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Messages - dsmitch19

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Equipment and Software / Re: Bru-Gear
« on: October 01, 2015, 03:37:14 PM »
I know the owner and he is a genuine, honest guy from my experience. He's based out of Tempe, AZ and frequently came to our homebrew club meetings and events before his business took off and his free time went down to nil. He also sponsored our Spring competition with a kettle as a prize.

I definitely agree on the growing pains, but I did buy a kettle from the kick starer and love it. I do know that the commercial side of his business has exploded much more than his homebrew side as far as demands on his time. I'm not trying to justify the negative experience you had, but just trying to confirm that this is not a "shady" operation. Overall, the quality of product is high, IMO, and the owner is continually working to fine tune everything. Any gripes I have are very small (like the original thermowell for the kettle thermometer being longer than needed IMO).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Quick turn around on BJCP Tasting Exam
« on: August 14, 2015, 03:26:23 PM »
Congrats! And thanks for posting some positive news about a quick grading turn around. It's nice for people to see that these 2-3 month time frames do happen, as do the occasional long waits. We just tend to hear about the longer waits more often than the shorter ones.

Events / Re: NHC Thursday night?
« on: June 08, 2015, 11:43:13 AM »
The Baltimore rumor might have started because some judges who registered to judge in the final round without final round entries are seeing the draft of the "final round letter" that will eventually go out to entrants. Here's a clip from the letter I see when I log in:

[obligatory "I wasn't able to see this letter" humblebrag]   ;)

see ya soon Dennis!

Yeah yeah yeah... Maybe I'll get to try some of your really low scoring ciders...  ;D

Events / Re: NHC Thursday night?
« on: June 08, 2015, 11:06:36 AM »
The Baltimore rumor might have started because some judges who registered to judge in the final round without final round entries are seeing the draft of the "final round letter" that will eventually go out to entrants. Here's a clip from the letter I see when I log in:


I love craft beer, and want to start home brewing. I am looking to meet some people in the East Valley of Phoenix (Mesa area would be ideal), that can show me the proper techniques of home brewing. I am eager and willing to learn.

Drop me a line if you are in the area, and looking for a brew partner.


Yep, ASH is pretty active and based in the east valley. We have several events each month. Our website hasn't been the most updated recently, but we do a pretty good job with updates and events on Facebook. If you post about wanting to watch someone brew, you'll probably find someone pretty easily. Cheers!

ASH Web:


East valley Homerbrewers (FB-only club):

But, if the judge's experience in that style is limited or nonexistent, I just don't see how they could decide who the winner is. They may be able to weed out faulty entries, maybe even forward the two or three most drinkable entries. But I for one would not feel comfortable at all if I had to assign gold silver bronze to a style I had never tasted before.

I've never tasted mead before. I think I could detect foul off flavors. I think I could tell you which one of a group tasted best to me. But there's no way I could give advice or win-place-show them. I am certain that no respectable mead maker would want my feedback or to find out that I would be deciding if his mead was a winner or a loser. If all judges would excuse themselves from styles they don't really know, there would be... world peace.

It would be ideal if every judge had lots of experience with the styles they are judging, but it's often not practical. IMO, this is exactly what the style guidelines are for, especially some of the historical styles. I've never had a Sahti, but now I can look up the guideline and have something to judge the beer against rather than Googling or guessing (same for beers like Black IPA). This comes down to using your senses against what the style guidelines say. Too many judges don't trust their senses and often look for a clone of their favorite examples of each style (or just what they are familiar with). Or, when they judge with the guidelines in front of them, suddenly they are sensing and writing the words they are seeing on the page that may not actually be in the beer.

Too much detail, too many "styles", and some false info. The German lager section for Munich helles in the ingredients says "German Saazer-type hops". What?  Hallertauer, Hersbrucker, Spalter... Not Zatec hops... That one stood out and bothered me. But then again, why should I rely on BJCP? I don't ever care to judge beers or enter competitions.

Here's the text about the ingredient section from the introduction. It isn't meant to be a full accounting of every possible ingredient.

"Characteristic Ingredients. We don’t attempt to provide enough details to create a recipe for
every style, but we do try to describe the typical ingredients (and sometimes processes) that help
drive the character that distinguishes the style from others. Not every beer is going to be made
the same way or using the same ingredients; we are simply describing what is typical, not what is

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Double Milk Stout
« on: April 30, 2015, 10:42:30 AM »
OG was 1.095 and it came in at 10.5%. Up front it's similar to breakfast stout by founders but finishes sweet and creamy.

