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Messages - santoch

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Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: What to brew next?
« on: November 29, 2015, 10:30:55 PM »
That recipe of Tom's is what he has on tap as a staple at PostDoc.

I can vouch for it  - (Tom is a good friend, he's in my homebrew club, and Postdoc is less than a mile from where I work).  It's a delicious beer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Thin brew
« on: November 26, 2015, 11:40:39 PM »
I agree with what was said above.  Brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses.  Molasses will ferment out to a rum-like flavor, but there's not very much molasses in brown sugar, so you probably won't be able to pick it out anyways. The sugar itself will pretty much ferment out to ethanol.
In other words, by addling the brown sugar you just added about 12oz of everclear and maybe a shot glass of 151 to your batch (assuming 2kg brown sugar in a 5gal batch).

Like they said above, if you are looking for more complexity/depth and also body/mouthfeel, add some dark crystal (like Crystal 90-120) and more base malts.  If you are using extract, just use more DME and maybe add a bit of amber extract and maybe steep in a touch of chocolate malt (just a few oz).  A cup of maltodextrin powder can aid the body, too, without sweetening up the beer.

So are we going to start the Michael/Antoch/Burkemper review service or what? I'll gladly pay people to give me 50 point beer! :P Hahaha

How many of them thar 50's do you want?  ;-)

Section 4 – Members.
  Members may not charge fees to perform judging duties,
although they may accept payments, in-kind donations, and/or expense
reimbursements if those are reasonable
and customary for specific events they
are attending.

I guess it can be argued that requiring payment for judging a competition is against the bylaws, but accepting reasonable payment for evaluation/troubleshooting services (because the recipe/process is attached) is ok.
It's a fine line on what exactly would constitute breaking these bylaws.  "Judging duties" to me sounds like judging in a competition setting, not evaluating a single beer or beers (with the recipes and their process info) for somebody to help them make it better <shrugs> [edit - free tickets to the State Fair are customarily given out to the judges, and also the schwag that they get. These things fall into this camp of customary and reasonable for SPECIFIC EVENTS, IMO.  The difference is what about for activities OUTSIDE of events?  Can you NOT hire a consultant?  Seems an overreach to conclude that to me]

All that said, I know for a fact that publications pay a small stipend for beer reviews, Zymurgy and Beer Connoisseur included.  But these payments are rather small and certainly fall into the "reasonable" camp.

FWIW, I'm in no way affiliated with this.  I still stand by my long-standing offer to evaluate anyone's homebrew for free!  Just PM me, and realize that it's pretty expensive to ship to Seattle from the rest of the country.

(Though I do admit in light of these events, MikeW's offer is quite tempting ;-) )

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Passed the BJCP Written exam
« on: November 23, 2015, 08:54:28 PM »
One other thing I forgot to mention-

Some aromas are fleeting.  They show up early then dissipate.  It is a good practice to revisit those sort of things AFTER you complete the flavor section to comment on whether they have changed. 

For instance (in a Pils:)

Light match-like sulphur notes up front.
<blah>the rest of the aroma commentary goes here. </blah>
Sulphur dissipated as beer sat.

Similarly, off-aromas that do not show up in the flavor should be noted:

Diacetyl noted in aroma was not present in the flavor.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Which style?
« on: November 22, 2015, 07:55:40 PM »
Mixed sounds right to me.  You need to be careful when comparing to the American Pale/American Amber family.  Those often tend to be more crystal malt oriented as opposed to Munich oriented.  (Not always, but often enough to warrant the stereotype).  It sounds to me that you'll be better off limiting the descriptions to only the parts of the styles you kept as opposed to specifying the whole.  Concentrate on the American hop character coupled with the Marzen grain bill and yeast bill.  It will more accurately describe what you entered and keep the expectations to what you made.  In other words, see where your beer landed, then place the bullseye there.
Maybe "1.060 Marzen with American hops and lager yeast" might be a concise description for it.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Passed the BJCP Written exam
« on: November 22, 2015, 07:04:51 PM »
Congrats on passing the online exam.  Well done!

Most of the styles are fair game for the exam. Beers with variable ingredients, such as Specialty, Spice, Herb, Veg, or Fruit beers are not allowed.  Neither are the new "historical" styles, braggots, stuff like that.

Scoring Accuracy is only 1/5th of the grade.  It is measured by taking your score, subtracting the proctor's consensus, and taking the absolute value of that (ie, turn it positive if its negative).  Add them up, and you get the total deviation.  Worst you can get on that is 9 out of 20, so even if you totally bomb your scoring accuracy, you will still get 45% on that section.

The remainder of your grade is around the other areas:

Descriptive Ability

I highly recommend anyone who will be taking the exam to read and understand all of the documents in the "grader's resources" section of the Exam Center page of the BJCP web site:

In particular:

And last but certainly not least:

That is what the graders are looking for and what you need to write.  It also will help you to understand what's happening to your exam after you turn in your papers.

My comments:

1) Don't freak out.  Judge what's in front of you.  By the time you take the exam, you should have filled out many, many scoresheets.  If not, get practicing so you have filled out many before you take the exam.

2) Don't concentrate on only the primary flavors and aromas (like hops in IPA, Esters/Phenolics in Belgians, or Malt in Stouts) ignoring the others.
You should comment on every subheader item for each section on the score sheet:
for example, in the Aroma section it says: Aroma(comment on malt, hops, esters, and other aromatics)
You need to actually say something about malt, something abotu hops, something about esters, AND something about other aromatics.  "no discernable X" counts and is encouraged as appropriate.  Diacetyl, DMS, sulphur are common flaws in lagers, so look for and comment on them, even to note their absense.
Alcohol for big beers such as Barleywines, Strong Belgians, IIPA, RIS, Wee Heavy, etc.  Think of the "signatures" of the style and ensure that those things are addressed.
Remember that hops contribute hop flavor, and hop bitterness.  Comment on each of them separately. 

