Author Topic: Brewing 'to the comp'  (Read 2044 times)

Offline morticaixavier

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Brewing 'to the comp'
« on: April 30, 2012, 12:07:15 AM »
Well, I got my scores from the world cup. not to disapointed. got a 35+ on the scottish 60/- in prelim, although only a 27 in second round. (sad face). The comment that stuck out was from the second
round where the 1 national rank judge suggested more malt and more hops.

I don't want to dig to hard on a hard working BJCP judge but I gotta say, if I had used more malt and more hops it would have been a 70/- or 80/-.

Still 32 on the rye IPA and a respectable 28 on the barley wine. It really wasn't ready for prime time anyway. still got 7 bottles so maybe I'll enter it again later in the year.

So this was my first comp and I feel alright about it. actually makes me want to enter more. I am going to try 'brewing to the comp' on a couple of beers, any general suggestions?

I'm thinking I will follow the AHA club only comp schedule and try to brew something for each comp. Next up, scottish and irish, if I can get it done in time! brewed on friday, split 8 gallons into 2 fermentors one 5.5 and the other 2.5 (no difference between the two, just worked out that way).

Recipe was
97% crisp pale ale
3% roasted barley
17 IBU goldings at 60

After that porter so here's what I have so far.
Robust Porter 30 liters
13 lbs pale malt (US this time as I don't see the point in spending the extra money and fuel to get British, open to argument)
3 lbs Munich 10L, (love this stuff for malty delicious maltiness)
1 lbs chocolate malt
1 lbs crystal 60
haven't pinned down hops, yeast at all yet. I am open to using a lager yeast or a super cold tolerant ale yeast. and wide open on hops. folks with more comp experience can perhaps enlighten me as to what judges tend to look for in this style. The BJCP guidelines are pretty open with both british and american hops acceptable. I am aiming for the higher end of the OG scale and the IBU scale , given that it seems
like that's what the judges want.

I don't mean to sound cynical, I am really not! but if your goal is to win comps, you gotta think about this stuff. I will still brew things just because I want to drink them but if I am gonna enter, I want to win!
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 09:46:26 AM »
I don't want to dig to hard on a hard working BJCP judge but I gotta say, if I had used more malt and more hops it would have been a 70/- or 80/-.


hahaha...if it's any consolation I commonly enter my 80/- as a 70/- and still get told it needs more malt.  Same thing with the 8B I enter as an 8A.  Usually I give up and keep making them the way I like it, and occasionally I try to give them what they ask for.  Always got asked for "more" (literally had a scoresheet that said "good beer, but needs MORE" as feedback) with my robust porter.  Got exasperated and entered a 1.072/1.022 American Stout without the dry hops as a 12B - gold medal.   ;D

cheers--
--Michael

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 10:10:45 AM »
I've definitely noticed judges seem to like "bigger" beers. If you think about it, it makes sense. They are tasting a flight of beers and the little session guy gets pounded because it seems flavorless compared to the big brew.

One issue I have with judging is judging beers like Scottish 60/- 70/- 80/- up against wee heavys.  In my own experience my Scottish 70/- scored a 40 at a competition, received no bad remarks, even said detail was paid attention to all aspects of the beer and great care seems like it was taken in each step.  It was followed by: "this beer just needs more malt and hops" I thought great! I should've atleast gotten a 3rd place on the beer.  Found out the winners of the category were all Wee Heavys. I think judging this way doesnt lend itself well to the smaller beers in the same category out there.

From my experience making beers on the big end of the style, or even making them bigger than style as mentioned before, making the 80/- and entering as a 70/-, within reason may be the way to go.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 10:39:57 AM »
I just want to add, I got some good feedback from this comp and it highlighted some issues I might be having generally with my process. I can see how it is useful for that purpose as well.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 10:41:48 AM »
I just want to add, I got some good feedback from this comp and it highlighted some issues I might be having generally with my process. I can see how it is useful for that purpose as well.

That is its best use imo!
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 10:59:24 AM »
I just want to add, I got some good feedback from this comp and it highlighted some issues I might be having generally with my process. I can see how it is useful for that purpose as well.

That is its best use imo!

Well, yes and no. It is very useful to get the feedback, just as it's really fun to compete at, say billiards, even if you don't win, but it's more fun to win.  ;D
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline rjharper

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 11:38:29 AM »
I've definitely noticed judges seem to like "bigger" beers. If you think about it, it makes sense. They are tasting a flight of beers and the little session guy gets pounded because it seems flavorless compared to the big brew.

One issue I have with judging is judging beers like Scottish 60/- 70/- 80/- up against wee heavys.  In my own experience my Scottish 70/- scored a 40 at a competition, received no bad remarks, even said detail was paid attention to all aspects of the beer and great care seems like it was taken in each step.  It was followed by: "this beer just needs more malt and hops" I thought great! I should've atleast gotten a 3rd place on the beer.  Found out the winners of the category were all Wee Heavys. I think judging this way doesnt lend itself well to the smaller beers in the same category out there.

From my experience making beers on the big end of the style, or even making them bigger than style as mentioned before, making the 80/- and entering as a 70/-, within reason may be the way to go.

