Author Topic: Bias in BJCP judging?  (Read 4124 times)

Offline udubdawg

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #75 on: March 07, 2014, 06:16:37 AM »
More threads like this and I might just go for BJCP status.  I think my palte is not up to speed, but I am getting better.  I really have trouble with not wanting to make a mistake and not detecting the proper causes to an effect, but it sounds like you don't have to have a remedy, just because the beer has a detectable flaw? 

well, you do need to be able to provide feedback to address faults if you want a good score, and (forgetting the whole exam thing for the moment) if you want to be helpful to the brewer. 

for everyone, remember Feedback includes not just fixing "off" characters, but what style it might better fit into, and how it differs from the style it is entered into. 
"This style has a richer, heavily-balanced-to-malt profile than is present in your beer, or is covered by the high level of sharp, astringent hop characters and what appears to be a wild yeast infection." - that offers some explanation.  "DMS - uncover your boil" - doesn't really help anyone.


Online Jimmy K

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #76 on: March 07, 2014, 06:23:52 AM »
"faint cardboard flavor, slight oxidation" is good enough. I can figure out where it's coming from.
That's because you're on this forum  ;D
 
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #77 on: March 07, 2014, 06:24:36 AM »
In my opinion, the value of a good judge sheet is feedback from an outsider who knows at least a little bit about beer. I don't think teaching how to brew is necessary. Especially with the volume of great info available. For example, it should be a given how to avoid oxidation... so, "faint cardboard flavor, slight oxidation" is good enough. I can figure out where it's coming from.

Not all homebrewers are so educated on off-flavors and how to avoid/mitigate them.  Your example of oxidization is a great one.  Some homebrewers may not realize that this is even an off-flavor.  There is a whole lot of ugly baby syndrome out there when it comes to homebrewers.  Some homebrewers may not realize that could be the result of their process - such as not carefully bottling from the keg because they're not detecting it in what they're drinking at home (This happened to me once).  Oxidation in varying degrees of severity is probably the most common off-flavor in entries to competitions.

Ray Daniels calls the ugly baby syndrome as cellar blindness, as in that beer was excellent in my basement and I entered it. I have been guilty of that, and now get a second opinion from my wife, who has a better palete.

Agree on excellent beer being degraded in the bottling process. One of my issues was creating diacetyl in a Pilsner through rushed bottling. Diacetyl was in the control bottle I had when reading the score sheet. Had a sample from the keg, and it was clean.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #78 on: March 08, 2014, 08:37:22 PM »
Ok. Just had a BJCP judged Helles - it was Horst Dornbusch's Edel Hell - 3.9% ABV.  Got totally dinged by a judge for being too high in alcohol for the style.  Because of that it got a 25...

 Screw this BS!
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #79 on: March 08, 2014, 08:44:51 PM »
Hmm, isn't 3.9 too low for 1D? I wonder if they meant hot alcohol, solventy? Is a fault marked on the left hand column?

Offline ajk

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #80 on: March 08, 2014, 08:48:41 PM »
Even feedback that is wrong on the surface can still be useful.  Why did the judge think it was too high in alcohol?  What characteristics of the beer might lead to that conclusion?  Whatever those are (hot mouthfeel caused by water issues or sourness, solventy notes caused by warm fermentation, etc.) might need to be dialed back.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #81 on: March 08, 2014, 09:11:02 PM »
He says it would be helped by fermentation temps being watched, but I fermented with a fermentation thermistor and thermostat at 50 degrees F in a thermowell.  This just seems to be a judge looking for flaws....  I am willing to accept constructive criticism, but not erroneous criticism.  Sorry to sound sour grapes, but really.... At least get it close to being accurate.
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #82 on: March 08, 2014, 09:20:05 PM »
I sat down with a couple of commercial beers and BJCP score sheets last night.   I am cramming in an attempt to take advantage of a last minute cancellation for the tasting test.  My weak spot as a brewer is dark ales and lagers.  I do not brew, nor do I care to drink dark beers.  The bulk of my amateur brewing career could be best described as how many ways can a base malt be combined with maize, torrified wheat, cara-vienna, and/or carapils malt (90% of the beers that I brew are all base malt or 90-95% base and 5-10% maize or carapils).

