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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: roguejim on October 04, 2010, 08:22:08 PM

Title: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: roguejim on October 04, 2010, 08:22:08 PM
I want to post some of the BJCP (Grand Master III) comments/scores for my recent APA, and then ask a few questions.  I should also state up front that I'm pretty unfamiliar with what would be considered a "good score", relatively speaking.

AROMA- 8/12...low pale malt toastiness...citrus/herbal hop aroma, similar to Centennial...low peach ester...No DMS/diacetyl

Question: Based on the score and comments, should I take this to mean there is not enough hop aroma to warrant a higher score?  What else?

FLAVOR- 14/20...Slightly sweet pale malt...No obvious caramel...Moderately aggressive citrussy hop flavor...orange, grapefruit...light white grape ester in finish...Bitterness is firm, coming in aftertaste and lingering long into fade...No sanitation or handling issues.

Question: Is 14/20 a typical flavor score for an average APA, a good APA, what?  Are there ever 18-19-20/20scores?

OVERALL IMPRESSION- 7/10...Clean, well made beer...Excellent, balanced example of the style...I would like the bitterness to fade more quickly, but that's a quibble.  Complexity through a bit of biscuit, vienna, or aromatic malts would be welcome.

Question: Scanning the BJCP guidelines, I see that biscuity, bready notes are optional.  Looking at some gold medal recipes, I don't see these specialty grains used for an APA.  So, should I take this judges final remarks to be his own personal preference?  In other words, a different judge might not like biscuity notes in an APA, and therefore, would not make the same suggestion.

Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: MDixon on October 05, 2010, 01:26:53 AM
Email the judge and ask.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: Hokerer on October 05, 2010, 02:07:28 AM
Email the judge and ask.

I've always wondered, when seeing the email addys on the scoresheets, if a judge would really be able to remember a specific brew from a comp.  Seems it would be tough to do.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: bonjour on October 05, 2010, 04:26:05 AM
You have landed one of the top judges in the country.  One who has been judging for a very long time.  While I can assure you I wouldn't have remembered your beer, this judge may have.  If you remind him of all he said, that may help him, especially for a recent competition.   

Not having tasted your beer I'll defer to the GM3

My guess is you got a 35 +/-1 for a score.  Very well done.
Many beers are very one dimensional, thus the comment on adding complexity.  Complexity is what sets the best beers apart from others.  This judge simply suggested you add an acceptable flavor characteristic to increase complexity.

I have given 18's and 19's, no 20's yet.  These beers have many dimensions to the flavor and aroma, they all have some degree of complexity.  That and backing off the bittering a touch should net you 38+ scores



Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: roguejim on October 05, 2010, 09:36:44 AM
You have landed one of the top judges in the country.  One who has been judging for a very long time.  While I can assure you I wouldn't have remembered your beer, this judge may have.  If you remind him of all he said, that may help him, especially for a recent competition.   

Not having tasted your beer I'll defer to the GM3

My guess is you got a 35 +/-1 for a score.  Very well done.
Many beers are very one dimensional, thus the comment on adding complexity.  Complexity is what sets the best beers apart from others.  This judge simply suggested you add an acceptable flavor characteristic to increase complexity.

I have given 18's and 19's, no 20's yet.  These beers have many dimensions to the flavor and aroma, they all have some degree of complexity.  That and backing off the bittering a touch should net you 38+ scores





Hi Fred.  Of course, this was your recipe with US-05.  My score was a 37.  It looks like that puts it in the "very good" range.  Not "excellent"; certainly not "outstanding".  I have a couple of ideas of how I might improve on it for comps (no offense, honestly), but personally, I like it as is. 

I guess the 8/12 aroma score puzzles me the most considering the amounts of the 5mins and 1mins hop additions.  Any more would seem almost overkill to me.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: dmtaylor on October 05, 2010, 12:04:21 PM
Judging is highly subjective, especially above about 35 points.  And just because you have a Grand Master III judge, doesn't mean he knows everything or is perfect!!  I would give only a tiny smidge more credence to a GMIII than any other judge of Certified status or higher, and there are a lot of awesome Recognized judges out there as well (including myself!).  My suggestion is to not take just one guy's comments to heart, EVER.  The thing you must do is to enter the same beer into at least 3 competitions, then throw out the scoresheets from the obvious idiots (you'll know who they are -- just throw them in the trash and forget about them), and then you'll still have a handful of good comments from several different judges, and look at all their comments as a whole / on the average.  This is the very best way to get the most out of the feedback.  Otherwise, you are fretting over one guy's opinion.  And one guy... ain't perfect.  Two minds, or three or four or five or more, are much MUCH better than just one.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: johnf on October 05, 2010, 12:29:04 PM
My observations are certainly that higher ranked judges represent the best judges, on balance. You might be able to find counterexamples but if you can't parse the info coming back from the competitions (which includes weighting qualified feedback more heavily) then you aren't getting all you can out of your entry fee.

