Author Topic: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style  (Read 8059 times)

Offline jeffy

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2014, 11:36:57 PM »
I just hope we don't lose another valuable contributor over this.

I think that judges try harder to like the smaller beers, even though they would prefer to drink the stronger, hoppier or more sour ones.  The fact that a 60/- won best of show is telling in that respect, in spite of it being a little big for style.
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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2014, 11:59:38 PM »
Sometimes I just read the crazy stuff you post and I'm just left scratching my head at how one could fly so far off the deep end....

I was merely clearing up an non-truth while defining what the word "demand" means in this context.  A demand is in fact different than a request.  A demand is a peremptory assertion of a legal right.  If my attorney had sent a demand letter to the BJCP, the BJCP would have to prove that deleting my information would cause the organization undue harm or comply with the demand, as I never granted the BJCP non-time constrained rights to my personal information.

With that said, I politely asked Gordon to remove my name from the BJCP roster.  I later inquired as to how I could get my information removed from the database when I discovered that all he did was to change my record status to resigned.   Gordon's response was that the BJCP did not remove records under normal circumstances, and the discussion was abandoned at that point.  Had I felt the need to demand to have my data removed, the next letter that BJCP received would have been from my attorney, after which, I am positive that my data would have been deleted.  The BJCP is not going risk litigation over such a trivial matter. 

« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 12:08:18 AM by S. cerevisiae »

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2014, 12:05:13 AM »
what do you propose as a fix?

Let's start with ensuring that an entry is within the gravity range for a style.  This check can be automated. 

Offline case thrower

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2014, 01:13:46 AM »
I've got a question.  Are the BJCP guidelines hard and fast rules or are they suggestions, i.e., guidelines?  If they are hard and fast rules, they should be enforced.  If they are guidelines, there was no infraction and therefore, no penalty.  It ends up being like the difference between request and demand.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2014, 01:26:06 AM »
I've got a question.  Are the BJCP guidelines hard and fast rules or are they suggestions, i.e., guidelines?  If they are hard and fast rules, they should be enforced.  If they are guidelines, there was no infraction and therefore, no penalty.  It ends up being like the difference between request and demand.
Guidelines on how to brew a beer to style. Beers are judged to style. Sometimes a good beer can't be discerned to be out of style if slightly bigger or with slightly more bitterness.

If comes down to the brewer entering in a style he thinks the beer fits and will do well. Some beers push the limits in the NHC, but that happens in the WBC and GABF too. It is up to the judges to determine if a beer is too big, too bitter, too hoppy, and so on. No objective measurements are made in the judging process.
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Offline braufessor

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2014, 02:24:09 AM »
The idea that judges at homebrew competitions should carry out lab grade analysis of gravity..... and by default - IBU's, SRM, etc..... to assure that a beer is exactly to "style" is ridiculous.  The competition is about how a beer is perceived.  That is it.  If a home brewer makes a beer in a way that is perceived as within the style - that is what it is all about.  Otherwise, just invent a computerized robot, dump the beer in it, and it can spit out whoever's beer was precisely to all the numbers that we decide are "the perfect beer."

You are pretty quick to say that a word like "demand" is a strong word.... well, so are words like "cheating" and "integrity."  You essentially asserted that if someone enters a beer without the right "numbers" they are a "Cheater with no integrity."   That is simply something almost no one agrees with - except you.

The best beers won.  I am sure they were great, great beers.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2014, 02:42:43 AM »
The idea that judges at homebrew competitions should carry out lab grade analysis of gravity..... and by default - IBU's, SRM, etc..... to assure that a beer is exactly to "style" is ridiculous.  The competition is about how a beer is perceived.  That is it.  If a home brewer makes a beer in a way that is perceived as within the style - that is what it is all about.  Otherwise, just invent a computerized robot, dump the beer in it, and it can spit out whoever's beer was precisely to all the numbers that we decide are "the perfect beer."

You are pretty quick to say that a word like "demand" is a strong word.... well, so are words like "cheating" and "integrity."  You essentially asserted that if someone enters a beer without the right "numbers" they are a "Cheater with no integrity."   That is simply something almost no one agrees with - except you.

The best beers won.  I am sure they were great, great beers.

+10. Well said.
Jon H.

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #37 on: August 31, 2014, 05:26:00 AM »
The idea that judges at homebrew competitions should carry out lab grade analysis of gravity..... and by default - IBU's, SRM, etc..... to assure that a beer is exactly to "style" is ridiculous.  The competition is about how a beer is perceived.  That is it.  If a home brewer makes a beer in a way that is perceived as within the style - that is what it is all about.  Otherwise, just invent a computerized robot, dump the beer in it, and it can spit out whoever's beer was precisely to all the numbers that we decide are "the perfect beer."

Why have style guidelines at all?  Let's have one ale category with first place going to the best tasting beer.   Does anyone really want to see a competition where an 8A Ordinary Bitter has to complete with a 14C IIPA?  The guidelines exist so that like beers are judged with like beers and judges know what to expect. 

