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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 12:41:35 AM

Title: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 12:41:35 AM
This is probably asking for trouble, but I live in the middle of no where. I trust you guys. Well, some of you.

Im trying to improve my judging skills, and scoresheet writing abilities. Im not trying to become a 9th level beer god, just an ok judge. Let me know what you think and tell me what I ought to do different. Don't get lost in the weeds. But dont pull punches either.

I cracked an Arrogant Bastard bomber,  poured to a new 5oz sample cup. I didn't use a stop watch but it took me about 12 minutes.

I'm not about to type it all out... hopefully the photo works.(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/04/19/saqevumy.jpg)
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: morticaixavier on April 19, 2014, 03:34:57 AM
I tried Jim, couldn't read it sideways.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 03:55:32 AM
Bummer. I cant get it to save rotated... Ill try a different way.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 04:01:15 AM
Screw it. Never mind. Cant figure it out.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Pinski on April 19, 2014, 04:07:22 AM
I'm in the same boat Jim, about halfway through my BJCP course. So, take my comments as someone trying to repeat what I've been learning rather than a voice of experience. Hope you don't mind.
Very thorough, and man that seems like more than half the battle. You've given clear, thoughtful feedback on most if not all of the points listed on the scoresheet for each element. My instructors have emphasized that the key is right there on the scoresheet. If you touch on each of the points based on what you're experiencing you can't go wrong. I noticed that you called out a fermentation ester, but then wrote none on the descriptor definitions present checklist.  The only other things I would offer is to try and pretend like you can't read the label when you practice and judge it according to style rather than like a commercial review and offer things that you think could improve the beer without being presumptuous, if you're practicing for comp judging.
Overall, I would be stoked to get back a scoresheet that looked like this regardless of the score. You've provided great feedback. Helluva job, you'll make a great judge!
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 04:31:57 AM
Right on.

On the esters thing. I thought the vertical list on the left was faults. I got a fruity ester, albiet faint and buried behind hops, but not "estery" like a fault. Should I have checked that box and explained why?

I appreciate the criticism on labeling. You're right. For the true challenge, blinder the better. Where I know im going to be weak is commenting on what makes it to style, out out of style. For the exam anyway. Its a bit less guess work with the guideline in front of you.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Pinski on April 19, 2014, 05:45:16 AM
Right on.

On the esters thing. I thought the vertical list on the left was faults. I got a fruity ester, albiet faint and buried behind hops, but not "estery" like a fault. Should I have checked that box and explained why?

I appreciate the criticism on labeling. You're right. For the true challenge, blinder the better. Where I know im going to be weak is commenting on what makes it to style, out out of style. For the exam anyway. Its a bit less guess work with the guideline in front of you.

No kidding, I think that practicing filling out the sheets like you're doing is the best way to prepare. Good luck!
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: ncbluesman on April 19, 2014, 02:48:00 PM
While I'm not a beer judge, I do know something about images. How's this?
(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-kwnyaudHzao/U1KMCZb4bJI/AAAAAAAAAF4/945_Cx67t28/w514-h685-no/saqevumy.jpg)
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: denny on April 19, 2014, 03:04:08 PM


On the esters thing. I thought the vertical list on the left was faults. I got a fruity ester, albiet faint and buried behind hops, but not "estery" like a fault. Should I have checked that box and explained why?

I just look at those as descriptors.  They may be faults, but it depends on the particular beer.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Pinski on April 19, 2014, 04:54:21 PM


On the esters thing. I thought the vertical list on the left was faults. I got a fruity ester, albiet faint and buried behind hops, but not "estery" like a fault. Should I have checked that box and explained why?

I just look at those as descriptors.  They may be faults, but it depends on the particular beer.

We've been taught that to check something on the list "indicates the presence" of that characteristic regardless of whether or not appropriate to style.  It's not required but acceptable to provide additional explanation particularly if appropriate for style such as, "OK for style"
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: MDixon on April 19, 2014, 05:19:55 PM
My thoughts, in no order:

Fill in the appropriate descriptor boxes.
Aroma lacking against what exactly?
It's not generally the entrant's fault when special ingredients are not presented to judges - just keep that in mind.
Saying "No thrill ride" could make an entrant want to throat punch you should they meet you, find different verbiage to say what you mean.

