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My beer referred to as "catty" at a competition?

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GroosBrewz

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Hey guys-

New to all grain, have a few batches under my belt. Sent a beer off to my first competition- Not nearly as good as I hoped but I entered for the criticism and I hope to learn from it. Anyway, one of the comments on my scorecard (I entered a pale ale) was "Strong hop flavor on first sip, harsh, catty".. I understand harsh and strong, but catty?" Another judge mentioned there was a strong smell of "urea" which he suspected was hop nose, but said it was unpleasant..

Can ayone help me out on the catty and urea terminology? I am suspecting a cat pissed in my beer....just kidding, but really, whats the deal with "catty"

EDIT: Well, I did some homework and found out that catty is associated with oxidation.. Who knew..... Guess I'll work on that! Thanks
 

k1v1116

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The dictionary defines catty as "slyly malicious, spiteful" but I cant really fit that into a beer description, I think the judge isn't very articulate.
 

BigEd

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"Catty" is a polite way of saying cat excrement. Catty elements are common in some American hops, Cluster and Chinook come to mind. The "cattiness" of these types can vary in harshness as can the effect depending on the brew. What kind of hops were in your beer and how were they used?
 

BrewDey

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I love Simcoes for that reason...where else but in the beer world can 'cat piss' and 'sweaty horse blanket' be desirable flavors?!?!
 

Donthoseme

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Hey that sounds like a good beer to me. I use chinook and simcoe in an IPA i make (ZPA - so good it WILL kill you). That is the major downfall with competitions. An amazing IPA with some of that "catty" aroma might not put you in the top three but it still might be an unbelievable beer and probably top three in my book. I add what many people call WAY to many bittering hops to my IPA's. In competition i've been rocked but i don't brew for the gold ribbon, i brew for myself and the few who need that extreem punch you in the mouth flavor! Keep brewing em stong my friend!
 

carnevoodoo

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I don't think that a good judge would describe a beer as catty because of some simcoe hops. When used properly, they can be amazing and I don't get anything musty out of them at all. It was likely oxidation or maybe skunking.
 

de_ronde

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Slightly Off-Topic... Have any of you gotten really good feedback on your beers from judges in competitions? Have you ever entered a beer, been told something about the flavor profile that lead you to change your brewday technique or habits?

I am sure my beer is not good enough to win anything in any class (I am just getting back to brewing again after years away) - but I'd really like to know what flavors an experienced judge would find.
 

Donthoseme

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I don't think that a good judge would describe a beer as catty because of some simcoe hops. When used properly, they can be amazing and I don't get anything musty out of them at all. It was likely oxidation or maybe skunking.
I had an IPA at Sleeping Lady here in Anchorage and my wife took one sip and complained of cat piss. I took one sip and it definitley had it but it was an IPA and it was the simcoe. I don't think it's musty or skunky. i don't think catty and skunky are necesarily the same.
 

BeerPressure

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I am entering three beers into a competition later this month. It is my first time entering and I am nervous. I hope they're not too harsh on me haha.
 

PseudoChef

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I don't think that a good judge would describe a beer as catty because of some simcoe hops. When used properly, they can be amazing and I don't get anything musty out of them at all. It was likely oxidation or maybe skunking.
It is all in sensory perception. To some, it reeks of cat urine - to others it's delicious.

Do you like cilantro? I love it...others hate it. All in the genetic make up of your sensory "factories."

I hate bananas, but I know most people like them. To each their own kind of thing.
 
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GroosBrewz

GroosBrewz

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Hey guys,

There were no simcoe hops in this recipe.. However, I can't tell you which hops were in it because I lost my hard drive on my 'puter and my Beersmith recipe went with it.. TO be honest, I can't remember what hops were in it.. I know, I know, but what can I say? I've brewed 8 beers between then and now and the ingredients have all just kinda blended into each other..:cross:

That was my second attempt at all grain brewing, and I really didn't know what I what was doing.. So I expected a few harsh knocks, but I got plenty more than I thought I would! I don't know for sure, but maybe you guys can tell me... Is it bad to use bottlecaps that are several years old? How long can you keep regular old caps? I think the ones I used could have been at least 5 years old and possibly as old as ten years..... I suspect that contributed to oxidation...

