Author Topic: mead in a beer competition  (Read 1093 times)

Offline ScottBeh

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
mead in a beer competition
« on: January 25, 2015, 03:42:42 PM »
There seem to be a lot of beer judges on this board.  There is no cross-reference I could find on how many are also dual certified as mead judges. As a beer judge in a beer contest how do you look at mead entered in a beer contest?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 03:44:34 PM by kernelcrush »

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8870
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 04:58:16 PM »
Most beer competitions use the BJCP guidelines. There are categories for mead styles. Scroll down for the Mead and Cider categories
http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/catdex.php

The meads are entered in the category they best fit. Judges evaluate those entries in a tasting flight. Some have mead judging credentials, and some members of the forum have that certification. I do not.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline ScottBeh

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 05:23:56 PM »
I'm familiar with the categories, did the exam online, waiting for a tasting seat.  I think its gonna be a long wait.

I enter a lot of mead contests.  What I was after is, I wont say they may look down on it, but is it viewed as easier than beer by the beer judges.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8870
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2015, 05:59:45 PM »
I'm familiar with the categories, did the exam online, waiting for a tasting seat.  I think its gonna be a long wait.

I enter a lot of mead contests.  What I was after is, I wont say they may look down on it, but is it viewed as easier than beer by the beer judges.

Looked down on? I don't think so. Easier than beer? Well it might not be as much physical work on the day you make it, but there is much attention to it over the next several day when the fermentation is going on to add nutrients and de-gas. I also think having good quality honey, fruit and spices is more important to the final product. You are also judging to style, and choosing the best examples on the table. If not why have all those styles? Just IPAs and Barrel aged Stouts.  8)

I live 35-40 minutes from Schramm's Meadery, and having that level of mead available for purchase has damped my desire down to makin no more than 1 or 2 batches a year, just enough to see that if I can nail a batch.

The mead judges can give their $0.02.

Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline ScottBeh

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2015, 06:26:22 PM »
Listening to the BN the other day and they were inteviewing the guy from  Melovino Meadery
I forget who the interviewer was but he started off by insulting him with lines like I mentioned earlier.
I probably would've said interview over
Just wondering if there was a consensus or it was just him

Offline jeffy

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3399
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2015, 09:41:33 PM »
I'm a beer judge and have judged a lot of meads in competition, but have never taken the certification exam.  (I did, however, proctor a mead exam once, so there's that.)
As to your question, are you asking if judges think it is easier to make mead or easier to judge mead?  I'd say they're different.  Less time and work in the first stages of mead making, but there seems to be an art to getting the flavors melded well.  I have a lot of respect for mead makers who make more delicious mead than I can.
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 AmandaK

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1850
  • Redbird Brewhouse
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2015, 09:58:35 PM »
1) You listened to the BN for real information. Unless you can filter out the d*ck jokes and insults, then don't apply their opinions to the rest of us.
2) I am a beer judge who makes beer, cider, and wine. I have never made mead or judged mead. I think it is too difficult and time consuming to make on my own for my level of consumption.
Amanda Burkemper
KC Bier Meisters Education Director
BJCP Assistant Education Director
BJCP Master/Mead

Redbird Brewhouse - There's Always a Project
Our Homebrewed Wedding, AHA Article

Offline ScottBeh

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2015, 10:36:19 PM »
Ouch, I think my questions are misunderstood.  I insinuated nothing, just asked a question.  The interviewer on the BN asked the beer brewer/meadmaker if he switched over to entering just meads cause it was easier to win mead medals than it was to win beer medals or something along those lines.  I was trying to find out if it is a prevalent attitude among judges. 

Here is the link, maybe I just took it wrong,  time stamp 44:50-about 47:00

http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/1168

Offline ScottBeh

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2015, 10:43:28 PM »
Jeffy,  Howdy neighbor. 

The BN interview I took as if he was saying that its like cheating to enter a mead in a beer contest cause its easier to win.  I guess my real question is is it easier to win in the mead categories of a beer comp.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 10:55:19 PM »
I guess it could be easier due to the volume of entries, but you still need to make a solid mead. Organizers can choose to not give awards if they feel none of the entries are worthy.

