Author Topic: Noob judge observations  (Read 3212 times)

Offline dixonmike20

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #60 on: April 11, 2014, 07:54:01 AM »

In recent years, I've started to view guideline differently. I used to brew to style and chase medals. Not anymore. Some of the best commercial beers are technically out of style in some way. Now, I value a score sheet if the judge detects a flaw (DMS, diacetyl, etc...). That can tell me to reevaluate my process. Otherwise, I make it my goal to brew a great tasting beer, regardless of style guidelines. I know I can brew classic styles. Now, I just tweek a classic style to my taste, BJCP be damned :). Of course that will hurt me sometimes in judging, but I'm ok with that. 


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I'm not sure I would bother entering a beer into a competition using the BJCP guidelines if it didn't meet those guidelines.  Seems like wasted effort to me.  Competitions that use the guidelines are exactly for those that are brewing to the style guidelines.  I just mean to say I'm not sure what value you would get out of it.  I assume if you brew often and have entered many competitions you have an understanding of off flavors.

I can see your point. But, let me clarify my position. I wouldn't enter a beer into a category which is way off of style. But, if it's a relatively minor difference , I'll enter the category. I have my tastes, but I also like to get other opinions. Not a waste to me. And, I never know when I'll get lucky. If it's way off style, I'll enter it into specialty.  Look at FW Pivo Pils. Great beer, but not technically either German or Czech pils (in between)  . Yet, it won gold in the German pils category.


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Offline yso191

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2014, 07:58:42 AM »
This is an interesting angle on the topic.

I can see two methods of judging a beer: the way the BJCP does it, and the way the consumer does it.  A given beer is entered into the style category it most closely resembles.  Then it is judged either by how accurately it hits the bullseye of style guidelines, or on its appeal qualities. 

For example of what I mean by appeal, from the World Beer Awards:

"Entrants will be tasted blind and marked to an agreed and strictly enforced marking system. As well as aroma, flavour, appearance/condition, mouthfeel and finish the judges will look for beer with balance, character, complexity and quality."

I see nothing wrong with either way of judging.  But I am curious why the Homebrew community doesn't have the latter, as it is the most common, intuitive method; and probably what most people think happens when a beer is 'judged.'

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Offline dixonmike20

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #62 on: April 11, 2014, 07:58:57 AM »

In recent years, I've started to view guideline differently. I used to brew to style and chase medals. Not anymore. Some of the best commercial beers are technically out of style in some way. Now, I value a score sheet if the judge detects a flaw (DMS, diacetyl, etc...). That can tell me to reevaluate my process. Otherwise, I make it my goal to brew a great tasting beer, regardless of style guidelines. I know I can brew classic styles. Now, I just tweek a classic style to my taste, BJCP be damned :). Of course that will hurt me sometimes in judging, but I'm ok with that. 


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I agree.  I recently was lucky enough to have a Grand Master II judge three of my beers.  He really enjoyed two of them. But the best comment he wrote on all three score sheets was " No technical faults"  :)

Very nice.

Don't get me wrong, I like to win. But, I value the feedback more and the beer tasting great to me and others is what I'm going for. I can have judges from different comps pick up different notes on the same batch. That helps, because my palate isn't perfect and they may find something I didn't.


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Offline dixonmike20

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2014, 08:21:07 AM »

This is an interesting angle on the topic.

I can see two methods of judging a beer: the way the BJCP does it, and the way the consumer does it.  A given beer is entered into the style category it most closely resembles.  Then it is judged either by how accurately it hits the bullseye of style guidelines, or on its appeal qualities. 

For example of what I mean by appeal, from the World Beer Awards:

"Entrants will be tasted blind and marked to an agreed and strictly enforced marking system. As well as aroma, flavour, appearance/condition, mouthfeel and finish the judges will look for beer with balance, character, complexity and quality."

I see nothing wrong with either way of judging.  But I am curious why the Homebrew community doesn't have the latter, as it is the most common, intuitive method; and probably what most people think happens when a beer is 'judged.'

A  People's choice award is sometimes held. We have the formal BJCP comp and then a general tasting and voting for favorite beer served. I think that kind of serves both purposes.


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Offline dkfick

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2014, 08:47:13 AM »
This is an interesting angle on the topic.

I can see two methods of judging a beer: the way the BJCP does it, and the way the consumer does it.  A given beer is entered into the style category it most closely resembles.  Then it is judged either by how accurately it hits the bullseye of style guidelines, or on its appeal qualities. 

For example of what I mean by appeal, from the World Beer Awards:

"Entrants will be tasted blind and marked to an agreed and strictly enforced marking system. As well as aroma, flavour, appearance/condition, mouthfeel and finish the judges will look for beer with balance, character, complexity and quality."