Aroma - sweet is not an ester. Aroma comments are not very precise. Citrus American hops is good, describe the sweetness in detail. If nothing else is present talk about what is not there, diacetyl, dms, etc.
Appearance - Seems you dinged for head retention, make it clear that is where the entrant lost points
Flavor - Not bad, but much of the response was hop flavor while malt discussion was an afterthought.
Mouthfeel - You dinged for something, again no apparent what. Use the cues given on the score sheet - any alcohol? Was it creamy? How about astringency? All I see discussed is carbonation and body.
Overall Impression - Zero suggestions on how to improve yet the beer was not scored a 50. That means there is room to improve, tell the "entrant" how even when evaluating a commercial beer to get in the groove of giving suggestions for improvement.

When I peel the onion the sheet is good, but has room for improvement. If I was an entrant and got something like this from a judge at competition I would be very pleased. If I was a grader and got this from someone who took the exam I'd probably land in the Certified range at best. My $0.02, HTH.


Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 19, 2014, 06:26:14 PM
Wow tons of great input. Thanks everyone especially those who put time into it. Lots to absorb. I really appreciate it
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: santoch on April 20, 2014, 10:48:12 PM
I concur with what Mike said, and also his assessment of your score sheet.

Here's how I tend to think about how to help structure the aroma and flavor sections. I like to use "ingredient coverage" as a framework for how to break down the aroma and flavor sections.  Each beer is created from malt, hops, yeast, and water (and sometimes additional ingredients for the fruit and specialty type categories), and therefore, each of these ingredient categories contributes something to the aroma/flavor of the beer.  I treat it as my job is to capture those contributions on the score sheet.

Each of the descriptors should express a descriptive vividness consisting of 3 parts: intensity of perception, a  "million dollar adjective" which vividly describes the characteristic, and of course the characteristic itself.  For example, "intense resiny pine and tangerine hop aroma"  gives much more vivid feedback than "lots of hops".

(aroma)
What do I get from the Hops?
What do I get from the Malt?
What do I get from the Yeast (e.g., esters, phenolics, alcohol, etc)?
What do I get from water or special ingredients (if there's anything noteworthy)?
What do I get from other factors (this is where I tend to look for packaging issues, off flavors, etc).
I also note any aromas that may be permissible but often fleeting, like sulphur or DMS in lagers or diacetyl in some ale styles, then go back later (usually after flavor has been fully commented) to revisit them and comment on whether they diminished, intensified, or stayed the same as the beer sat and warmed.

For appearance, I use the touch points in italics below the appearance header, looking for comments about the color, clarity, head color, head texture, head retention, etc.

Then I repeat the "ingredient coverage" for flavor-
What do I get from the Hops (both bitterness and flavor)?
What do I get from the Malt?
What do I get from the Yeast (e.g., esters, phenolics, alcohol, etc)?
What do I get from water or special ingredients (if there's anything noteworthy)?
What do I get from other factors (this is where I tend to look for packaging issues, off flavors, etc).

Mouthfeel visits all of the  touch points of body, carbonation, creaminess, etc.

Then, sum it up in the overall impression, as Mike says, offering suggestions on how to improve the beer.

Like Mike said, avoid phrases which may be construed as derogatory or inflammatory. 
Another thing that is a pet peeve for a lot of us graders is don't use ranges for aspects that can't vary over time.  What exactly does "medium to high bitterness" mean?  If you mean its between medium and high, then just say medium-high.

Other things to keep in mind-
Think of the "signature elements" of each style that are particular to that style.  Look for them and comment about them.  For example, alcohol in IIPA, BarleyWine, Imperial Stout, and Strong Belgians.  Sulphur and/or DMS in some lagers, diacetyl in some styles like Milds and Bitters, malt derived fruit flavors in the Bock family, etc.  Each of the styles have these signature aspects that should be there, and the very best score sheets seek those out and comment when they are there and just as importantly, when they are missing.


