Author Topic: Bias in BJCP judging?  (Read 4373 times)

Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #90 on: March 09, 2014, 07:42:50 AM »
How about where the style guidelines are historically inaccurate?  Classic American Pilsner is the only beer that I attempt to brew to style.  I probably have more experience with the style than most amateur brewers, especially brewing it with heirloom, period correct yeast strains.  If brewed correctly, CAP resembles Bohemian Pilsener more than it does German Pils.  The immigrant brewers in the Mid-Atlantic states that created this style were attempting to replicate Bohemian Pilsener (which is reflected in names such as National Bohemian).  The surviving period-correct yeast strains are weakly attenuating, Saaz-type diploids that are anything but neutral and leave residual diacetyl because they are so flocculent (e.g.,  Christian Schmidt, August Schell, Leopold Schmidt).  Brewing this style of beer with a Frohberg triploid lager strain should be considered to be a fault; however, the style guideline is written such that a clean fermenting Frohberg-type yeast strain should be used. Updating the CAP style guideline to make it more historically accurate is one of the reasons why I am attempting to join the club.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 07:45:30 AM by S. cerevisiae »
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #91 on: March 09, 2014, 07:50:18 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.

Agreed.  If there had been oxidation issues, for example, I would certainly understand, since it was bottled off the keg.  I think I must have done something in the bottling process to change the perception in some way...and maybe the judges were particularly low scorers - I have no way of knowing the scores received by the rest of the style grouping. 

For now I am fine with the results and look forward to seeing if the NHC first round judges concur.
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Online alestateyall

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Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #92 on: March 09, 2014, 08:02:12 AM »
How about where the style guidelines are historically inaccurate?  Classic American Pilsner is the only beer that I attempt to brew to style.  I probably have more experience with the style than most amateur brewers, especially brewing it with heirloom, period correct yeast strains.  If brewed correctly, CAP resembles Bohemian Pilsener more than it does German Pils.  The immigrant brewers in the Mid-Atlantic states that created this style were attempting to replicate Bohemian Pilsener (which is reflected in names such as National Bohemian).  The surviving period-correct yeast strains are weakly attenuating, Saaz-type diploids that are anything but neutral and leave residual diacetyl because they are so flocculent (e.g.,  Christian Schmidt, August Schell, Leopold Schmidt).  Brewing this style of beer with a Frohberg triploid lager strain should be considered to be a fault; however, the style guideline is written such that a clean fermenting Frohberg-type yeast strain should be used. Updating the CAP style guideline to make it more historically accurate is one of the reasons why I am attempting to join the club.
I think the style guideline authors have a difficult challenge balancing between modern interpretations of a style and historical versions. At some point I imagine it becomes necessary to split a sub category if the modern and historical drift to far from one another.

In the case of your CAP if it doesn't do well in the CAP sub category due to your adhering to a historical interpretation of the style then you might try 23A.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 04:56:03 PM by alestateyall »
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #93 on: March 09, 2014, 09:03:20 AM »
I judged all day yesterday for our club's competition (the Bluebonnet) and judged an ESB that had huge concord grape flavors. Made me think of this thread.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #94 on: March 09, 2014, 09:05:46 AM »
How about where the style guidelines are historically inaccurate?  Classic American Pilsner is the only beer that I attempt to brew to style.  I probably have more experience with the style than most amateur brewers, especially brewing it with heirloom, period correct yeast strains.  If brewed correctly, CAP resembles Bohemian Pilsener more than it does German Pils.  The immigrant brewers in the Mid-Atlantic states that created this style were attempting to replicate Bohemian Pilsener (which is reflected in names such as National Bohemian).  The surviving period-correct yeast strains are weakly attenuating, Saaz-type diploids that are anything but neutral and leave residual diacetyl because they are so flocculent (e.g.,  Christian Schmidt, August Schell, Leopold Schmidt).  Brewing this style of beer with a Frohberg triploid lager strain should be considered to be a fault; however, the style guideline is written such that a clean fermenting Frohberg-type yeast strain should be used. Updating the CAP style guideline to make it more historically accurate is one of the reasons why I am attempting to join the club.

Learned the new items for the day, re the yeast and the chromosome numbers. Back a while, I knew there were differences in lager yeasts, and then it was termed Carlsberg or Tuborg types.

I would think that some of the Midwestern breweries would have strains brought from Germany, as many of those were established at or around the big immigration wave in the 1870s. Any thoughts on German strains used?

