Judging my 1st competition

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thedude123

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I will be a judge for the Blues n Brews Competition. Any judges out there have any pointers for me? I am not sure what style I will be doing yet but I would like to know the best way to prepare.
 

ohiobrewtus

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See if you can find out what category you will be judging and study it/them like crazy if you don't know them exceptionally well already.
 

Sigafoos

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They should have calibration beers beforehand to show you what you're going for. Try to give the best feedback you can, in what you found and would have liked. Also, RDW because you'll have another judge to tell you if you're wayyy off the mark (which you won't be).
 
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Drink an example or two of the style which you will be drinking. See the style guidelines (BJCP Style Guidelines) and look at the end of the sections for commercial examples.

If you have a choice, of course judge the styles you have made yourself, as you are probably already aware of possible defects and will be able to detect them easily.
 
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thedude123

thedude123

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Ya I am hoping I get IPAs or Pale ales. I will know the beginning of August.

I won't get stout or Weizen beers because I enter beers in those categories.
 

Homercidal

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I've been thinking about becoming a BJCP judge, but not sure how easy it really is. The list of styles is impressive. Not sure i'm up to the challenge.
 
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thedude123

thedude123

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Well not every Judge is going to be an expert in every style especially one that just passed the test. You are told what styles you are going to judge before hand so you can study up on the style.
 

david_42

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All you have to do is read the style guide for the style you are assigned and understand the basic qualities of beer in general. Last judging I did, I ended up on one of the Belgian flights. I was not informed about which flight ahead of time, in fact, I was there to steward. I'm not a fan of Belgians. The BCJP judge was really into Belgians. I followed the style guide and in almost every case, we were only a point or two apart.
 
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thedude123

thedude123

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I will be judging the American Ale and Specialty categories. The Specialty category should be interesting.
 

BNVince

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I will be judging the American Ale and Specialty categories. The Specialty category should be interesting.
I find the Specialty category interesting. I mean, as a judge, if the beer simply does not belong in any other style than it's technically 100% accurate in terms of the Specialty style right?
 
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thedude123

thedude123

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That is my understanding. Like a Rye IPA or a Imperial Brown ale would be in the Specialty category.
 

BNVince

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That is my understanding. Like a Rye IPA or a Imperial Brown ale would be in the Specialty category.
Not to hijack the thread but I had a Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye a few weeks ago. Wow! I would highly suggest this beer.
 

Reverend JC

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Take with you the style guide so you can reference it. No judges judge without one near them. It is ok to reference it. Most judges talk about the beer as they judge quietly with the people they are paired with. it is ok if you do not pick up things the other judges are getting as we all perceive things differently. For example, an elephant has to fart in my face for me to pick up sulphur. meaning it needs to be fairly strong. A friend of mine can smell it a mile away. Toss acetaldahyde or Diacetyl in the smallest amounts my way and i can pick them out right away.

And above all, just relax. You are not doing oper heart surgery. It is supposed to be fun.
 
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thedude123

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Ya I am paired up with one other guy and the organizer said there would be copies of the style guidelines of the tables.
 

Ksosh

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Any idea how many entries the BnBs competition has? I know I submitted 3 entries, but I have no idea how much competition there is.
 

DrinksWellWithOthers

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Maybe you'll be judging one of my beers. One of my entries was an American Pale. [/discreetly slides thedude 20 bucks...]

A couple of suggestions from an entrant's point of view:
1. Make your writing legible. I've had some score sheets come back unreadable and what's the point if you can't read judge's feedback, right?

2. Be as descriptive as possible. We're not looking for Michael Jackson excerpts but last year I got a score sheet back from the B 'n B fest and under Flavor it simply said "Awesome". Yeah I'm glad the judge liked my beer but I can get that kind of feedback from my friends. If I'm paying an entry fee I'd like a little more.

Have fun and good luck!
 
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thedude123

thedude123

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Ya, I am going to write as much as possible on each sheet. When I got my sheets back from one of the Sam Adams contest I was disappointed with my feedback because it was short. Only one of the sheets was worth reading and that guy's feedback helped me fine tune my recipe.
 
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thedude123

thedude123

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How did everyone do in the Blues N Brews? Marc I saw that you placed Third congrats. I place Third with my Hefe and a Kid from my homebrew club placed Third in the Specialty category.
 

DrinksWellWithOthers

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Hey thanks. Yep, third place in the American Ales category which is pretty good if I say so myself considering there were 20 entries in the category. I also got an honorable mention for a brown ale I entered. Just got my medal and score sheets in the mail today.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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My only advice is to be harsher than you think you should. I think most people have a tendency to want to be nice about things. That is not a useful trait in judging. All that does is drive all your scores toward a center point and make the standout beers less impressive.

I am not BJCP but I do review a lot of beers. I have been considering studying and taking the test but probably won't for a year or so.
 

Ksosh

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I wasn't expecting to win anything (and I didn't :) ), but I got some good, very full, sheets of feedback from my judges. I entered the 2 beers that I thought turned out 'ok but not great', and in all fairness they probably could have used another month or two of bottle conditioning.

Scored 30/30 on one, and 30/29 on the other, with the 29 saying it would have done better in a slightly different category (dry stout vs. sweet stout). Most of the 'problems' that I got dinged on are easily fixed (more carbonation, more maple flavor, more lactose/sweet flavor next time), and they didn't detect anything fatal IMO. Not too bad for my 3rd and 4th batches I ever brewed I guess. I'll probably tweak the sweet stout one sometime in the next couple months and see how the next one it turns out.
 

TexLaw

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Have fun with your judging. I don't normally like to see inexperienced judges on a flight of Specialty beers, as that category (by definition) has no guidelines. Of course, for all I know, you may have the knowledge, experience, and palate of Michael Jackson. I'm only making an observation.

Just in case, though, (and for all those other judges out there) please remain aware that Specialty is reserved for beers without any other appropriate style. Many entrants will enter Fruit Beers and Spice/Herb/Vegetable beers in Specialty. However, those beers are out of style. You may have the best Raspberry American Wheat or Coconut Brown Porter in the world in front of you, but neither should not medal as a Specialty as neither belong there.

Alright, I'll put my hijacking soapbox back in the corner, now.

Have a good time!


TL
 
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