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Old 11-06-2011, 12:32 AM   #1
Oct 2011
Germantown, TN
Posts: 75
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Ok so I entered 2 desperate entries into a small local octoberfest competition near here. I entered in 10a just a regular pale I had laying around and then in 10b with an amber I had made (with some formulating help from a friend) that was designed to have the amber malt/color but was high on citrus and hop flavors.

I just got my sheets today and was actually surprised with the good feedback. Maybe I was a little harsh on my own brews but I knew both had some flaws.

Anyway both scored what I thought was surprisingly well. I didn't get 50s but I got a more positive response than I had anticipated.

Just curious what others consider a "good" score in competitions?? Obviously we all strive for perfect scores but barring that what are you usually satisfied with?

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Old 11-06-2011, 04:37 AM   #2
Apr 2009
Richmond, VA
Posts: 691
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I can't remember my exact scores from the first and only competition I entered but I was happy with them. Surprisingly my favorite beer did worse than I expected and my second fav beer did really well. Both were praised for the quality, appearance, and flavor.

Take the feedback with a grain of salt. They're not telling you how great your beer is to drink, they are telling you how close they perceive it to be to the style. This is subject to interpretation and honestly will vary from person to person, day to day, your spot in the lineup, etc. The same beer submitted 10x will likely get 10 different scores. Just use them as a guideline to detect major flaws in your beer. Still they are pretty cool.

Brewing to make a tasty beer and brewing to win a BJCP contest are two totally different things though.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:44 AM   #3
May 2009
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Why not just go with what the BJCP says their scores mean?

Outstanding (45 - 50): World-class example of style
Excellent (38 - 44): Exemplifies style well, requires minor fine-tuning
Very Good (30 - 37): Generally within style parameters, some minor flaws
Good (21 - 29): Misses the mark on style and/or minor flaws
Fair (14 - 20): Off flavors, aromas or major style deficiencies
Problematic (0 - 13): Major off flavors and aromas dominate

I've only entered two competitions and scored in the high 20's both times. I considered that pretty good since I was pretty much just entering on a lark and not trying to perfect a beer to win a competition. If I was really trying, I'd say I'd be very happy with anything over a 30.

All that said, I wouldn't worry too much about the numerical score. The feedback is really the important part. I'm a "middle of the road" brewer and it's just the nature of the game that beers toward the edges of the style categories get noticed over the dozens, or possibly hundreds of "standard" examples. At that point, getting a good score becomes more of a game of brinksmanship rather than a matter of craftsmanship.

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Old 11-06-2011, 12:32 PM   #4
Oct 2011
Germantown, TN
Posts: 75
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Well I hardly consider myself a "great" brewer, but it certainly was nice to see that my 2 entries were well recieved and judging by the comments pretty well liked by the judges. I entered 1 competition maybe 5 years ago and did not score well, but that was mostly as expected. Due to family (i currently have a 3 year old and 6 mo old) I had not brewed much in a while and have just started getting back into the hobby.

I just happened to have these 2 brews ready when this "competition" rolled around so I figured why not. I know a few people who brew and do a LOT better job than I do, my father in law does competition entries and has done quite well a lot of the time. Again maybe it's being hard on my own stuff but I think things he does generally turn out much better than my own.

All that said, both these beers i was happy with and thought both had great flavors. I Knew each had a relative flaw, so mostly I was looking to see if that's what the judges picked up as well. For the most part it exactly was so I would say I'm most happy about that and that they didn't find any other major issues that I was unaware of.

I agree with what cvstrat said, I brewed these beers mostly for me drink (although one of them ended up being served at a local brew fest the same day as the competition) so I was not completely concerned with style when I brewed. But it was nice to know that what I did ended up working out well on both sides of the coin (so to speak).

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Old 11-06-2011, 12:50 PM   #5
Mpavlik22's Avatar
Apr 2011
Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 316
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I've noticed it's all up to the judge and location. I've entered the same beer in multiple comps and taken away multiple range of scores/places.

Also what one judge states is completely untrue, or the other judge had 100% different comments than the first judge. just my $0.02.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:38 PM   #6
strat_thru_marshall's Avatar
Mar 2010
Oklahoma City
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I was told by a Nationally ranked BJCP judge that anything in the 30's is a great score, and to break 40 the beer has to be absolutely amazing, and without flaws. Nobody scores a 50, you can typically place in the 30's, and will almost always win a category if you're in the 40's.

The one beer that I had score a 42 took first in it's category and went on to win best in show in a rather large competition. I have 1, 2, and 3rd place medals from beers that scored in the 30's, and a stack of score sheets in the 20's too.

That being said, I'm happy to be in the mid-high 30's or above....but I enter competitions to win medals.

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Old 02-18-2013, 04:40 AM   #7
dongemus's Avatar
Sep 2012
Taylor, MI
Posts: 70
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Here is a PDF from BJCP on how to interpret your score.

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Old 04-30-2014, 01:39 PM   #8
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Dec 2012
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 202
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42 doesn't always win a catagory as I found out. My flawed hefe (36) got a silver and my specialty beer (42) bronze. I was floored I wanted to taste the winner.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:32 PM   #9
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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Originally Posted by Bobbybob View Post
42 doesn't always win a catagory as I found out. My flawed hefe (36) got a silver and my specialty beer (42) bronze. I was floored I wanted to taste the winner.
Those are high scores! I rarely see a beer over 40 in competitions. Either the judges were scoring high or that competition had some of the world's best beers in it!

I did see a beer (an APA) that scored a 42 in a competition I judged several years ago. It was a wonderful pale ale, and it definitely was worth a 42.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:39 PM   #10
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Aug 2013
Raleigh, North Carolina
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Highest was 38 and I won third place, lowest is 27 and the score sheets describe a beer that wasn't mine. They screwed up so my sheet had the score and notes intended for someone's orange porter. I got marked down for lack of flavors I said were there. Again, it was a mix up of beers and as far as I can tell, mine was either not judged at all or someone else who made an orange porter got my score.

My third place beer actually didn't place in another competition. The only bummer is the competition I did place in, they never gave me my ribbon. I wanted a ribbon.

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