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Old 09-12-2012, 07:58 PM   #1
HenryKDuff
 
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I just received the results from my first competition - a recently brewed IPA (14B) I (and every civilian who tasted it) absolutely loved and a porter (12B) I brewed a year ago and happened to have some bottles left.

Of course, my beloved IPA received a pedestrian 24.5 and the porter I thought to be decent but unspectacular came in 4th overall (third in flight) with a score of 34.6.

The IPA got dinged pretty heavily for diacetyl and the recommendations I got were for things I already did - use a yeast like 1056 (I used S-05) and give the yeast more time to clean up (I did a 4 week primary).

I tried researching the subject before bugging you fine people, but the overwhelming majority of material on the subject concerns the diacetyl rest for lagers. The judges didn't seem to think infection was the cause. 4 weeks is time enough for the yeast to clean up, correct? Are there other likely causes that I'm missing? This was my first use of the beer gun, could I be oxidizing somehow (I thought I purged the bottles sufficiently)?

 
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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If you received a deduction for oxidation then sure, you might have oxidized your beer at some point - whether it's during a transfer or during bottling it's hard to say.

That said, if your primary deduction was diacetyl, then it's likely a fermentation problem. The judges know their stuff and they're not going to confuse two off flavors like that.

I would guess that your problem was that either initial fermentation temps were too high OR that diacetyl rest temps were too low.

 
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:48 PM   #3
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Diacetyl can come from stressed yeast- so underpitching could be a cause of diacetyl in a not-usually-full-of-diacetyl yeast strain. A long lag time could contribute to diacetyl, for example, as could a lack of aeration prior to fermentation.

It can come from infection, notably pediococcus, as well.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:05 PM   #4
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I only mentioned oxidation because something I came across mentioned introducing too much oxygen in transfer as a possible diacetyl cause.

I aerated with O2 and didn't have any lag time issue. I haven't been hydrating my dry yeast, so I suppose underpitching is possible. I'll rehydrate (or pitch two packs) next time and see if it makes a difference.

Of course, the bottom line is the taste for me and the people who drink with me and everyone loved it. But it's nice to know what diacetyl actually tastes like after seeing so many references to it. Thanks to both you for your feedback.

 
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:06 PM   #5
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Oh, gotcha. Yeah, I don't think that's a concern as far as diacetyl is concerned. Whatever diacetyl is going to be in your beer has long since been formed by that stage.

 
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:31 AM   #6
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Scores often tend to be more about how well the beer you made matched the criteria for the style (or the judges interpretation thereof) than anything else. Sure you will get dinged for any defects, but a great beer entered in the wrong category can be the difference between a 25 and a 35. Despite what a jhall4 says about the judges knowing their stuff, I will counter with some judges know their stuff. Some competitions do not have BJCP certified judges for all of their judges. Did you have more than one judge judging your beer? What level of judge were they? Were the scores and comments very close to each other?
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:41 AM   #7
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I should also note that I have had the same beer score vastly differently in two competitions. I had an American Barleywine score a 29.5 with lesser experienced judges (apprentice/certified) with mentions of dicetyl and astringency and a month later got a 42 from a BJCP National judge who I talked to later and said there was absolutely no diacetyl or astringency. To some degree score are arbitrary, granted a barleywine can get better with age, but a month to go from a 29.5 to 42?
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:17 AM   #8
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The best thing is to enter the same beer in multiple competitions so you can locate consistencies and disregard one off comments.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorBock View Post
The best thing is to enter the same beer in multiple competitions so you can locate consistencies and disregard one off comments.
100% agree. If you are thinking of entering one competition, enter the same beer in two more and compare the scores and comments.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:37 AM   #10
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The IPA was judged by two judges, one National and one Recognized. They both indicated diacetyl.

I'd rather have a beer I find delicious than one that pleases strangers (certified or not), but it is interesting to get notes from experienced people who have no incentive to save your feelings.

 
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