Jeff Renner mentions August Schell and Christian Schmidt in his article. Jeff is extremely sensitive to Diacetyl, and does not like it. Maybe that influenced the guidelines.
 /attachments/0000/1298/SOzym00-Pilsner.pdf
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #95 on: March 09, 2014, 09:07:13 AM »
I'm guessing your focus is only yeast and the beer is much, much more than that. You will never convince me that Bo Pils and German Pils have any of the corny and grainy nature of a well crafted CAP.

The BJCP style guidelines for homebrewing a CAP are set at no diacetyl in aroma and flavor and you should brew a beer to style to excel in homebrewing competitions.

Jeff Renner did much of the research on the CAP style as did George Fix. IIRC his goal back in 1995 was to create the beers he remembered from the 1950's, not necessarily what was seen at the turn of the century. Unfortunately Wahl & Henius don't really describe the flavors of the beers, they spent more time on the composition. It would certainly be interesting to see where you find historical references for a Pre-prohibition CAP which details diacetyl in the flavor, but I'm doubtful the guidelines will change to include diacetyl with a style which mostly exists in the homebrew world and has been brewed clean for almost 20 years.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 10:25:46 AM by MDixon »
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Offline denny

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #96 on: March 09, 2014, 09:11:08 AM »
IMO, it doesn't really matter of the BJCP guidelines are historically accurate or not.  They are the standards that homebrew beers get judged to and if you want to do well in a comp you brew to those standards...historically accurate or not.  If you want to brew a beer that you think is more historically accurate, then don't enter it in a comp unless it fits the guidelines.
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Offline leejoreilly

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #97 on: March 09, 2014, 09:41:25 AM »
I think it's important to keep in mind that judging is a subjective process performed by mere humans. Even the best of us occasionally will allow their personal preferences to intrude on their better judgement. Or we'll just be flat wrong. That's part of being human. Doesn't mean that we can't pursue perfection, just that we can't expect it.

Additionally, if your personality is such that you have difficulty with constructive criticism, you might be better off not participating in any sort of judged events. Better to just serve your beer to your appreciative friends than risk an easily bruised ego. (Says the guys who doesn't participate in judged events...)

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #98 on: March 09, 2014, 10:25:25 AM »
IMO, it doesn't really matter of the BJCP guidelines are historically accurate or not.  They are the standards that homebrew beers get judged to and if you want to do well in a comp you brew to those standards...historically accurate or not.  If you want to brew a beer that you think is more historically accurate, then don't enter it in a comp unless it fits the guidelines.

+1.  Makes me think of English Mild ales - historically they were stronger at times, but the style guidelines today place the OG in pretty sessionable territory. If you enter a beer regardless of style it's gonna get judged to accepted guidelines. Probably better to serve the 'historically accurate' one to friends.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #99 on: March 09, 2014, 10:36:28 AM »
"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."

At the end of the day, remember that this is really all that matters. While it's nice to receive validation of what you're doing in a competition, it still comes down to a random opinion on one particular bottle of your beer:)
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #100 on: March 09, 2014, 12:26:23 PM »
"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."

At the end of the day, remember that this is really all that matters. While it's nice to receive validation of what you're doing in a competition, it still comes down to a random opinion on one particular bottle of your beer:)

Truth - and I know the judges try their best.  I probably should have kept my thoughts to myself, as I really do appreciate how hard it would be for me to attempt any of the BJCP stuff - that taste test sounds as hard as the bar exam!
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #101 on: March 09, 2014, 12:39:29 PM »
Very constructive discussion!

The BJCP style guidelines offer an important coordination between most brewers and drinkers as to the major features of a particular style. Where the history and perceptions of the style are broad, the guidelines often have latitude in the characteristics. However, there is a deficiency that seems counterproductive to me.  We rely on the "Specialty" category (23) to give those beers that don't quite fit well into the major categories. That does segregate beers that are generally similar to the major category, but has a unique feature or character that sets it apart. I have mentioned this in the past and it has been discussed in some circles that each major category should have its own 'specialty' subcategory so that these beers that may stretch the bounds of the category can be better compared to similar beers.

A case in point are beers that seem to straddle subcategories. They tend to get marked down because they are perceived with a little too much of a neighboring subcategory's character, all the while, it is a really great beer...maybe even better than the more subcategory aligned beers. It would be great to update the guidelines to include a better mechanism for including these somewhat unique beers with their brethren.

Clearly, there will be beers that venture well outside the character of some categories and the need for Category 23 - Specialty is still needed. But let's put this idea to the test.

