I got my final round score cards today! First off, I am very thrilled and amazed that my beer made the final round. It was a tart cherry stout that was my second all grain recipe that was brewed last July. This was also my first competition. One judge scored it with a 37 (which was my first round overall score). The other judge scored it with a 40. I am completely happy with the scores, but what I'm concerned about is a common comment by them both. For flaws they both checked "gusher" and commented that it was over carbonated. One actually told me to check my other bottles. This is bizarre, because the other 45 bottles that have been opened from that batch are minimally carbonated. I drank the last 22oz tonight and it was perfectly fine. So, could any residual sugars from the cherries or whatever got stirred up in shipping? I didn't have any negative comments about the carbonation at the regional level. I'm just curious if anybody else had any experiences like this so that I can correct it next year. I shipped the three bottles in a fitting box. All of the bottles were wrapped in bubble wrap and then individually put into ziplock bags. Newspaper was then put around them. I do think they laid on their sides... But so did regional beers. Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks for entering the National Homebrew Competition. Congratulations on your great scores!
In my experience (with mead, but I think it happens with beer too), carbonation is different in 12 oz bottles than it will be in bomber bottles from the same batch. In my mead I found the 12 oz bottle to have a higher carbonation level with much finer bubbles than the carbonation in the 22 oz bottles. If the carbonation level is good in the bomber bottles, it probably was way more effervescent in the 12 oz bottles. You might want to split your batch and then add the bottling sugar in different amounts for the bombers and the 12 oz bottles.