2) Always use 3 part descriptors:  a) descriptive comment on Intensity, b) vivid adjective, c) the characteristic.  "Hoppy" doesn't cut it.  "Firm, resiny hop bitterness" is much better.

3) Don't make any assumptions about processes or ingredients.  "Don't use peated malt" assumes they did.
"use a higher mash temp" assumes an all grain batch.  Better feedback is to state the problem and then offer possible solutions:  "Increase body and mouth feel.  Possible solutions may include but aren't limited to: using a higher mash temp,  adding malto dextrin powder, or adding a bit of wheat malt."

4) Don't inject your personal preferences. "I would like to see....." is not objective feedback.  "better examples exhibit xxxx" is a better way to word it and it places the emphasis back onto the style guidelines where it belongs.

5) Don't suddenly discover a flaw in the overall impression section.  It should have already been covered in the other sections.

6) Even high scoring beers should be given some form of comment on how to improve the beer.

7) The score sheet should be self supportive.  The total score should reflect the lower left box which has the scoring ranges in it.  The parts should agree with the whole.

8) Lots of white space means that you are leaving things out.  See #2

9) Remember that people are paying money to enter their beers and expect respectful, constructive criticism and feedback.  Derogatory or inflammatory feedback, or overly short or terse statements are not what the entrants are looking for.  Respect their wishes and treat their score sheet as if you were writing it for yourself or you family member.

10) Don't forget to add the score up properly and be sure to check the check boxes on the side and the bottom as appropriate.



General Homebrew Discussion / Re: June BJCP Exam Results
« on: November 21, 2015, 06:20:29 PM »
Don't count yourself short.  In my experience, scoring accuracy always improves with practice/experience.

The Pub / Re: My grocery store is like the UN...
« on: November 21, 2015, 01:11:12 AM »
Back in my twenties I worked with a guy who was a Russian immigrant.  Great guy-  we got along great.
Vlad was a short guy, dark hair, kinda round, with a sort of a low raspy voice and a very, very thick Russian accent.

One day, we were in the kitchen, and one of the other guys in the office said,
"Hey, Vlad - say "Moose and Squirrel".

We couldn't stop laughing-  It was like Boris Badinoff was in the room talking to us.
We had to explain why we were all laughing to him but he thought it was hysterical, too.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Off-Flavors: How do I get rid of them?
« on: November 21, 2015, 12:42:09 AM »
+1 - Temp control is king.  You make wort.  Yeast make beer.
Your job is to provide them with the proper materials, environment, and cell count to properly perform the job.

Also, see if you can find an experienced palate to help you identify exactly what is wrong. might help you find an experienced beer judge near you who can help. The BJCP is a volunteer organization and the vast majority of the people on that list would be happy to help.  Just contact a few of them and I'm sure you'll get a positive response.

Also, if there's a homebrew club near you, they can help troubleshoot these problems in person.  Tasting the beers and discussing the processes in person is a lot more effective than doing it in text messages over the internet.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: June BJCP Exam Results
« on: November 20, 2015, 08:59:39 PM »

All you need is an active judge to administer.  The graders list is auto-approved, but the ED's will approve a non-grader in situations like yours.  They just have to get permission ahead of time.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: June BJCP Exam Results
« on: November 19, 2015, 07:51:42 PM »
Congrats to all of you guys!

Written exams are MUCH easier to schedule now that we have the "Quarterly Written" exams.
Once each quarter, the BJCP has a single date/time set up for a single written exam that can span across multiple cities in multiple time zones.  Any BJCP exam grader can request to administer a site and join one of these with only a couple of months notice, even for a single examinee.  There is no maximum.  The only rules are:

1) Examinees must pre-qualify to take the exam =  80+ tasting score AND have 10+ judging experience points.

2) You must commit and have registered (paid your admin) at least 30 days ahead of the exam date. No exceptions.  So, for a November 21 exam, you must have paid your admin and (s)he must have paid for your slot with the exam directors before Oct 21.

3) If you bail, you lose your exam fee.

4) The date and time is non-negotiable.  The same exam will be given at every site simultaneously so that the various sites can be pooled and graded together.  Holding them at the same time eliminates the possibility of questions getting out, etc and maximizes the use of the grading teams.

5)  Here is the list of pre-approved written administrators (graders):

Full details can be found here:

The schedule is here:

So, all you need to do is look at the schedule, find a quarterly written date, (next one is March 12, 2016) that is suitable for you.  If there's a site near you, you can call the admin and join in, If not, just get one of the graders on the list who is near you to volunteer to administer the exam, pay the admin the $25 fee at least 30 days before the exam, and you have your seat.

I'm happy to administer a quarterly written exam here in Western WA any time they are held, just let me know at least 8 weeks ahead of the exam.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2116 AHA Conf
« on: November 18, 2015, 11:02:42 PM »
When is this Steve?

It was NHC Seattle, back in June of 2012

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2116 AHA Conf
« on: November 18, 2015, 07:46:59 PM »
We knew which hotel would hold the conference more than 2 years ahead of the Seattle event.  That was part of the vetting process.  The AHA comes in and they do walk-throughs of the proposed space with the local committee as a prerequisite to even accepting the bid to host the event.  Part of the vetting process includes capacity, transportation, location with respect to supporting breweries, etc, local law considerations, etc.
The process is very involved and it really does take a couple of years to prepare.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Upcoming Rube Goldberg Brewday
« on: November 15, 2015, 05:37:00 PM »
You can always just decoct 1 step.

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