - Outstanding - A world class example of the style. A beer with great character and no flaws.

So, now that you know what the judging scale denotes, here is how my beers did:

Palm Nut Brown Ale - I entered this in the American Brown Ale category. The overall score was 26.5. Comments included : Aroma - malty and toasty - low hops. / Appearance - color too light for this style - more inline with an amber ale. Clear with moderate head retention. / Flavor - very attenuated, dry finish, medium hop bitterness. / Mouthfeel - light to medium body, adequate carbonation. / Overall - a good tasting well attenuated beer with more amber ale characteristics than brown ale. Dryer than this style dictates - needs more malt sweetness and darker color. / Suggested improvements - more base and dark malt.

Honey Do Blonde Ale - I entered this in the Blonde Ale category. The overall score was 29.
Comments included : Aroma - sweet with apple overtones - minimal hop aroma. / Appearance - pale straw color with excellent clarity. Good creamy white head with medium lacing and retention. / Flavor - sweet malt initially with prominent hop bitterness leading to a dry finish. Balance leans to tart nearly astringent hop bitterness. / Mouthfeel - light body with full mouthfeel - moderate carbonation appropriate to style but harsh hop finish detracts. / Overall - a nicely drinkable beer - a good recipe with potential. Needs more sweetness and less hop bitterness. Apple flavor likely due to acetaldehyde./ Suggested improvements - bring up malt presence for sweetness and or use a kolsch yeast strain.

VC Stout - I entered this in the Sweet Stout category. The overall score was 31.3.
Comments included : Aroma - chocolate, fruity, vanilla, sweet. / Appearance - clear opaque black with excellent thick head - very head good retention. / Flavor - maple and hazelnutty merging to sweet malt flavor - no hop flavor. Lacks sufficient roastiness but good balance. / Mouthfeel - light to medium body very smooth and very clean. Carbonation a little high for style. Finishes sweet and creamy. / Overall - an easy drinking beer but misses style - too sweet and not enough roasty flavor. Needs morebody and dark malt complexity./ Suggested improvements - more roasted malt presence for fuller body and more complex flavor profile.

So I got some good feedback and will make some adjustments to these recipes as suggested and try again. I am very pleased with the results overall. It looks like my processes are clean and solid and I just need to learn more about recipe formulation as it pertains to the specific style guidelines. In the meantime I will continue to make and enjoy my beers with a focus on improving recipe formulation and going to all grain. Prost!

 
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:21 AM   #2
bluehouse
 
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I have never entered a competition but it looks like you have a good handle on how to use the judging process to improve your brews. Congrats on the results & your plans.

 
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:56 AM   #3
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nice work cclloyd and keep it up. this will undoubtedly make you a better brewer.

btw, Iron Maiden rocks, I hear they are touring. somewhere in Europe now.

 
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:57 AM   #4
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Good job. Competitions are invaluable to improving your brewing, especially when it comes to nailing down one particular recipe.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:09 AM   #5
Fat Guy Brewing
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Awesome job. I just entered one for the first time in the local KC contest and only scored a 25, however the feedback is great. I recommend everyone enter a contest if for nothing else just to get the scorecard back. Not to mention, they have tons of leftovers from the contest so I got to take home a 12 pack of mystery beers.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:09 AM   #6
skeeordye11
 
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I am stewarding my first competition this weekend. It will be my first entry into a competition as well. I am really looking forward to seeing what it's all about and getting some feedback on one of my brews. Speaking of, Frink did you enter anything in the Shamrck Open this year? Sorry for the hijack.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:17 AM   #7
Professor Frink
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeeordye11 View Post
I am stewarding my first competition this weekend. It will be my first entry into a competition as well. I am really looking forward to seeing what it's all about and getting some feedback on one of my brews. Speaking of, Frink did you enter anything in the Shamrck Open this year? Sorry for the hijack.
Yup, I've got my Schwarzbier and a witbier entered this year.
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Old 03-11-2009, 03:27 AM   #8
skeeordye11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor Frink View Post
Yup, I've got my Schwarzbier and a witbier entered this year.
Good Luck! You know you should really join TRUB so we could get some points for the club in the brewer of the year standings when you get your next first place! Plus I'd love to try some of your brews at a meeting!
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:42 PM   #9
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Awesome. I'm looking forward to entering contests for the feedback. I hope I get good judges.

 
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:07 PM   #10
ohiobrewtus
 
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I use competitions to get (what should be) expert feedback for a relatively low cost. Winning anything is just icing on the cake.

As long as you go into competitions knowing that, if nothing else, you're going to get information back to help you make your beers better (and it sounds like you are), then competitions are a good thing.

Sending in a beer that you just *know* is going to win first place is most likely only going to piss you off when you get your scoresheet back. I can speak of this from personal experience.
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