Dang it, so close!!

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Rob2010SS

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We brewed up a Marzen and entered it into 3 competitions this year. Everything went well for this brew - hit all the numbers, FG landed where I wanted, etc. I tend to like Marzen that is a bit darker than most. My favorite one was always Sam Adams Oktoberfest (although not so much after this year, discovering how sweet it is after doing side by sides with ours) and then also the one from Prairie Street Brewing in Rockford, IL. I took a tip from the brewer at PSB and added some midnight wheat to our marzen to darken it up. Not much, 0.4lbs this year. This brings our Marzen up to almost the top limit for SRM on Marzen (16 SRM).

Got the feedback from one of the competitions and it was pretty positive! Fermentation was clean, balance was good, but.... too dark, from BOTH judges! They said it knocked it out of style even though the SRM guidelines allows for 17.... Not sure how that works but oh well. Quite frankly, I'm happy to know that other than being too dark, it got mostly positive remarks!

And... couldn't be happier with the clarity on this!!

No response needed, just kind of venting.

Ofest1.jpg

Ofest2.jpg
 

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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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its pretty! bet its tasty too! what's 'truly' disturbing is all the seltzers you have back there!
LOL I know, why do you think they're not in the fridge!! No one drinks them! People bring them over and then leave them. I have (2) 12 pack boxes filled with them too that aren't in that picture.
 

Franktalk

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Your Oktoberfest is gorgeous! Something tells me that the judges had a preconception of what the color should be instead of actually assessing it according to the guidelines. Also, appearance is only, what, three points, AND the guidelines state: "Amber-orange to deep reddish-copper color; should not be golden. Bright clarity, with persistent, off-white foam stand." I think you got screwed; the picture you provide meets the guidelines to to 'T.' Is there something I am missing?
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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Your Oktoberfest is gorgeous! Something tells me that the judges had a preconception of what the color should be instead of actually assessing it according to the guidelines. Also, appearance is only, what, three points, AND the guidelines state: "Amber-orange to deep reddish-copper color; should not be golden. Bright clarity, with persistent, off-white foam stand." I think you got screwed; the picture you provide meets the guidelines to to 'T.' Is there something I am missing?
The only thing I’ll say is that I use Caramunich in there and so I think the flavors from that, based on their feedback, might be a touch too intense. For me, I love the flavor it imparts in there but for the STYLE, might be too caramel-toffee heavy. I don’t know. I’m still trying to understand it myself
 

camonick

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The BJCP guidelines do say “caramel, biscuit or roasted flavors are inappropriate”. Without tasting it, I’d say it looks just about perfect though. There seems to be a lot of discrepancies about what a “Märzen” is, especially between the American craft breweries and their German counterparts. I like the darker, maltier versions brewed by the German breweries better.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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Those judges are on crack. That's a beautiful looking beer! Brilliantly clear, and that color is gorgeous. I bet they had a bunch of much lighter entries and that affected the judging.
I appreciate that comment man! I’m a fan myself lol. We’ll see what the next 2 comps say about it
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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The BJCP guidelines do say “caramel, biscuit or roasted flavors are inappropriate”. Without tasting it, I’d say it looks just about perfect though. There seems to be a lot of discrepancies about what a “Märzen” is, especially between the American craft breweries and their German counterparts. I like the darker, maltier versions brewed by the German breweries better.
Yeah and this is where I think I took the biggest hit. But I like it so that’s the important part I guess haha. We brew for us, not for comps. I just really want a medal lol
 

camonick

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But I like it so that’s the important part I guess haha. We brew for us, not for comps. I just really want a medal lol
That’s for sure. I entered a Schwarzbier in a comp a while back that I thought would kick ass. Judges disagreed… only scored a 26. I’ve sent it to another comp to see if it gets similar scores. Someone told me it might be a great beer, just not a competition beer.
 

Stormcrow

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We brewed up a Marzen and entered it into 3 competitions this year. Everything went well for this brew - hit all the numbers, FG landed where I wanted, etc. I tend to like Marzen that is a bit darker than most. My favorite one was always Sam Adams Oktoberfest (although not so much after this year, discovering how sweet it is after doing side by sides with ours) and then also the one from Prairie Street Brewing in Rockford, IL. I took a tip from the brewer at PSB and added some midnight wheat to our marzen to darken it up. Not much, 0.4lbs this year. This brings our Marzen up to almost the top limit for SRM on Marzen (16 SRM).

