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General Category => Homebrew Clubs => Topic started by: Jimmy K on July 21, 2011, 01:54:25 PM

Title: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: Jimmy K on July 21, 2011, 01:54:25 PM
I've had a request from some members to do blind homebrew tastings and review at the beginning of club meetings and am looking for thoughts or advice on how to get good feedback from this. The basic idea would be that those entering would bring enough beer so everyone gets a sample, bottles would be marked anonymously, and interested members would be given review sheets to rate/review each beer.  The idea is to get more than the usual "that's good" that we often get from face to face tasting, but I want to make sure it is useful and fun for those entering beer (and everybody else too).

Any thoughts on this?
Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: dbeechum on July 21, 2011, 03:53:28 PM
We typically do this when we're doing "choose a recipe to brew" competitions in our club.

The biggest thing I can recommend is appointing someone to manage the entries and a steward or two to pour the entries from pitchers. (To allow keg entries as well and not have them stand out as different.)

Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: bluesman on July 21, 2011, 04:16:06 PM
Great idea Jim!

We should make an attempt at this for our next meeting. If the beer falls under a specific category we should label it as such. If there are special ingredients they can be listed as well. Maybe a checklist scoresheet format with a comments section for efficieny purposes. This would give some level of feedback to the brewer and could be fun.

We can discuss further at The Battle of the Brews on Saturday.
Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: Jimmy K on July 27, 2011, 05:24:06 PM
I was thinking of doing this at our first meeting back at dogfish, only because the summer meetings are so unstructured and people show up at all different times. But... I don't see why we couldn't make it happen in August. We'd just tell people that they have to be there at a specific time to participate. I was thinking of having people sign up ahead and limiting the tasting to 5 beers, so we're not overwhelmed - at least for the first month. Tell them to bring a minimum of 4 12oz bottles or equivalent. They'd have to show up early and bring a 'Brewer's Statement' which would let tasters know their intentions. Actually, I'd ask for the brewers statement when they sign up so I can have pre-printed review sheets.  Are you going to DUH in August Ron?
Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: bluesman on July 27, 2011, 05:46:06 PM
I was thinking of doing this at our first meeting back at dogfish, only because the summer meetings are so unstructured and people show up at all different times. But... I don't see why we couldn't make it happen in August. We'd just tell people that they have to be there at a specific time to participate. I was thinking of having people sign up ahead and limiting the tasting to 5 beers, so we're not overwhelmed - at least for the first month. Tell them to bring a minimum of 4 12oz bottles or equivalent. They'd have to show up early and bring a 'Brewer's Statement' which would let tasters know their intentions. Actually, I'd ask for the brewers statement when they sign up so I can have pre-printed review sheets.  Are you going to DUH in August Ron?

I'll make every effort to be at the August meeting. I agree that Dogfish Brewpub would be a better place to start this but I'm okay with it either way.
Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: thomasbarnes on July 27, 2011, 07:01:57 PM
I've had a request from some members to do blind homebrew tastings and review at the beginning of club meetings and am looking for thoughts or advice on how to get good feedback from this.

I can think of two different methods.

Our club has a "brewer of the month" competition which gives informal feedback (and cash prizes) for brewers. Each month, anyone interested in entering the contest brews the same basic style of beer. The entries are anonymized by pouring them into numbered pitchers and paper bags marked with the pitcher number are placed just behind each pitcher. Club members vote for their favorite beer by putting poker chips into the appropriate bag. At the end of the meeting, the number of chips in each bag is tallied. This isn't so good for determining which beer is closest to style, but it is a pretty good indicator of which beer is the crowd favorite.

If you want more formal feedback, get club members (or just a team of BJCP judges) to fill out a quick checklist, here:

http://www.bjcp.org/docs/Beer_checklist.pdf

Alternately, you could have an even simpler form, where people rate the beer on a scale of 1-5 on Aroma, Appearance, Flavor and Mouthfeel, and then write a few quick words about obvious sensory problems.
Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: Jimmy K on July 28, 2011, 02:13:10 PM
I like the checkboxes on the bottom of that sheet for - I finished the sample, I'd drink a pint, I'd pay money, I want the recipe! It's fun. I would probably change month to month, sometimes just being review, sometimes more like a competition if we have a prize.

Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: Alewyfe on November 07, 2011, 06:48:23 PM
We typically do this when we're doing "choose a recipe to brew" competitions in our club.

The biggest thing I can recommend is appointing someone to manage the entries and a steward or two to pour the entries from pitchers. (To allow keg entries as well and not have them stand out as different.)


Can you give me a little more info on "choose a recipe to brew" competitions.  I am always looking for more ways to engage people in our small, but growing club. Are you actually brewing or just submitting recipes? Please expand on this idea.  Thank you.
Title: Re: Blind tasting homebrew
Post by: dbeechum on November 07, 2011, 09:29:04 PM
Sure, we work with a local brewery around the time of our major anniversaries. (e.g. 25th, 30th, 35th.. soon 40th, eep) and other times as well. We set a style of beer ahead of time (determined in conjunction with the brewery) and give everyone a fixed period of time in which to brew an example.

Then we'll have a tasteoff at one of our monthly meetings. Entrants hand their beers off to a set of organizers who will randomize and pour each sample into pitchers. The beer is poured for everyone at the meeting and notes are taken, comments are made. After each beer is tasted, the membership votes for their favorite: (i.e. #9 got 10 votes, #20 got 15 votes and is the winner).

We'll then take the winner, give them a parade and take their recipe to the brewery for tweaks. The club will then gather up at the brewery and have a brew day to make a 7-10 barrel batch of brew that goes on tap around the town.