I do appreciate the strong opinions expressed here, but I am dismayed that we don't have names and reputations to accompany all of them. Please consider including a little more self identification if you intend to be taken seriously. Slackers like myself, denny, mdixon, etc  ;) that stand behind their words with a level of name recognition are much more likely to be civil. I understand a reluctance to use your full name to reduce the chance of being searched via the web, but you can make it possible to show who you are. I have found that great friendships and appreciation can come of it.   
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #102 on: March 09, 2014, 02:02:53 PM »
I'm guessing your focus is only yeast and the beer is much, much more than that. You will never convince me that Bo Pils and German Pils have any of the corny and grainy nature of a well crafted CAP.

Category 2C guideline is a modern interpretation of the style.  Not all CAPS employed a cereal mash (Trommers' was all malt).  At that point in time, the percentage of corn could be low enough to be undetectable.  However, the yeast metabolic by products were always present.  Yeast is the single most important ingredient in beer.  It has a greater impact on the final flavor of a beer than any other ingredient.

Quote
Jeff Renner did much of the research on the CAP style as did George Fix. IIRC his goal back in 1995 was to create the beers he remembered from the 1950's, not necessarily what was seen at the turn of the century. Unfortunately Wahl & Henius don't really describe the flavors of the beers, they spent more time on the composition. It would certainly be interesting to see where you find historical references for a Pre-prohibition CAP which details diacetyl in the flavor, but I'm doubtful the guidelines will change to include diacetyl with a style which mostly exists in the homebrew world and has been brewed clean for almost 20 years.

Maybe we need a Pre-Prohibition Pilsener category? Fifties lager is to pre-Prohibition lager what category 1A is to category 1B.  The IBU-level and body of American lager was significantly reduced during WWII in order to appeal to women.  Brewers never returned to the pre-WWII flavor profile.  If brewed with a period correct grist and a period correct yeast, Classic American Pilsener tastes more like Bohemian Pilsener than a bigger version of American Premium Lager, as that was clearly the flavor profile that brewers were attempting to recreate using domestic ingredients. If you brew a CAP with a period-correct strain, you will see what I am talking about.   

I have made CAPs with several commonly-used pre-Prohibition strains (none of which carries a Weihenstephan number).  I currently use a pre-Prohibition yeast strain that is not available via the home brew trade.  This strain could best be described as the Leopold Schmidt strain.  It was deposited in the culture collection from which I retrieved it over seventy years ago.  The brewery in which the strain was used predates prohibition (it was closed in the fifties).  This strain behaves nothing like a modern production lager yeast strain (most modern production strains are triploids and tetraploids).  It flocs so hard in the primary that the beer looks like it has been filtered.  The Leopold Schmidt strain often leaves above taste threshold diacetyl and esters in beers above 12P.   The Christian Schmidt and the August Schell strains also leave above taste threshold levels of these metabolic byproducts in beers above 12P.  The Christian Schmidt strain was the predominant yeast strain in use while American lager was being developed.  Diacetyl is the price that one must pay for using flocculent lager strains.


« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 02:06:11 PM by S. cerevisiae »
Mark V.

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https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=19850.msg252492#msg252492

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Offline MDixon

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #103 on: March 09, 2014, 02:46:04 PM »
Wahl & Henius just doesn't support the percentage of corn being low enough to be undetectable, of course it could be rice or sugars (25%) instead of corn in which case one would not perceive corn. Two thirds malt and one third "cereals" is the norm cited, but could range from 10 to 50%. Even 10% corn is generally detectable in a beer IME unless masked by some other characteristic.

Maybe you have other sources of grist information, it would be useful if they were cited. If you truly want to influence the style guidelines I would suggest you get on the BJCP Forum and provide/cite your sources. This would be the correct place to provide your information and resources regarding 2C. The guidelines are currently being revised, so I'd suggest you post immediately or plan to not see any change in at least another 4 to 8 years. Otherwise it's just anonymous posts without citations on this forum to ultimately be lost in time.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Bias in BJCP judging?
« Reply #104 on: March 09, 2014, 04:48:33 PM »


I do appreciate the strong opinions expressed here, but I am dismayed that we don't have names and reputations to accompany all of them. Please consider including a little more self identification if you intend to be taken seriously. Slackers like myself, denny, mdixon, etc  ;) that stand behind their words with a level of name recognition are much more likely to be civil. I understand a reluctance to use your full name to reduce the chance of being searched via the web, but you can make it possible to show who you are. I have found that great friendships and appreciation can come of it.

Well said!