As for the beer, he clearly wanted more maltiness. You can get this a number of ways (or more to the point diminished maltiness can be caused by a number of things) but adding character grain is the simplest advice. As an example, consider a beer like Pilsner Urquell which is all lightly kilned malt. A lot of homebrewers would choose to use character/crystal malt to make a Bohemian Pils, but clearly it can be done with base malt and technique (and perhaps water). He also didn't like how the hop bitterness lingered. Maybe less sulfate or a different hop variety would improve that.

Although the judge didn't say this, I personally rarely like the peach and what I perceive as pear (probably what this judge perceived as white wine grape) esters common to the fermentis ale yeasts. I've stopped using them for this reason, although I've used them in beers that scored well so some (or most) judges like them. Again, this judge didn't say he didn't like them, it's just something I picked up from the comments.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: bfogt on October 06, 2010, 02:46:22 PM
Regardless of the comments and scores I think one of the most common assumptions is that the comments in each element are negative comments or that they are all that affect the score for that area.  We'd like to think that we can write everything about the flavor in a reasonable amount of time so that someone can see why the score is as it is.  There's just not enough time and too many things involved.  At least for me and almost everyone I've judged with write comments in the top sections for notes about the beer.  They usually aren't as evaluatory as they are a recording of the sensations.  If there's time and space, there may be some comments toward the end.  I find myself returning to a section twice or more to record phases of aroma and flavor as the beer warms or breathes.  So on my score sheets at least, you're going to find the place for flaws and misses in the overall section.  The rest of it will read like a review more than a judging.

Remember that other food contests don't have the feedback we try to give.  Wine and BBQ typically get a score with no suggestions for improvement. 

Did your 37 place?

Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: tygo on October 06, 2010, 03:28:51 PM
I recently had the same thing happen with a BoPils I submitted to a comp that scored a 37.  All the comments were positive, which was nice, but doesn't really help me figure out how to bump it up to the next level.  If you're giving a beer a score of 15/20 on flavor and all your saying is that its good, then I think the feedback is a little lacking.  Tell me what is missing about it in your opinion that would help to improve, even if it's just a vague comment like, "A little more complexity would help the beer." or something to that effect.

Now the APA that I submitted to the same comp did not do nearly as well.  I knew going in that would be the case and was submitting for diagnostic help.  Those scoresheets were highly critical (as well they should have been) and provided several comments which I believe will help me brew a much better beer next time.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: roguejim on October 06, 2010, 06:23:16 PM
Regardless of the comments and scores I think one of the most common assumptions is that the comments in each element are negative comments or that they are all that affect the score for that area.  We'd like to think that we can write everything about the flavor in a reasonable amount of time so that someone can see why the score is as it is.  There's just not enough time and too many things involved.  At least for me and almost everyone I've judged with write comments in the top sections for notes about the beer.  They usually aren't as evaluatory as they are a recording of the sensations.  If there's time and space, there may be some comments toward the end.  I find myself returning to a section twice or more to record phases of aroma and flavor as the beer warms or breathes.  So on my score sheets at least, you're going to find the place for flaws and misses in the overall section.  The rest of it will read like a review more than a judging.

Remember that other food contests don't have the feedback we try to give.  Wine and BBQ typically get a score with no suggestions for improvement.  

Did your 37 place?


 

Blue.

Yes, I got the impression that most commentary is simply a sensory recording.  Two things have me stumped though.  One is why the aroma didn't score higher.  I'm not sure from the comments.

