Dave - while your comments are YOUR comments, you do the entrant a disservice to not work to a consensus score. The goal is to evaluate every beer in the flight the same way and for the flight to be able to stand alone. If you (or your fellow judge) is not working to achieve a consensus score within 7 points (3 in my world) then you aren't giving all the beers in the flight adequate attention. Like it or not, you and I if on a flight together would sit at the table until we reached a consensus score which was acceptable.
Mike, of course we need to TRY to reach a consensus. 90+% of the time, this is very easy to do. I don't know if I've ever had an instance where I could not easily and reasonably reach consensus with another judge, but I'm certain that it does happen often enough where one guy finally gives up because he loses the war of wills. There are times when consensus is very difficult to achieve, and who's to say which judge is right or wrong? THAT is what bugs me.
My primary concern is that this turns into a battle of whose schwartz is longer than the other's, when in fact, it is pretty close to a 50/50 chance that the guy with the shorter one is right, and the longer one is wrong. I'll give you a specific scenario, based on what so often happens in a real competition -- First, let's say that in any other universe, if you had 100 certified judges, who were completely independent and without consensus or bias, and took the overall average score for a particular beer, the true average score for this beer is 32. The scores of those 100 judges actually ranged from somewhere around 20 to 40, but the real score should be 32. So, then, move back to the real world, in a real competition, and pick any one of those certified judges, and pair him up with an apprentice who might really know a lot about that particular style, or might not. So then the apprentice judge gives this beer (which deserves a 32) a 29 -- not bad for being in close range to the "true" score -- and the other judge, who happens to be a National rank, decides that it is a 21 for whatever reason -- maybe he has a head cold, or he's drunk from two previous flights of Belgian strongs, or whatever. My concern is that the apprentice guy will very likely feel pressured into lowering his score to a 25 or so, whether self-induced or by the National; when in reality, he was right on at a 29! By forcing the two judges to come to a consensus to some arbitrary range, it forced the score in the WRONG direction!! I feel this happens VERY often, FAR too often -- it's virtually a 50/50 chance!!! How is this doing anyone any service?!?!
It is easy to insist on changing someone else's score when you are of higher rank than the other guy. Please take this into consideration -- just because your schwartz is longer, doesn't mean you are omniscient. I am not directing this at you personally -- I have zero reason to doubt that you are anything but an excellent judge. But surely you will agree that there are judges out there who are very pretentious and stubborn, while there are infinite others who may have very little experience in BJCP, but that doesn't mean they are complete morons either! In fact many of the inexperienced guys may have better palates than the Nationals.
Schwartz ain't everything. Peace, out.