Offline ScottBeh

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2015, 11:17:03 PM »
Thanks Steve. That's kind of what I was looking for.  Seems weird to be able to take points in a circuit for  mead when its called a beer contest.  What happens if someone wins a state-wide circuit based only on mead winnings?  Is that cheating?  I guess it depends on if you think mead is hard or easy.

Offline udubdawg

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1080
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2015, 11:23:28 PM »
In some respects it might be easier to win with a mead.  The human palate generally loves sweet.  As we know, some of the flavors in beer can be acquired tastes.  Since the majority of meads are also higher alcohol than the average homebrew, they have that advantage too.

But it will also be region-specific.  A mead entered in, say, St Paul, is going to be going against some seriously talented meadmakers.  Just any average mead in a beer competition up there isn't going to impress.

I took the BN comments as just somewhat good natured ribbing.  If you can make amazing mead I promise people don't think it is easy.  And I also promise that people will drink every drop if you let them.  ;)

(source:  am Master/Mead Judge)

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2015, 11:24:53 PM »
I think it is unlikely somebody could win solely on mead. Most of the circuits I have seen are a half dozen or so comps. That means that the mead maker would need to medal in all three mead categories for a solid chance. Some comps lump the categories together, so in that case the mead maker may only have one entry. Not enough chances IMO.

The guys that win those circuits tend to be the guys that enter into every category they can. Obviously solid brewers, just entering a bunch of entries. Some comps limit entries, but many don't from what I can tell.

But mead making is becoming very popular. I'd be interested in seeing the numbers compared to homebrewers and wine makers

Offline jeffy

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3399
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2015, 11:25:10 PM »
There's nothing wrong with gaming the system by entering a category that doesn't get as many entries and thereby increasing your chances.  We have very few cider makers in Florida so those categories have better odds, but we have a lot of mead makers, so the chances may be better in Dark Lagers than Meads.
Obviously there are many more entries in beer than in mead and cider.  Our statewide circuit applies the same number of points for each category winner, but mead and cider best of show only picks up one point as opposed to 3,2,1 for the three beer best of show winners.
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 Jimmy K

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3646
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: mead in a beer competition
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2015, 02:10:23 PM »
I don't think I've met anybody, judge or not, that thought meadmakers made mead because it was easier to win medals. I'm pretty sure they all though meadmakers really like mead. Even if you did want to win medals, there are easier, less popular beer styles one could shoot for.
 
And really I don't even understand where their question is going. Ability to win medals would be a poor reason to start a business. I'd understand more if they said "Did you get into pro meadmaking because the final product is more valuable (per oz) and more shelf stable than beer?" Those are solid business reasons to head that direction. Of course, the counterargument is that there is much lower market demand for mead. Counter-counter argument - less competition too.
 
The only thing I've heard is some people being uncomfortable with meads being at a Best of Show table with beer. This doesn't bother me anymore than light lager being on the BOS table with Russian imperial stout. The only thing that @#$% me off is some who suggests that contest rules be changed mid-contest (ie. - to award a separate mead BOS because you don't want to compare it to beer.) That's unfair to entrants.
 
Off topic, but...
I'm familiar with the categories, did the exam online, waiting for a tasting seat.  I think its gonna be a long wait.
Most exams have long waiting lists. But leading up to the exam there are so many dropouts that I've heard of exams going through a wait list of 20 to fill 12 seats. I've even heard of some struggling to get the minimum 6 in the days leading up to the exam.
 
So my suggestion is write to the admin of any exam you're willing to travel to. Tell them you've already passed the online exam (an obstacle that causes many to drop out). If its a really convenient location, tell them you can fill a last minute opening. Even consider offering to be the exam as an alternate if there is a no-show that day. If you're flexible you should have no problem finding a seat. Of course if exams aren't offered near you, that's another matter.
Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup - former president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP Certified: B0958