Also, a question which has thus far gone unanswered:
Question: Scanning the BJCP guidelines, I see that biscuity, bready notes are optional.  Looking at some gold medal recipes, I don't see these specialty grains used for an APA.  So, should I take this judges final remarks to be his own personal preference?  In other words, a different judge might not like biscuity notes in an APA, and therefore, would not make the same suggestion. 
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: ryang on October 06, 2010, 06:55:46 PM
So, should I take this judges final remarks to be his own personal preference?  In other words, a different judge might not like biscuity notes in an APA, and therefore, would not make the same suggestion. 

Yes, I'd have to say that these remarks are the judges opinion.  It (the style guidelines) states optional and the beer should be judged that way.  Like has been mentioned before though, it is all subjective, but hopefully points were not docked because of that.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: witsok on October 07, 2010, 01:32:07 AM
To me, 8/12 is a score for a beer that meets style parameters.  If you look at it from a percentage basis, the very top end of "Very Good" is 37.  So if you take 12 * 37 / 50, you get 8.8 or rounded off is 9 (low end would be 7.2, or rounded to 7).  So agian, 8 is really a beer that meets style guidelines.  Remember there are four basic areas a judge should look at in aroma:  Malt, hops, ester (I prefer to call this fermentation charcater), and other aromatics (ie special ingredients or charcaters - sometime fermentation character can be lumped into here too).  So there are four group.  So each one, if there is a WOW factor, I'm adding a point.  In my opinion, what defines excellent or world class versus guideline is personal preference.

From the overall theme of the comments, it appears that the judge was looking for malt complexity in your beer.  If you get additional feedback suggesting this, then it should make a difference.  Otherwise you made a very good beer, but wasn't the prefered embodiment of the style for the particular judge.

Based on the overall scoring guide, 60-70% is beer generally to style.  Keeping this in mid then:  Flavor 12-14 is to style, Mouthfeel 3-3.5 (but I don't give 1/2 points, so I give 3-4) is to style, and Overall impression 6-7 is to style.  One exception is appearence, for me 3 is to style with only substractions for faults.  This isn't like school where 60% is the line below which is the failing mark.  I see too many novice judges centering around 80% (40).

Now they'll probably take my ranking away.

Cheers, Dan
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: dmtaylor on October 07, 2010, 01:23:41 PM
I generally agree with Dan's comments above -- nice breakdown.  Anything above the mid 30s is based very much on subjectivity, and that "WOW" factor he mentioned.  Otherwise, if you make something perfectly to style, but it doesn't have something else to make it unique, then the highest you could ever hope to get might be the upper 30s or maybe a 40.

One thing I disagree on -- mouthfeel.  I feel every beer should be a 5 by default, then subtract for anything not quite right.  So to style for mouthfeel would be a perfect 5, not a 4.

Also, I am a little more creative with the "Overall Impression" section where the beer is judged from 1 to 10.  If a beer is to style but just seems rather bland, I might give it a 5 or 6.  On the other hand, if a beer is totally NOT to style but it tastes phenomenal, I have been known to give it an 8 or 9 on many occasions, sometimes with the comment, "ICTSAD -- I could drink this stuff all day", it is so delicious.  Not to style, but again, that WOW factor.  I do not limit this section to whether it is to style or not.  I see it as a free-for-all fudge factor -- and an opportunity to provide quality feedback to improve the beer at next brewing.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: bonjour on October 07, 2010, 03:54:25 PM
Yes, I got the impression that most commentary is simply a sensory recording.  Two things have me stumped though.  One is why the aroma didn't score higher.  I'm not sure from the comments.
AROMA- 8/12...low pale malt toastiness...citrus/herbal hop aroma, similar to Centennial...low peach ester...No DMS/diacetyl

Knowing the recipe, here are a couple of thoughts.
Quote
low peach ester
I usually get this a apricot, ok peach is close, but the Judge used the word "LOW".  With the all late hopping that is there (bittering, flavor and aroma, all Amarillo) with bittering going in at 15 or 20 minutes depending on version of the recipe I would expect a higher level here. 

I have seen a lot of variability in how the hop flavor and aroma comes through,  While all the examples have been really good, I suspect the better ones are quickly cooled.

Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: denny on October 07, 2010, 04:02:10 PM
IIRC, Jim used US-05.  Jamil and others have noted a peach ester with that yeast.  I have to admit that I haven't noticed it, but it's certainly something to consider if that was indeed the yeast used.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: roguejim on October 07, 2010, 07:23:03 PM
Yes, I got the impression that most commentary is simply a sensory recording.  Two things have me stumped though.  One is why the aroma didn't score higher.  I'm not sure from the comments.
AROMA- 8/12...low pale malt toastiness...citrus/herbal hop aroma, similar to Centennial...low peach ester...No DMS/diacetyl

Knowing the recipe, here are a couple of thoughts.
Quote
low peach ester
I usually get this a apricot, ok peach is close, but the Judge used the word "LOW".  With the all late hopping that is there (bittering, flavor and aroma, all Amarillo) with bittering going in at 15 or 20 minutes depending on version of the recipe I would expect a higher level here. 

I have seen a lot of variability in how the hop flavor and aroma comes through,  While all the examples have been really good, I suspect the better ones are quickly cooled.



Maybe I'm not understanding you here.

Why would you expect higher peach esters, if esters are contributed by yeast, and not the hops?  You seem to be relating the peach/apricot esters to the Amarillo, no?
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: bonjour on October 07, 2010, 08:11:03 PM
I perceive Amarillo as having a lot of apricot, especially in the aroma.  Fruity aromas are typically esters.  so I would have read the peach as Amarillo, not a yeast contribution.  The yeast contribution would be very low, and usually, if present, covered up by the hops.  It takes a real good pallet, better than mine, to tell the difference.   This is a beer to be drunk young, as the hop character, especially the aroma and flavor will fade with time.   Not knowing the age of the beer, this may be part of the impact.  The judge has no idea of what you put into the beer, it's age or how it has been handled through its life, only his senses to guide him.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: witsok on October 08, 2010, 12:24:23 AM
One thing I disagree on -- mouthfeel.  I feel every beer should be a 5 by default, then subtract for anything not quite right.  So to style for mouthfeel would be a perfect 5, not a 4/

I understand your logic here and don't have any issue with it.  Next time I may try this approach and see how it works for me.

Also, I am a little more creative with the "Overall Impression" section where the beer is judged from 1 to 10.  If a beer is to style but just seems rather bland, I might give it a 5 or 6.  On the other hand, if a beer is totally NOT to style but it tastes phenomenal, I have been known to give it an 8 or 9 on many occasions, sometimes with the comment, "ICTSAD -- I could drink this stuff all day", it is so delicious.  Not to style, but again, that WOW factor.  I do not limit this section to whether it is to style or not.  I see it as a free-for-all fudge factor -- and an opportunity to provide quality feedback to improve the beer at next brewing.

I can see how my post would suggest that I just look at stylistic parameters for overall impression.  This isn't the case, but I can't completely eliminate style from the equation.  As an extreme example, judging an American stout - after checking with the stewards that the beer was not misentered or check-in, it turns out to be an awesome saison.  I'm not going to give a high overall impression.  What I'll do is establish a floor based upon "stylistic" paramters and then usually add points based upon how much I enjoyed the beer.  So instead of a four (since it missed style badly) I may give a 5 or a 6 and comment it would do much better as a saison.  Likewise, if a beer was well made but it is a style I don't particularly enjoy, I'm not going to give a low score just becasue I don't care for it.  In this case I would not subtract at all.  To me Overall Impression is balancing the stylistic merits and hedonistic perferences.

I prefer to be open to judging assignments and don't have a problem judging styles I don't necessarily enjoy.

What I think people need to understand that scale is really centered closer to the 60-70% range for beers made to style.  I really try to keep this in mind when I judge to make sure my scoring stays consistant from entry to entry.  I more of a bottom up judge.  But I do review the final score for sanity check.  If the bottom up is way off from what I thought it would be I go back and check my notes and adjust accordingly.  To me a score of 37 is very good.  Sound like a spot on example which is at the point of hedonistic preference.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: narcout on October 08, 2010, 03:30:32 AM
I recently had the same thing happen with a BoPils I submitted to a comp that scored a 37.  All the comments were positive, which was nice, but doesn't really help me figure out how to bump it up to the next level.

My overall competition experience has been similar. The higher a beer scores, the less concrete constructive criticism I receive. Which I think makes sense. The better the beer, the less obvious flaws there are to comment on, and the more subjective the scoring becomes.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: Mikey on October 08, 2010, 03:34:20 AM
I perceive Amarillo as having a lot of apricot, especially in the aroma.  Fruity aromas are typically esters.  so I would have read the peach as Amarillo, not a yeast contribution.  The yeast contribution would be very low, and usually, if present, covered up by the hops.  It takes a real good pallet, better than mine, to tell the difference.   This is a beer to be drunk young, as the hop character, especially the aroma and flavor will fade with time.   Not knowing the age of the beer, this may be part of the impact.  The judge has no idea of what you put into the beer, it's age or how it has been handled through its life, only his senses to guide him.