Quote
You are pretty quick to say that a word like "demand" is a strong word.... well, so are words like "cheating" and "integrity."  You essentially asserted that if someone enters a beer without the right "numbers" they are a "Cheater with no integrity."   That is simply something almost no one agrees with - except you.

Having integrity means that one plays by the rules, even it if puts one at a disadvantage.  Purposely entering a bigger beer in a smaller beer category is not playing by the rules.  It puts everyone else who played by the rules at a disadvantage.  It is no secret that beers at the top of the gravity range tend to do better than those at the bottom of the gravity range for a given style. 

With that said, I have never seen an authentic British Special Bitter or Extra Special Bitter recipe that contains 21% caramel malt.  The fact that this beer did so well reinforces Jeff's assertion that most Americans have never tasted a British beer that was not old and/or oxidized.

My introduction to craft ale was via beers made by two award winning British brewmasters; namely, Steve Parkes and Alan Pugsley.  While most people know Steve as the head honcho at the American Brewers Guild, his first brewing stint in the U.S. was as founding brewmaster at the British Brewing Company (BBC) in Maryland.  The BBC's first product was a cask-condition bitter known as Oxford Class.  It was a flavor explosion for a late twenty-something who drank mostly Molson Golden and National Premium when he drank beer at that point in time.  A year later, I had Wild Goose IPA, which pretty much put a fork in my desire to drink Molson Golden and National Premium.

When I started brewing in early 1993, I had zero interest in cloning SNPA, Liberty Ale, or any of the other West Coast ales that were available on the East Coast. The beers that I wanted to clone were Oxford Class, Wild Goose IPA, and Red Feather Pale Ale, which was another Pugsley beer.  To this day, English-style bitter/pale ale/IPA is my focus as an amateur brewer, which is why I shook my head when I read the recipe. 

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2014, 10:54:14 AM »
I have no dog in this fight, but the brewer who submitted the entry would certainly have known the numbers in advance of the submission (even if not at the point of brewing the beer - due to greater attenuation or higher efficiency or some other similar boost in points arising from the manner of brewing).  So, isn't the point that if you know your beer does not fit the style guidelines precisely for a category, but fits another category, you should not proceed to enter it in the incorrect category?  That doesn't seem to be imposing a great hardship on the brewer when he knows it to be the case....there is always the specialty classification, after all.

An example I have on my tap is a Scottish 60 schilling (intended to be 60), but the ABV exceeds 3.2% ABV.  I would feel uncomfortable passing it off as a true 60 Schilling, when it fits the 70 Schilling designation.  Would that matter much to a judge?  Probably not a whole lot, but as the entrant, I feel a little obligated to meet that aspect of the guidelines.

But in the end, I hope the judges don't have to try to sort out those technical deviations from style guidelines, except when the judging criterion clearly cause the beer to be out of style.  I don't think I could ever reach the point where I could tell an OG to be a few points higher than the style guidelines, could anyone of us?
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Offline yso191

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #39 on: August 31, 2014, 12:53:48 PM »
I just hope we don't lose another valuable contributor over this.

Our greatest strength is always our greatest weakness. 

The OP is right.  5 gravity points over, is by definition, out of style. Guidelines matter. It is exactly the same personality characteristic that initiates a thread like this one and previous threads in which I learn a great deal about yeast.  Details matter.  Detail oriented people care precisely about details.  The downside is what others may view is pickiness (or worse).

So I say we let the OP be who he his.  Even when it pushes buttons.  We need & value all kinds of persons.  We each bring something to the forum that is enriching.

Steve
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2014, 01:39:49 PM »
I just hope we don't lose another valuable contributor over this.

Our greatest strength is always our greatest weakness. 

The OP is right.  5 gravity points over, is by definition, out of style. Guidelines matter. It is exactly the same personality characteristic that initiates a thread like this one and previous threads in which I learn a great deal about yeast.  Details matter.  Detail oriented people care precisely about details.  The downside is what others may view is pickiness (or worse).

So I say we let the OP be who he his.  Even when it pushes buttons.  We need & value all kinds of persons.  We each bring something to the forum that is enriching.

Steve, I agree with this.

In competitions one can brew to style and try and hit all of the numbers, or throw something in and see what happens. I am more of a brew to style and hit the numbers guy, at least for my lagers.

The last time I was in London, many Bitters were showcasing hops like Citra and other US hops, Galaxy (AU) and other new hops. They were darned tasty. One would not do well in a competition, I am sure. The guidelines say American hops can be used IIRC, but at the level these were used in the finish I think they would get dinged. I need to look at the proposed new guidelines and see if any changes have been made for that.

One thing that Jamil Z had said in one of his style shows on BN was that his British styles did better when they were old, as that was the flavor the judges were usually looking for, as that was what they knew.