I've had this same discussion with my brew club, I had an Irish Red take a 40, similar feed back and nothing.  All three medals got to the Strong Scotch.  In my opinion, Strong Scotch Ales (9E) should be better placed in category 19, (Strong Ales) along side Old Ales and Barleywines, and Category 9 should focus on comparable session ales from Scotland and Ireland.  There's more than one category for English, Belgian, American beers etc, I dont see why Scottish all need to be lumped together.  Sure the recipes are similar, other than scale, but the final product tastes entirely different.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 12:56:47 PM »
Perhaps if a judge was given a sample of the actual commercial calibration beers blind and would fail the test if they didn't give it a 50 it would help. I would think that the listed commercial examples should always score a 50 right?
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline hokerer

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 01:05:20 PM »
I would think that the listed commercial examples should always score a 50 right?

That's a joke, right?

Ever read the commercial calibration bit in Zymurgy every month?  Never a 50
Joe

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 01:12:14 PM »
I would think that the listed commercial examples should always score a 50 right?

That's a joke, right?

Ever read the commercial calibration bit in Zymurgy every month?  Never a 50

It was sort of a joke, I do read that column but those aren't always the listed commercial examples are they? still, joking aside, if the score is based on how well the beer represents the published guidlines, and those guidlines are based on the published commercial examples the those examples should score perfect. and, in fact, any deviation from that perfect score is a measure of how much subjective 'like/don't like' based bias is present for each judge.

I also entered an all ivanhoe hop rye IPA and got decent scores (low 30's) and both judges were very up front about the fact that while the beer was technically very good, no off flavours or other faults, they did not score it as highly as they might have because they didn't care for the particular character of that hop. This is fine, it was cat 23 so I suspect subjective measures make a huge difference there. but in a more specific category, cat 9 for instance, it seems like there should be a lot less room for that and blind tasting the commercial examples would provide some measure of that bias.
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 02:19:55 PM »
I had several Duvels and because of defects I was scoring generously in the low 20s

IMHO beers listed as BJCP Classic Styles should score in the 40s on a consistent basis.  There are always bottles, sometimes in a 6-pack with a 40 point plus beer that will score considerably lower.

Fred Bonjour
Co-Chair Mashing in Michigan 2014 AHA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan
AHA Governing Committee; AHA Conference, Club Support & Web Subcommittees



Everything under 1.100 is a 'session' beer ;)

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 02:41:38 PM »
I had several Duvels and because of defects I was scoring generously in the low 20s

IMHO beers listed as BJCP Classic Styles should score in the 40s on a consistent basis.  There are always bottles, sometimes in a 6-pack with a 40 point plus beer that will score considerably lower.

Of course there is always that. even the best brewery probably sends out a bad bottle on occasion. and obviously the judges have no control over the handling that bottle has recieved before it arrived on the table and a Judge can't really be faulted for not giving something a 50 based simply on the idea that a 50 is 'impossible' but I think the principal holds that if it's on the list of commercial examples it should score extremenly high and it would be worth while figuring out a way to rank judges based on their response to a classic example.
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Offline bo

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 03:14:13 PM »
I think a few unmarked "classic style" test beers should be placed in every comp, just to see how well the judges are doing. The results of those beers should be given to every participant as a basis for how their beers were judged. If a judge consistently gives those classic styles low scores, then he/she should be moved to a different style or asked not to judge for a while.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 03:15:21 PM »
I've definitely noticed judges seem to like "bigger" beers. If you think about it, it makes sense. They are tasting a flight of beers and the little session guy gets pounded because it seems flavorless compared to the big brew.

One issue I have with judging is judging beers like Scottish 60/- 70/- 80/- up against wee heavys.  In my own experience my Scottish 70/- scored a 40 at a competition, received no bad remarks, even said detail was paid attention to all aspects of the beer and great care seems like it was taken in each step.  It was followed by: "this beer just needs more malt and hops" I thought great! I should've atleast gotten a 3rd place on the beer.  Found out the winners of the category were all Wee Heavys. I think judging this way doesnt lend itself well to the smaller beers in the same category out there.

From my experience making beers on the big end of the style, or even making them bigger than style as mentioned before, making the 80/- and entering as a 70/-, within reason may be the way to go.

I've had this same discussion with my brew club, I had an Irish Red take a 40, similar feed back and nothing.  All three medals got to the Strong Scotch.  In my opinion, Strong Scotch Ales (9E) should be better placed in category 19, (Strong Ales) along side Old Ales and Barleywines, and Category 9 should focus on comparable session ales from Scotland and Ireland.  There's mo re than one category for English, Belgian, American beers etc, I dont see why Scottish all need to be lumped together.  Sure the recipes are similar, other than scale, but the final product tastes entirely different.

This used to be the case with the old style guiedlines, but for some reason they changed it in the 2008 version.  I prefer Strong Scotch in with the other Strong Ales.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline rjharper

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Re: Brewing 'to the comp'
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 03:40:50 PM »

I've had this same discussion with my brew club, I had an Irish Red take a 40, similar feed back and nothing.  All three medals got to the Strong Scotch.  In my opinion, Strong Scotch Ales (9E) should be better placed in category 19, (Strong Ales) along side Old Ales and Barleywines, and Category 9 should focus on comparable session ales from Scotland and Ireland.  There's mo re than one category for English, Belgian, American beers etc, I dont see why Scottish all need to be lumped together.  Sure the recipes are similar, other than scale, but the final product tastes entirely different.

This used to be the case with the old style guiedlines, but for some reason they changed it in the 2008 version.  I prefer Strong Scotch in with the other Strong Ales.

I honestly did not know that, and so now I want to know why they changed it.

I feel that little bit wiser now... :)