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Messages - santoch

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1
Homebrew Competitions / Re: Entering in first competition
« on: July 15, 2018, 03:39:47 AM »
I think its great you are enthusiastic and want to enter your beer in a competition.  I think you should go for it no matter what.  I will try to give you a heads up from a judge's perspective, though, so that you can understand where we are coming from, and also so that your first experience in a competition isn't your last due to being unprepared/unaware.

The judges are looking to see how the beer fits its style, in terms of Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, Mouthfeel, and Overall Impression. Production flaws, and stylistic aberrations discount from that goal.

We use these guidelines so that we can get beyond the "apples vs oranges" comparisons.  Without the style guidelines, things become totally subjective.  Under those conditions, a judge that prefers massive bitterness will only score IIPA's highest and things like Helles go by the wayside. It turns into a crapshoot.  Did my beer get evaluated by someone who hates (xyz)? No, we can't have that.  So, we created the style guidelines.

Even when we do Best of Show panels, the thought is always "Is this a better example of XYZ than that is an example of ABC?".  It grounds the competitions back into a reasonable set of rules that everyone can generally agree upon, and puts the entries on an even keel.

However, it's not perfect.  Unfortunately, there are well made beers that sometimes get lost along the way.  For example, there are a few breweries now making German Pilsners using Cascade and other American hops (German pils grain bill, American hops, German yeast, etc).  These beers are often wonderful, but if you look at the criteria for what makes a classic German Pilsner, grapefruity hop character is out of bounds.  This beer will do poorly against a style compliant German Pilsner. 

So, a beer that is entered in a classic style category is expected to match the characteristics of that style.  An entry that is outside of those characteristics (such as too bitter) can taste and smell great in its own right, but will typically not get above moderate scores (low 30's or so).  A good judge will still compliment a well made beer while still giving it a low score.

If you know that your beer is a true "tweener" (ie, between styles), then you can always enter it as a specialty beer and see how it does there.  Perhaps you could enter as a Session-strength English Brown IPA in the Specialty IPA category?
 
Note that those categories can get big because a lot of guys go out of their way brewing all kinds of crazy concoctions on purpose, so be aware of that, too.  Some beers are simply meant to be enjoyed.

All that said, enter it anyways!  Set your expectations accordingly, if you know going in that its not completely inside the style guidelines.  But do your best to match it up with whatever style it fits best, like Denny said.  You will at least get an honest unbiased evaluation, nowadays almost always by someone with a trained palate.  They may point out things for you to improve, or they may confirm that it's a great beer!

Either way, that beats hearing your neighbor say "Damn that's good", because he just wants free beer but doesn't really know much about beer.

HTH-
Steve

2
Homebrew Con 2018 / Re: "Style Hunter" Provisional Styles
« on: July 15, 2018, 02:52:21 AM »
It's kind of funny, there are more than just a handful of craft breweries up here now making Mexi-Lagers, so I'm not surprised to see it as one of the provisional styles.
I like clean well made lagers, and the good ones I've had are quite enjoyable on a hot day.

3
Homebrew Con 2018 / Re: Spilling the beans: 2019
« on: July 15, 2018, 02:39:37 AM »
You can get to Providence from most of the bigger hubs.
I grew up in RI, so it will be a nice way to get back home and see family.

4
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP Judges?
« on: July 05, 2018, 01:35:36 AM »
You can look at the BJCP proctor lists.  They are publicly available in the Database Reports section of the BJCP web site:

Beer Tasting exam proctors:
https://www.bjcp.org/apps/reports/proctors.php

Beer Written exam proctors:
https://www.bjcp.org/apps/reports/graders.php

Mead exam proctors:
https://www.bjcp.org/apps/reports/meadproctors.php

(page with all the reports:)
https://www.bjcp.org/apps/reports/BJCP_Reports.php

HTH-
Steve

5
Ingredients / Re: what category of beer does this fall into
« on: April 01, 2018, 08:21:34 PM »
I'm leaning toward English Porter.

I don't think 1/2 lb of oats is going to provide enough of a silky mouthfeel to make it hold up in a flight against other Oatmeal Stouts with more oats in them.  The black malt leans more coffee like, when I'd be looking for some roasty notes that roasted barley adds, not BP malt.

I also think its a bit too big for an Irish Stout, and a lb of crystal 80 is going to make it too sweet/caramelly for that style.