Apricot???

I never got that.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: roguejim on October 08, 2010, 09:40:59 AM
I perceive Amarillo as having a lot of apricot, especially in the aroma.  Fruity aromas are typically esters.  so I would have read the peach as Amarillo, not a yeast contribution.  The yeast contribution would be very low, and usually, if present, covered up by the hops.  It takes a real good pallet, better than mine, to tell the difference.   This is a beer to be drunk young, as the hop character, especially the aroma and flavor will fade with time.   Not knowing the age of the beer, this may be part of the impact.  The judge has no idea of what you put into the beer, it's age or how it has been handled through its life, only his senses to guide him.

The reason I'm confused is that I've been under the impression that esters are always attributed to the yeast.  Fruity aromatics attributed to the hops would not be referred to as fruity esters.  I'm not saying I'm correct, just what I've gleaned so far from various threads.  Maybe someone can spell it out to me so I can stop looking like an idiot!
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: gordonstrong on October 08, 2010, 12:22:08 PM
Quote
The reason I'm confused is that I've been under the impression that esters are always attributed to the yeast.  Fruity aromatics attributed to the hops would not be referred to as fruity esters.  I'm not saying I'm correct, just what I've gleaned so far from various threads.  Maybe someone can spell it out to me so I can stop looking like an idiot!

Esters are fruity, regardless of the source.  The biggest source of fruity esters is, well, fruit.  Individual fruit can have multiple esters, as well as other compounds.  Take all of those together, and you get the distinctive aroma of a fruit.  "Fruity esters" isn't a phrase invented to describe beer.

Some of these chemicals can be produced by yeast, but some of them exist in hops and malt too.  It's not like one ingredient only gets to have one distinctive chemical that provides its aroma; it's almost always more complicated than that.

Yeast generally do produce esters.  But hops can have any number of esters.  Citrusy is a common hop descriptor.  Citrus is a category of fruit.  So hops can be fruity.  They can also be grassy, herbal, piney, etc.  I think CaraMunich malt tastes like plums.  Certainly I've gotted dried cherries, raisins, grapes and other such flavors from malt.

So just remember that esters are fruity, compounds can have multiple aromatic chemicals present, and that those chemicals can come from multiple sources.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: bluesman on October 08, 2010, 12:59:48 PM
I figured this would help.

Wikipedia

Ester
 
A carboxylic acid ester. R and R' denote any alkyl or aryl group, respectively Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid (one containing an oxo group, X=O) with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid[/b] in which at least one -OH (hydroxyl) group is replaced by an -O-alkyl (alkoxy) group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and alcohols. Basically, esters are formed by condensing an acid with an alcohol.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: bonjour on October 08, 2010, 02:05:35 PM
I figured this would help.

Wikipedia

Ester
 
A carboxylic acid ester. R and R' denote any alkyl or aryl group, respectively Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid (one containing an oxo group, X=O) with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid[/b] in which at least one -OH (hydroxyl) group is replaced by an -O-alkyl (alkoxy) group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and alcohols. Basically, esters are formed by condensing an acid with an alcohol.
and this help's how?????

Not doubting what is here, but my organic chemistry is not up to this.
Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: bluesman on October 08, 2010, 02:16:01 PM
I figured this would help.

Wikipedia

Ester
 
A carboxylic acid ester. R and R' denote any alkyl or aryl group, respectively Esters are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid (one containing an oxo group, X=O) with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol. Esters are usually derived from an inorganic acid or organic acid[/b] in which at least one -OH (hydroxyl) group is replaced by an -O-alkyl (alkoxy) group, and most commonly from carboxylic acids and alcohols. Basically, esters are formed by condensing an acid with an alcohol.
and this help's how?????

Not doubting what is here, but my organic chemistry is not up to this.

Sorry Fred.

Just trying to shed some light on the concept. 

Here's a great study.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2223249/

Title: Re: BJCP comments...APA
Post by: roguejim on October 08, 2010, 06:36:00 PM
Thank you, Gordon.  No more questions here.