Got the feedback from one of the competitions and it was pretty positive! Fermentation was clean, balance was good, but.... too dark, from BOTH judges! They said it knocked it out of style even though the SRM guidelines allows for 17.... Not sure how that works but oh well. Quite frankly, I'm happy to know that other than being too dark, it got mostly positive remarks!

And... couldn't be happier with the clarity on this!!

No response needed, just kind of venting.

View attachment 746297
View attachment 746298
I want that.
 

eric19312

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I read the score sheets. I think you got a couple well qualified judges that put a lot of effort into their scoring and comments. I'd not be so quick to disregard their observations.

I don't see either judge arguing the color of the beer is much too dark. Both gave you 2/3 on appearance. One said maybe a tad too dark. Other noted medium clarity (something not right there given pic OP shared, perhaps the bottle was handled poorly by the stewards). Both judges saw some issues with head retention/lacing that could have been reason for 2 instead of 3/3 in this style.

The dark malts hit you harder score-wise on flavor. First judge got burnt toast. Second got unpleasant aftertaste, that he attributed to too much use of dark malt. Perhaps the dark color suggested they should look for those flavors and upon looking for them they were found (or even imagined). Still the descriptions are pretty detailed my guess is they found those flavors.

Maybe cut back on the midnight wheat and bump up the munich (I'm assuming your base is something like 50/50 munich/pilsen).
Maybe skip the midnight wheat altogether and use this:
I believe it could be added at end of the boil a bit at a time until you get just the color you are looking for...
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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I read the score sheets. I think you got a couple well qualified judges that put a lot of effort into their scoring and comments. I'd not be so quick to disregard their observations.

I don't see either judge arguing the color of the beer is much too dark. Both gave you 2/3 on appearance. One said maybe a tad too dark. Other noted medium clarity (something not right there given pic OP shared, perhaps the bottle was handled poorly by the stewards). Both judges saw some issues with head retention/lacing that could have been reason for 2 instead of 3/3 in this style.

The dark malts hit you harder score-wise on flavor. First judge got burnt toast. Second got unpleasant aftertaste, that he attributed to too much use of dark malt. Perhaps the dark color suggested they should look for those flavors and upon looking for them they were found (or even imagined). Still the descriptions are pretty detailed my guess is they found those flavors.

Maybe cut back on the midnight wheat and bump up the munich (I'm assuming your base is something like 50/50 munich/pilsen).
Maybe skip the midnight wheat altogether and use this:
I believe it could be added at end of the boil a bit at a time until you get just the color you are looking for...
Fully agree. I dont' want to come off as disregarding their comments, I'm not. It's nice to get the outsider perspective. I stated above that I think the flavors from the malts that I used were a bit too intense based on the descriptions from the judges.

I think next year, I'm dropping the midnight wheat altogether and we'll see how it does. I may keep the caramunich still but we'll see. Got a whole year to think about it!
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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I read the score sheets. I think you got a couple well qualified judges that put a lot of effort into their scoring and comments. I'd not be so quick to disregard their observations.

I don't see either judge arguing the color of the beer is much too dark. Both gave you 2/3 on appearance. One said maybe a tad too dark. Other noted medium clarity (something not right there given pic OP shared, perhaps the bottle was handled poorly by the stewards). Both judges saw some issues with head retention/lacing that could have been reason for 2 instead of 3/3 in this style.

The dark malts hit you harder score-wise on flavor. First judge got burnt toast. Second got unpleasant aftertaste, that he attributed to too much use of dark malt. Perhaps the dark color suggested they should look for those flavors and upon looking for them they were found (or even imagined). Still the descriptions are pretty detailed my guess is they found those flavors.

Maybe cut back on the midnight wheat and bump up the munich (I'm assuming your base is something like 50/50 munich/pilsen).
Maybe skip the midnight wheat altogether and use this:
I believe it could be added at end of the boil a bit at a time until you get just the color you are looking for...
And yeah, the clarity thing I don't get. This thing has been clear ever since I kegged it. Not sure what happened there.
 

WESBREW

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It looks great. I love the deep copper color. Im going to brew one in a couple weeks. Back and fourth over the caramunich . Decided on a very small amount so it doesn't stand out. Using vienna, munich, pils base. Judges be damned !
 

JohnDBrewer

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It is a pretty beer. Your got a good score from both judges, low thirty's for a score is a "very good" beer, just as you say. Looks like they compared it to 10 other beers in the flight. Not sure how many of the others were Marzen, but judging beers side-by-side makes little things between beers stand out.
They gave you good feedback on how to improve your beer to be closer to "style". Try taking their advice, see if you like the beer better. If you don't go back to your original recipe. Let us know how the other competition go.
 
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