English Porter -- it has the black malt, chocolate and crystal that should fit that profile well.  The oats will add some smoothness but not too much. Hops are right. To me, this is the place I'd imagine a beer brewed using that recipe would fit.

my .02

6
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: can mount pump vertical?
« on: March 31, 2018, 04:00:24 PM »
I think the bottom picture shown above is set up perfectly. 

By orienting the pump so that the output comes out the top, you have set up a natural gravity fed "priming" of the pump. Air bubbles will naturally float out the top, and they will not stay trapped in the pump head. You will never have a problem with cavitation or it not getting primed. On disconnect, any liquid will flow back down and out the bottom, ensuring that there is nothing left stagnant inside the pump head, prolonging the life of the pump. (assuming you CLEAN it thoroughly and let it air dry).

7
1) The yeast work on their schedule, not yours.  Don't rush them.  Give them the time they need.
2) Sanitation is King
3) Temp control is Queen
4) Basic water chemistry is the Jack - You don't need a pHD in chemistry, but A) get the chlorine out before brewing and B) make sure you have a reasonable water profile. If your water is crappy, you'll brew crappy beer.  If its loaded with stuff, dilute it with distilled/RO and go from there. If its lacking minerals, add them. 
5) The yeast/fermentation (see 1, 2, & 3) are responsible for far more of the final flavor profile than a newbie can possibly imagine. Try splitting a batch of wort with 2 different yeast strains to get the full effect.  Even related strains cause differences that make them taste like 2 completely different beers.


8
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Trub Shmub
« on: March 31, 2018, 03:31:45 PM »
I'm in the "go ahead and let it in, but not the whole pile" camp.  The yeast need some food.

9
The aromatic Munich requires mashing as well.
Munich usually has enough DP to mash itself but nothing else.
You'd need to add about a 1/2 lb of pilsner or wheat malt to be carefree you will convert the oats.


HTH-

10
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too much SO4?
« on: February 20, 2018, 03:39:32 AM »
Hope to see you at 1st round, and if you can, 2nd, too.

S

11
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Why I'm not a big fan of IPA any longer
« on: February 20, 2018, 03:38:37 AM »
I'll pile on and agree that I'm pretty tired of IPA too.  I rarely order IPA any more. 
If I do, it's in the sampler.  Otherwise, I go for the roasty beers, lagers, sours,
and non-over-the-top-hopped ales. There's more to life than lupulin.
I don't brew very often any more, and when I do, its generally not an IPA. Ciders,
Pale Ales, lighter stuff is the norm for me now.

12
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too much SO4?
« on: February 20, 2018, 03:28:45 AM »
That's pretty much how I perceive it too.  It hits mid swallow, kinda dry/papery/salty/metallic all at the same time.


13
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Why I'm not a big fan of IPA any longer
« on: February 19, 2018, 05:12:10 PM »
You're trying to convince the cask ale diehard to filter? Heresy!  :P
My bad! Cask ale has its own exemption from filtration.  But look how hard the brewers at the turn of the 20th c. worked to develop rapidly clearing yeasts and better finings.  And I can tell you, no matter how much beer is left in cask, as soon as the slightest turbidity appears, good British pub patrons will raise the alarm, and a publican worth his salt will change casks.  Crystal clear bitter is its own special joy.  EDIT  To your point Phil, at the turn of the century, British consumers would not accept running beers unless they were as brilliant as the aged stock beers they were replacing! So yeah, uneducated consumers are part of the problem

I'll say it - Cask ale is overrated, too.  Most are grassy and astringent as hell.  The increasing oxidation and increasing flatness does nothing for me.  Pass.


14
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hops selection
« on: February 19, 2018, 04:22:46 PM »
Cascade and Centennial pair nicely.

+1.  VERY nicely.

15
Homebrew Competitions / Re: 1st Competition
« on: February 19, 2018, 04:09:07 PM »
Mike's advice is dead on.

Fruit beers (or spice/herb/veg, or any other non-standard ingredient beers like wood aged, etc, as this applies to ALL non-base styles) should start with a really good base beer. The base beer should be good enough to medal on its own. Adding the specialty stuff should enhance the overall beer, but you should still be able to taste the underlying beer. I've had (as has Mike and Jim as well, as both are BJCP judges) many such specialty beers where either the special ingredient gets lost or it overwhelms everything else.

It should be notable but not overwhelming, the whole should be greater than the parts, the parts should not clash in any way, but rather harmonize.  After looking for the requisite properly fermented beer that meets the style, balance is the key that the judges will be looking for to separate the good ones from the great ones.

Hope this helps & GOOD LUCK!  Comps are a fun way to help you gain feedback and experience.  It helps make your beers get better and better-



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