I scored 24.5 out of 50 in the contest which falls into the "Good" category.. Some of the comments I received were: Aroma- "Strong smell of urea, suspect it's a hop nose, but it is unpleasant. Malty breadiness hiding behind that. Some sweetness perceived. No fruitiness discerned". Another judge said of the aroma, "Cheezy, cheddary, blows off slightly to reveal some malty backbone. Chemically smell, few hop notes".

Of the taste, one judge said "Strong hop flavor on first sip, harsh, catty. Hop bitterness is quite high. Malt characterisitic present but obscured by hop flavor. Sweetness apparent, balance slightly toward sweet. Slight perfumy character, finish is puckery". Judge 2 says "Slight malt body with some citrusy grapefruit, slight fruitiness, balanced quite dry. Finish is grapefruit pith(? WTF is that?) with slight malty notes.

I wont bore you with what they said about mouthfeel as I know this post is getting long, but for overall impressions, one judge said-
"Ok beer Recipe is probably sound, but your aroma and flavor hops were harsh and sistracting. May have been old (i did use 2007 hops), may have just been a harsh variety. Try it again with fresh West Coast "C" hops, chinook, cascade, centennial etc)".

The other judge says"ok beer- could use a little more malt to balance hop flavor and aroma. Some stale/musty aromas. Send younger beer (The one I sent was only 2 months old!), use oxygen reducing caps or make sure caps are on tight."

so there you have it.. my whole report (almost).. Maybe this can help some of you guys getting ready to etner your first competition..:mug:
 

atkinsr

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Very cool to see an actual report. I'm hoping to send a beer to be judged this year. Now I know what I'm in for.
 

carnevoodoo

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Definitely sounds like they picked up oxidation in your beer if they were talking about the caps. The one judge did something I HATE. He obviously prefers the American hop varities, and he told you straight out to use them, but I don't think that's very valid. Your beer is supposed to be judged to style, not to what he thinks should be in your beer.
 

remilard

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If this beer was entered as american pale ale, to style is late hopping with american hops.
 

carnevoodoo

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Slightly Off-Topic... Have any of you gotten really good feedback on your beers from judges in competitions? Have you ever entered a beer, been told something about the flavor profile that lead you to change your brewday technique or habits?

I am sure my beer is not good enough to win anything in any class (I am just getting back to brewing again after years away) - but I'd really like to know what flavors an experienced judge would find.
I have gotten some awesome feedback from judges. And I have gotten some totally worthless feedback as well. Some comps do better than others. I know that the one at the San Diego County Fair won't do me any good in terms off good feedback. There are just too many entries and they have to rifle through them.

I've been fortunate in my entries, I think. One I entered and I knew it was a little hot and I got marked down accordingly. I had one beer ferment a little too high and I got marked down for the off flavors which made me invest in a fridge to ferment in.

I've won a ribbon in every comp I've entered, save one, but I really like the notes I get. I actually think that when I win, I get the worst notes possible because if they like it, there's not a lot of room on the card for improvement.
 

the_bird

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"Pith" is the white stuff on the underside of a fruit's rind. It's bitter, but not in a good way (it's the stuff you avoid when zesting a citrus fruit). I've had a few beers that have had a pith-like note, and it's not terribly pleasant. In at least one of those cases, I think it was a characteristic of the hops (the name is escaping me; it's kind of a lemon-ey hop that I *think* might be Japanese).
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

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"Pith" is the white stuff on the underside of a fruit's rind. It's bitter, but not in a good way (it's the stuff you avoid when zesting a citrus fruit). I've had a few beers that have had a pith-like note, and it's not terribly pleasant. In at least one of those cases, I think it was a characteristic of the hops (the name is escaping me; it's kind of a lemon-ey hop that I *think* might be Japanese).

Budweither tathtes like pith.
 

Rhoobarb

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I brewed this IPA with Sorachi Ace hops and believe me, a little goes a long way. I would never go beyond the amount I put in that recipe. In fact. I don't know what else I will use these things for!
 

weremichael

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I brewed a Steam with Sorachi Ace a couple of weeks ago and the first words out of my wife's mouth after sampling it in secondary was, "That is cat piss." Needless to say that keg is mine.

-Michael
 
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