HTH-
Steve
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 20, 2014, 11:11:21 PM
Thanks Steve. I'll keep all of that in mind when I'm practicing.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Jimmy K on April 21, 2014, 12:50:14 PM
Overall, great level of detail. If you can taste and write this in 12 minutes, you're well on your way. I think you'd at least pass with this scoresheet (though I'm not a grader).
 
A few, more mechanical comments based on what I've read about grading.
 
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: MDixon on April 21, 2014, 01:58:23 PM
If a beer is served too cold hold it in your hand and allow it to warm. If you have a steward have them pull some of the bottles out to warm and if it is self serve pull them out to warm yourself.

FWIW - he would way more than pass with this score sheet. If you just looked at it at words on a page it is fantastic, but when you get down to the actual comments and usefulness of those comments that is when it becomes apparent this is not the sheet from a National or higher judge. Now on the bright side it won't take much work to get there. Better and more precise descriptors and solid feedback and he'd have it licked. And the beautiful thing is all it takes is several hundred beers to hone those skills. ;)
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Pinski on April 21, 2014, 02:15:45 PM
Really great and helpful comments here, thanks for posting Jim!
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2014, 06:05:44 PM
Im really glad I did. I was afraid no one would care, but gratefully wrong about that.

I'll try to absorb most of the great feedback you guys gave, then post up a new one in a few days for critiquing.

Maybe I'll use a home brew next time. That will double the self-abuse. ;-)
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2014, 06:07:45 PM
Hey one more thing. How much time do you have at the exam? Seems like I heard somewhere 60 minute, 10 min per sample. If that's true you must have to really rely on first impressions and get to writing.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: denny on April 21, 2014, 06:15:25 PM
Hey one more thing. How much time do you have at the exam? Seems like I heard somewhere 60 minute, 10 min per sample. If that's true you must have to really rely on first impressions and get to writing.

I can tell you that in NHC 2nd round we shoot for 7 min. per beer.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Jimmy K on April 21, 2014, 07:49:35 PM
Hey one more thing. How much time do you have at the exam? Seems like I heard somewhere 60 minute, 10 min per sample. If that's true you must have to really rely on first impressions and get to writing.
It is 90 minutes - 15 minutes per beer.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: james on April 21, 2014, 07:50:39 PM
Hey one more thing. How much time do you have at the exam? Seems like I heard somewhere 60 minute, 10 min per sample. If that's true you must have to really rely on first impressions and get to writing.

An hour and a half for six beers.  So 15 mins per, but you might get less depending on where you are sitting and the order the beers get poured.

On one exam I ended up always being the last one poured, so when I administer an exam I alternate which side I start from.

Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: james on April 21, 2014, 07:54:20 PM
Oh Jim if you want some random homebrew to try to judge and if you are near Tri-Cities anytime let me know.  I can give you some of mine or some random samples from people.  I usually try to get bottles good or bad from people for judging groups or for exam beers.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2014, 09:05:43 PM
Denny,
It must be difficult to give detailed info and comments at 7 min... though in my opinion, 2nd round ought to be more about whittling it down to top 3.

Jimmy
90 seems very reasonable. But not enough to do much farting around. Ill start practicing on a 12 minute timeline to leave some wiggle room.

James,
I will keep that offer in mind. I might have to take you up on that when the sunny riding weather gets here.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: santoch on April 22, 2014, 03:42:00 AM
Jim-

Any time you are up here near Seattle, give me a call.

PM me your email address and I'll send you some study info.  Have you gotten onto an exam list?  You'll need to get on one now if you want a slot. I have an exam I'm administering next May (2015) in Redmond I'll add you to the list if you want. (if you get on one earlier, I'll just take you off my list).

James- That reminds me, I assume you want in on the written next May, too, right?