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Offline dkfick

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #41 on: August 31, 2014, 01:48:15 PM »
I have judged many beers that I felt were too big for the style they were entered in and dinged them for it.  It's a risk to enter a beer that is bigger than the style allows. 
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Offline braufessor

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #42 on: August 31, 2014, 02:12:53 PM »

Why have style guidelines at all?  Let's have one ale category with first place going to the best tasting beer.   Does anyone really want to see a competition where an 8A Ordinary Bitter has to complete with a 14C IIPA?  The guidelines exist so that like beers are judged with like beers and judges know what to expect. 



....Having integrity means that one plays by the rules, even it if puts one at a disadvantage.  Purposely entering a bigger beer in a smaller beer category is not playing by the rules.  It puts everyone else who played by the rules at a disadvantage.  It is no secret that beers at the top of the gravity range tend to do better than those at the bottom of the gravity range for a given style. 


...To this day, English-style bitter/pale ale/IPA is my focus as an amateur brewer, which is why I shook my head when I read the recipe.

I agree with a number of things you said.  I can't say that I have the experience others might have in consuming English/Scottish beers at the source.  However, like you, they are some of my favorite styles, and one's I have sought to replicate - as best I can.  Ordinary Bitters, Scottish 70, Dark Mild are styles I brew (and enter in competitions) as much or more than any other style I pursue.  I have NEVER had a commercial dark mild.  I have never had a commercial Scottish 70.  The closest thing I have probably had to an Ordinary Bitter is a can of Boddington's Pub Ale..... But, I attempt to interpret what I read as best I can.  So, they are styles I am quite fond of as well.  For a lot of us, experiencing the "true" thing is not an option.... or is not an option at this point.  We just do the best we can, with what we have available.

In my opinion, homebrewers often need to attempt to tweak their ingredients and processes in a way that replicates the perception of the beers they are trying to emulate.  Most homebrewers are not able to employ all of the techniques and processes that a commercial brewery can.  So, most homebrewers use more hops (for instance) in an attempt to replicate the "proprietary" hopping strategies of commercial brewers. Or, they add corn sugar to dry a beer out a bit to account for the better yeast/fermentation techniques a brewery may have.  Or, they may use melanoiden to replicate a certain maltiness in german lagers...... They may start with a higher gravity to shoot for the perceived maltiness that a guideline suggests.... The goal is not to produce a beer with a bunch of numbers in isolation.  The goal (for most) is to produce a beer that tastes great and seems to give the impression of the style they are shooting for.

There are other reasons why a brewer may enter a beer "out of style" too.  I had a Dark Mild and Scottish 70 at NHC finals.  I rebrewed both after regional.  I had purchased a new MM2.  The dark mild was the first beer I made using that mill. I got 90% efficiency ..... not something I expected.  My mild ended up at 1.045.  I guess I could have just not entered it at all.  It scored fine, but I did get dinged for it being too roasty/too big.  I figured I would, because i could taste it myself.  My Scottish 70 was pretty much "to style" and did much better, making it to mini BOS.  Entering something that tastes "out of style" is certainly a risk a brewer is taking - in my experience, especially in bigger competitions with experienced judges.

I guess the area where we completely part ways is on the "integrity/cheating/rules/guidelines" aspect.

There is NO rule that says you cannot enter a beer in a certain category.  It is 100% within the "rules" to ENTER a beer in any category you want - even if it is outside the "guidelines."  It is absolutely "legal" to enter a pilsner as a stout.

The guidelines are for judging.  Once entered, the beer will be judged against the style guidelines.  If it is perceived to have missed those guidelines, it will be docked.  If it not perceived to be out of those guidelines, it will not be docked.  Simple as that.  It is not "cheating" to enter a beer in a category where you feel it will be perceived best.


Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #43 on: August 31, 2014, 02:23:33 PM »
Does this help? Cut/paste from 2008 instructions
Notes to Judges:
4. "Seek to understand the intent of the style categories and to judge each beer in its entirety. Don't overly focus on single elements. Look to the overall balance and character of the beer for your final opinion."

So, beers aren't judged on paper. Plus, I believe they use some pretty talented and experienced judges to decide which beer gets the gold. Here's another thought... zymugy has never had a typo, right? Probably this one is accurate, but how funny would it be if that 5 points was a typo?

Kudos to Steve on his post. Point taken. If my defensiveness of BJCP and NHC offended anyone, my apologies.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Category 8 NHC Winner was out of style
« Reply #44 on: August 31, 2014, 02:54:42 PM »



....Having integrity means that one plays by the rules, even it if puts one at a disadvantage.  Purposely entering a bigger beer in a smaller beer category is not playing by the rules. 

  It is not "cheating" to enter a beer in a category where you feel it will be perceived best.
[/quote]

What comes to mind is something that was done by a couple of repeat Ninkasi winners. I know because ive heard them say it in interviews. Blending.

So if being 5 pts to high in OG is a problem, imagine back when there were no limits, entering 60+ beers and many of those were blended to present the best contender. What would the recipe for that look like? Clearly, its all about what is in the judges glass.