Anyway, I picked up a six pack of Guinness draft and thought that I picked up a six pack of Spaten Optimator.  I did not want to pull a six pack from the front of the shelf because Spaten uses green bottles.  I pulled a six pack from the back of the shelf and paid without checking to see that it was Optimator.  I discovered that I pulled a six pack of Spaten Premium Lager upon arriving home.  That stuff was so light struck that it made judging the beer incredibly difficult.  It took more than 15 minutes for the stench to dissipate to the point where I could smell anything but skunk.  I had to remove if from the table to be able to judge the other beer that I pulled.


Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #83 on: March 08, 2014, 09:24:28 PM »
I probably should just give up on competition brewing.  The people that like my beer, like my beer and that is all the reinforcement I need.  Judges have to find fault with something, regardless and I don't need their opinion to validate my brewing.  I enjoy making flavorful beer and don't need validation from beer snobs who have to pick apart beers that are considered great by the people I brew for.  Not sour grapes, just pointing out inconsistencies in the judging process... It's hard to reconcile these things.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #84 on: March 08, 2014, 09:27:08 PM »
He says it would be helped by fermentation temps being watched, but I fermented with a fermentation thermistor and thermostat at 50 degrees F in a thermowell. 

What yeast strain did you use?  I agree that we are cellar blind to point, but there's no way that a 3.9% ABV beer should be marked down for being too alcoholic unless the fermentation suffered from poor yeast health.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #85 on: March 08, 2014, 09:35:19 PM »
I pitched a slurry of 34/70 - no way it was under pitched.  I really wish I had an excuse to say it was solventy.  The beer was spot on for what I intended ... Maybe I just suck as a brewer.
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Offline alestateyall

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #86 on: March 08, 2014, 09:54:32 PM »

Maybe I just suck as a brewer.
No. I doubt that. One bad scoresheet doesn't make you a bad brewer. Hang in there.
Tommy M.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #87 on: March 09, 2014, 04:56:35 AM »
Yea, I re-read the comments and can accept the constructive ones; the ones that are noted as being out of style when they are perfectly permissible under the BJCP guidelines are the ones that I will chalk up to a need to tweak the recipe a little.  The outright wrong ones I will ignore - the judges were probably not sitting with the style guidelines handy - that is why I would only judge those styles that I feel I have down cold (and those are none at this point!)

It is a thankless job, so here's to those willing to do it!
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #88 on: March 09, 2014, 06:38:17 AM »
He says it would be helped by fermentation temps being watched, but I fermented with a fermentation thermistor and thermostat at 50 degrees F in a thermowell.  This just seems to be a judge looking for flaws....  I am willing to accept constructive criticism, but not erroneous criticism.  Sorry to sound sour grapes, but really.... At least get it close to being accurate.

the judge doesn't have any idea what your process was.  If they say they detect excessive alcohol, perhaps they did.  Perhaps they did not, but some other flaw was identified on their palate as alcohol.  Dominant alcohol in a 1D should get dinged.  I assume they're talking about a harshness to the alcohol profile or a noticeable warming in the mouthfeel or a finish that disappears on the palate leaving an alcohol aftertaste.  I suppose it's possible some perfumy higher alcohols were noted though obviously it seems unlikely.  What other comments did they have? 

I make a great porter that more often that not is dead-on to Eddy Fitz.  Last comp entered it scored a 29/30, one of them by a National Judge.  Still got pushed to mini-BOS, where I'm told it finished 4th.  Obviously that pair weren't a fan of many porters that day.  It happens.  If three competition results reveal that the judges think my beer sucks, then yeah at that point I've got an ugly baby.

Did you send that batch to NHC yesterday?  If so let's see what they say first.  I always request to judge that category if I don't enter it myself. 

good luck--
--Michael

Offline MDixon

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #89 on: March 09, 2014, 07:35:25 AM »
The judge could have been wrong about the alcohol, but let's suppose for a second he was right. You fermented at a controlled temp, but did you have it to that temp before you pitched? It's possible the judge is sensitive to alcohols and you are not, it's also possible the bottle submitted to the competition was mishandled along the way.

I judged yesterday and the best in our flight was a Dubble which got a 45.5 average score. At the BOS table it tasted like soap...my guess, the bottle was not cleaned well and had soap residue. So at the judging table they got a 45.5 and should have been a contender for 1st place in the BOS. If I had gotten the BOS bottle in the flight it would have done well to score 30. There is and can be bottle variability so keep that in mind.
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