Steve

Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: denny on April 22, 2014, 03:03:36 PM
Denny,
It must be difficult to give detailed info and comments at 7 min... though in my opinion, 2nd round ought to be more about whittling it down to top 3.

Yeah, it is, but if you have experience it's not too bad.  With the number of beers in second round, things get hosed if it takes much longer than that.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: dkfick on April 22, 2014, 03:46:48 PM
Yes right now it's looking like about 1000 entries for the 2nd round. At 7 mins per entry you're looking at about 117 judging hours.  That means with the beers just coming straight out with no gaps in between during the 2 3 hour session planned you need at least 117 judges.  Any delays and that number goes up and up.  Wonder how many judges actually judge at the 2nd round.... I've still never judged there.  I'm too selfish for that one.  When i pay for seminars I would rather go to them than judge.  Sorry but it's the way it is for me.  I get all the reasons for why it can't happen the day before etc... but it is what it is.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: denny on April 22, 2014, 04:19:56 PM
Yes right now it's looking like about 1000 entries for the 2nd round. At 7 mins per entry you're looking at about 117 judging hours.  That means with the beers just coming straight out with no gaps in between during the 2 3 hour session planned you need at least 117 judges.  Any delays and that number goes up and up.  Wonder how many judges actually judge at the 2nd round.... I've still never judged there.  I'm too selfish for that one.  When i pay for seminars I would rather go to them than judge.  Sorry but it's the way it is for me.  I get all the reasons for why it can't happen the day before etc... but it is what it is.

I used to judge second round all the time.  The first time I did it, in Orlando, was before the checkbox scoresheets.  We actually ended up needing one more day than planned and it almost broke the system.  That was the incentive to go to the new scoresheets and get it done in a day.  Expenses really mount up fast when you look at the per day cost and one more day can break the bank.  I haven't judged the last few years due to health issues, but I may do it this year.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: dkfick on April 22, 2014, 04:26:41 PM
Yeah I guess I'm saying I would be curious how many people signed up to judge.  In theory if they could get 167 judges with no delays they would have 10 mins.  So roughly for every 50 judges you (all day judges) you get a 3 minute shift in judging time per beer.  Of course if there is even an average of 1 minute delay in between beers (and lets face it there is at least a minute delay) they you need more judges... I guess it would just be interesting to see how many people judged last year etc... :D

Don't mind me... I'm just playing with numbers while I wait for lunch to cook lol.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 22, 2014, 04:33:16 PM
I'm just a peon but if it were up to me 2nd round would be a big BOS with no score sheets. For each catagory have 6 flights of 12 to narrow it to top 18. (15 min). Top 3 from those (30 min)
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: jeffy on April 22, 2014, 05:24:42 PM
Last year I think they did all of the beer categories in one session in the morning, then mead, cider and best of show in the afternoon.  They had a lot of judges, nine at the table of Specialties where I was.
So if you have roughly 30 entries per category for most categories and a panel of three pairs of judges it doesn't take too long.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Jimmy K on April 22, 2014, 07:17:49 PM
I think they had three sets of three judges at every table last year. That was impressive! Largest judging session ever I hear.

Sent from my XT1030 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 23, 2014, 12:20:46 AM
I just discovered its so much easier to judge your own beer. From pulling a sample to finshed score sheet, 15 seconds. I just wrote "Amazing!" and gave it a 49.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: Stevie on April 23, 2014, 12:29:05 AM

I just discovered its so much easier to judge your own beer. From pulling a sample to finshed score sheet, 15 seconds. I just wrote "Amazing!" and gave it a 49.

Where did that point go?
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: dkfick on April 23, 2014, 02:07:45 AM

I just discovered its so much easier to judge your own beer. From pulling a sample to finshed score sheet, 15 seconds. I just wrote "Amazing!" and gave it a 49.

Where did that point go?
That was the drops that dribbled off his chin.
Title: Re: Lil Help
Post by: klickitat jim on April 23, 2014, 02:11:15 AM
No, I wanted to keep the brewer humble