I see nothing wrong with either way of judging.  But I am curious why the Homebrew community doesn't have the latter, as it is the most common, intuitive method; and probably what most people think happens when a beer is 'judged.'
The main reason the 'how much people like it' method isn't used in most competitions is because it makes the process even more subjective than it already is.  Now instead of all the judges trying to evaluate a beer to a set guideline you have each judge judging the beer to their own personal preferences.  This is why the BJCP has guidelines and why commercial competitions have their guidelines.  Otherwise it would be all over the place.  I agree you can have a most excellent beer that doesn't meet any guidelines.  That would be a good beer for sales or even just for personal enjoyment... but maybe not the best beer for a competition is all.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2014, 08:50:56 AM »

In recent years, I've started to view guideline differently. I used to brew to style and chase medals. Not anymore. Some of the best commercial beers are technically out of style in some way. Now, I value a score sheet if the judge detects a flaw (DMS, diacetyl, etc...). That can tell me to reevaluate my process. Otherwise, I make it my goal to brew a great tasting beer, regardless of style guidelines. I know I can brew classic styles. Now, I just tweek a classic style to my taste, BJCP be damned :). Of course that will hurt me sometimes in judging, but I'm ok with that. 


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I'm not sure I would bother entering a beer into a competition using the BJCP guidelines if it didn't meet those guidelines.  Seems like wasted effort to me.  Competitions that use the guidelines are exactly for those that are brewing to the style guidelines.  I just mean to say I'm not sure what value you would get out of it.  I assume if you brew often and have entered many competitions you have an understanding of off flavors.

I can see your point. But, let me clarify my position. I wouldn't enter a beer into a category which is way off of style. But, if it's a relatively minor difference , I'll enter the category. I have my tastes, but I also like to get other opinions. Not a waste to me. And, I never know when I'll get lucky. If it's way off style, I'll enter it into specialty.  Look at FW Pivo Pils. Great beer, but not technically either German or Czech pils (in between)  . Yet, it won gold in the German pils category.


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Yeah I suppose if it's not that far off you're fine in that some judges might not be able to detect what is out of the guidelines etc... Like if it's slightly too bitter... It's a decently subjective thing so some might feel it's too bitter... or some might feel it's on the line and give the benefit of the doubt. I guess the main difference in our philosophies is I don't tend to enter a competition for the feedback.  I can judge my own beers.. I'm entering to see how much better I can brew a beer to specific style guidelines in comparison to others.  I think being able to hit the targets is the best practice a brewer can get. 
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Offline dixonmike20

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2014, 08:58:37 AM »
I agree. Brewing to style is important early in a brewer's experience. Being able to hit key points helps dial in their process and learn what the styles are supposed to be. I think that experience is important. But, then I got tired of that and wanted to tweek to my tastes and see how they faired in comps. I like to experiment and see what others think. Now, because of the expense, I would stick to style in the national comp.


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Online klickitat jim

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #67 on: April 11, 2014, 11:14:51 AM »
I wonder how GABF is judged given that so many commercial beers are kind of out of style

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #68 on: April 11, 2014, 11:35:08 AM »
I wonder how GABF is judged given that so many commercial beers are kind of out of style

They don't use BJCP guidelines.  They have their own.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #69 on: April 11, 2014, 11:38:56 AM »
I wonder how GABF is judged given that so many commercial beers are kind of out of style
These are the guidelines most commercial comps use... Notice there are a ton more styles... Every brewery wants a medal.... lol
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/business-tools/publications/beer-style-guidelines
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Offline phunhog

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #70 on: April 11, 2014, 12:23:37 PM »
For the judges out there...do you think the size or round of the comp influences your judging?  In other words do you judge a beer more critically in the second round of the NHC vs. a local club comp? 

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #71 on: April 11, 2014, 01:01:46 PM »
For the judges out there...do you think the size or round of the comp influences your judging?  In other words do you judge a beer more critically in the second round of the NHC vs. a local club comp?
I don't think so. Beers can range from great to terrible in any competition - though final round NHC tend to be better. However, in a larger comp like NHC the mini-BOS and BOS are likely to be judge by highly ranked judges who know exactly what each style should be - so they may be more critical of style issues (and more able to pick up faint flaws too) than less experienced judges.
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Offline denny

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #72 on: April 11, 2014, 01:03:45 PM »
For the judges out there...do you think the size or round of the comp influences your judging?  In other words do you judge a beer more critically in the second round of the NHC vs. a local club comp?

I don't.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #73 on: April 11, 2014, 01:48:17 PM »
For the judges out there...do you think the size or round of the comp influences your judging?  In other words do you judge a beer more critically in the second round of the NHC vs. a local club comp?
When I judge a beer I try not to compare it to any other beer in the flight.  In theory it would get scored the same anywhere by me... Now other things do influence your judging... Like IPA wrecking your pallet... if your beer is towards the end of the IPA flight and lower on the bitterness end of the scale... it might be perceived as not bitter enough etc...
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Noob judge observations
« Reply #74 on: April 12, 2014, 04:27:04 AM »
What I found confounding is that in one competition a beer I entered got dinged for diacetyl and DMS where there was none, then got a really good score (10 points higher) at the NHC 2 weeks later with notes that said no hints of those flaws.  Perhaps the first was mishandled in some way, but the NHC judges get my nod, of course.  Or maybe judges are that far apart in scoring? 
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