Advice for first-time competitors

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camonick

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Got my scores from today's competition and now I'm totally perplexed. My Pilsner got a 3rd place bronze in its category with a 41 in a comp about a month ago. Exact same beer only scored a 32 today and didn't place.
My Schwarzbier scored a 26 at last comp with some negative feedback, but scored a 39 today and received a 1st place gold in its category and advanced to best of show where it got a 2nd place silver overall. Comments included, “had to really nitpick to find anything to critique” and “thoroughly enjoyed this brew and would enjoy another”.
Not complaining, just confused. How do you get a swing from a 26 to a 39 with the exact same beer about a month apart? How do I decipher that to make improvements?
 

VikeMan

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Not complaining, just confused. How do you get a swing from a 26 to a 39 with the exact same beer about a month apart?

Any/All of:
- some judges are easier/tougher than others
- palate fatigue/judging order
- beer characteristics changed over the course of a month

How do I decipher that to make improvements?

Look for any comments (positive or negative, but especially the latter) in common between the two sets of judges. And since you entered at least two beers in both comps, look for common comments even across the two (or more) styles, if those comments are likely process related.
 

CascadesBrewer

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How do you get a swing from a 26 to a 39 with the exact same beer about a month apart? How do I decipher that to make improvements?

Clearly the judges that gave you the 39 are have incredible palates and gave you the correct score, and the judges that gave you 26 are total idiots!! ;)

How much chance is there of variation from bottle to bottle? Carbonation differences, oxidation or sediment can have significant impacts on the overall impression of the beer. Are these beers you filled off your keg? At the same time or at different times?

While I have only entered a few competitions, I like the idea of always bottling a few extra bottles to open and evaluate around the time of the competition and/or when you get your feedback sheets.
 

camonick

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Clearly the judges that gave you the 39 are have incredible palates and gave you the correct score, and the judges that gave you 26 are total idiots!! ;)

How much chance is there of variation from bottle to bottle? Carbonation differences, oxidation or sediment can have significant impacts on the overall impression of the beer. Are these beers you filled off your keg? At the same time or at different times?

While I have only entered a few competitions, I like the idea of always bottling a few extra bottles to open and evaluate around the time of the competition and/or when you get your feedback sheets.
All filled from the same keg at the same time.
 
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