Seems like it could just go under Imperial Stout. If you handed it a craft beer drinker and told them it was a RIS, would they agree?

Also, KBS has added coffee and chocolate. Did you add any special ingredients like that? That would also impact what category you enter in.

The fortunate part is that long delays like this are outliers, just as there are some exams that are turned around in 2-3 months. You just usually don't see people posting online about how quickly their exam came back (I administered an exam set in Jan. that took only 3 months to get the grades back). No matter what people are talking about, you tend to see more complaints online than positives. It obviously sucks to be part of an outlier on the slow end of things, so hang in there OP.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC 2015 First Round Results
« on: April 22, 2015, 01:24:38 PM »
Got my Rum oaked Barleywine through. Meads were not handled in the best way in Chicago, IMO. Lots of folks without mead experience judging meads. For Traditionals, it's particularly troublesome because they aren't easy to judge. Can't wait to see my scoresheets and get upset again...

Congrats on the Rum BW! Sounds delicious. It could be could still be waiting on San Diego results like me. :'(

I'd like to see some changes to how meads and ciders are handled at NHC, either having them as a separate competition from beer or limiting mead/cider judging to 3-4 regions to condense the entries. It really isn't fair with some regions not even having 3 meads/ciders in a category and then some having 10+.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC 2015 First Round Results
« on: April 20, 2015, 10:50:31 AM »
It would be nice to know what "verification" goes into this. I know that they want to get it right, but it shouldn't take a week to verify the winners for 650 entries. Most competitions are able to announce the same day. The only things I can think of that need actual verification are that the beers scored over 30 and were appropriately entered. There are enough stopgaps in place to prevent someone from gaming the system. Clarification on the verification process would really make the wait easier, it's been week now and for the entrance fee, it'd be nice if they'd prioritize this a bit more.

Maybe send a note to Janis to shed some light on the whys and hows of verifying? It would be interesting to know the process. From what I've heard, it involved each region sending in scans of their flight summary sheets and the AHA verifying that scores and places were entered correctly in the system before publishing results.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC 2015 First Round Results
« on: April 15, 2015, 11:22:01 PM »
How long is the verifying process?  We judged Chicago last Saturday and I thought it was all being entered that day....obviously there is something else that has to occur?

The results from each region are sent to the AHA, where everything is verified to make sure no scoring or other errors were made.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC 2015 First Round Results
« on: April 08, 2015, 02:39:03 PM »
It is always fun to advance to the second round. Fingers crossed!

It's fun advancing until you have to sit there, at the banquet or listening to the BN, every year, waiting for your name to be called only for someone else to be called for first place.  :-\

This is the fourth year in a row I've advanced something (and two last year). The last 3 years, the beers have gone to mini-BOS at Nationals. No purple banded medals in my house though.  :'(  Dang. So close every time.

Last year was my first entering NHC and I had two advance to finals. I didn't win, but when I got my scoresheets back, the cover sheet for my kolsch said "honorable mention." Not that HM is an official thing for NHC, but that's a 4th place in my book. ;) At least for last year, I feel your pain!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP Tasting Exam....I Passed!
« on: April 07, 2015, 03:25:50 PM »
Always good to hear positive feedback! I'm a recently appointed Associate Exam Director and graded about 110 individual exams last year. It's a lot of work but it's rewarding. We do take it very seriously and try not to cheat anybody out of points. It's been fun seeing all the new judges over the past few years at competitions and advancing through the ranks! I judge around 17-18 competitions/year and it's been great seeing the number of National and higher judges increase by over 100%. It seems that nearly every table has a National or higher judge these days.

I think that depends on where you are judging since the BJCP tends to have very strong representation in certain areas and much weaker representation in others. In AZ, we only have 1 master and 6 national. Of those seven higher ranking judges, we might get 3-4 of them to show up on a good day. Two of them are pretty much retired from judging. Now when I've traveled to San Diego or even Denver to judge, it's a much different story.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Newbie Judge Luck
« on: March 17, 2015, 12:23:43 PM »
My first time judging was with a national judge, and I was pretty intimidated then as someone whose first experience with the style guidelines or a score sheet was the day before I showed up. It was a great experience, and obviously helped perk my interested in judging. Hopefully, you'll be in the opposite shoes one day as an experienced judge mentoring a newbie. :)

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