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Old 04-22-2009, 04:50 PM   #1
Berkbeer
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Nov 2008
Berkeley, CA
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Well I am glad I went into this trying to learn because one of my beers took a reaming. I entered a Stout recipe that I came up with from a bunch of Guinness clone recipes and my version of Ed Wort Haus Pale - My first all grain in a bag. The Stout was reviewed by a Grand Master I which was cool and he gave me some great leads on improvement as well as the 2 other judges. It got a 25.3.

The pale did not go as well all three judges noted extreme DMS. off flavors and cidery cleanly-ness of ferment. One judge noted locker room musty notes and said clearly infected. I do not know if they all taste from the same bottle or not, but I bottled out of keg with a homemade bottleing setup for what it matters. Final score was a 21.

Funny thing is I was not a huge fan of the stout, but I loved the Pale and everyone who tasted the pale said the same. Even got one guy saying it was the best homebrew he had tasted (FWIW). The beer was cooled with the ice bath method as I did not at the time have a chiller. It was completely cooled to 75 in about 40 mins. It was boiled without lid and had a good rolling boil. I was under total volume at end of boil so I topped up with a gallon of water. What can I do besides the chiller which I have already changed to in order to correct this problem. Also for any judges out there do you normally all taste form the same bottle and if so why would I get infection notes from one judge and not the others. None of the pale judges noted their qualifications.

All in all I would say it has been a great learing experience and I will continue entering comps for the unbiased review.



 
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:07 PM   #2
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Yes, in the initial tasting judges will normally taste from the same bottle, if it goes to Best of Show they usually get another bottle.

Some judges don't like to say "this is infected" because they simply have no way of knowing that is true. Many judges just write what they taste/smell and more or less let the brewer figure it out. Some judges will say something like "possibly check sanitation practices" because it is good advice for all brewers and makes no assumptions about a beer...a given off flavor can come from a variety of sources. An example to beat the dead horse here: if you taste a beer that has a strong lactic flavor and say "that is infected," how do you know? They could have just added lactic acid.

If you are using American 2-row or British malt (anything but Pils really), chilling to 75 in 40 minutes is unlikely to produce "extreme DMS." Was it covered during chilling? It is possible to get DMS from that, but I am not sure about "extreme."

DMS flavors can also come from bacterial infections, but is usually stronger, more rancid in character.

If you are not tasting any of these things, you have to think it was a bottling issue. Maybe bottle up a couple more and open them in 3 weeks and see what they taste like.



 
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:17 PM   #3
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If you aren't accustomed to bottling all of your beer and simply bottle from the keg at the time of shipping, I'm going to advise this:

Save one of those bottles for yourself. Leave it out at room temperatures or at temperatures you anticipate occur with shipping.

When you get your scores back. Chill the bottle and see if you don't agree with what they said.

I base this on some anecdotal evidence from a member of my local home brew club.

He got great scores on his first round entries and then the scores got progressively worse in the second round for everyone of his beers. The problem was that his bottling technique sucked. In the first round, the infection was benign because the bottle were kept cold and the judging was local. All of the shipped entries had time to germinate and his scores on those were like night and day.

Actually that's good advice no matter what. Beer changes over time. Even if your beers are not infected.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:23 PM   #4
Berkbeer
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Nov 2008
Berkeley, CA
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Great advise on keeping a couple of bottles to try after getting the scoring sheet - I had not thought of that.

 
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:35 PM   #5
carnevoodoo
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If they thought it was infected, I am surprised you got a 21. Usually infections are marked down to as low as they'll go, which is a 13.
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:48 AM   #6
Berkbeer
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Nov 2008
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Ya I thought a 21 for an infected beer was odd, but I assummed they were giving me some points for being an obvious beginner



 
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