Author Topic: Judging Categories-Session Ales and Relevant Information (What Gives?)  (Read 1268 times)

Offline lasherdc

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I entered a Session IPA in a SoCal contest recently.  It was a tasty Session SMaSH IPA. 

Unfortunately, it did horribly in competition. I don't enter a lot of contests.  The only category for this entry was in the American-style IPA category (as per the guidelines found here: http://www.maltosefalcons.com/comps/styles/2013-falcons-style-guidelines).

I was surprised to learn that the judges were only given the information that it was an American-style IPA, and not a Session IPA. How is a competitor supposed to be judged--apples for apples--when the judges are not given information such as the ABV or any of the plethora of information required with the entry? I could have thrown the entry fee out the window and made better use of it...not to mention preparing the entry form and driving 20 miles in LA traffic to drop it off. 

Why aren't judges given more relevant entry information?  Why aren't Session Ales in their own category or sub-categorized within their style?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 08:40:55 PM by lasherdc »

Offline kramerog

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Re: Judging Categories-Session Ales
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2015, 08:43:31 PM »
Usually very little information is required to enter a homebrew competition, basically identifiers for the beer and homebrewer, and style.  The rest is not required. 

The thinking behind giving minimal information is that the judges senses and style definition should determine the score.  Because what you a person tastes is susceptible to suggestion, additional information is not passed along to the judges.

Entering a beer in the wrong category, which is what you did, is a waste of time as you found out.  The Maltose Falcons has a session IPA category which they call "West Coast Extra Pale Ale."  Perhaps your beer would have scored well in that category.

Offline duboman

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Yeah,

In reading the descriptions it looks like the 10.1 class would have served your beer a better selection for judging.

Unless you advance to BOS the judges get nothing more than the beer and entry number and assume it has been placed in the entered category properly by the stewards that serve the flight, that's just the way it works.

Also, even if you think you are brewing a certain style, if the final product turns out differently you are better off finding the most suitable category that fits your beer than just by style name. In other words, if your beer comes off as something different from what you intended, enter in the category that it fits, regardless.

For example, in one comp, several years ago I entered a holiday ale that performed poorly in the  style 23, based on the judges comments I entered it in another comp as an Old Ale, 19A and it took a silver medal:)
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Offline morticaixavier

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What were the judges notes?

If I run across a beer that is a good beer but in the wrong category I will try to make that clear to the entrant in the notes. It's the only way it can work though. If an entry doesn't exemplify the style well it can't be scored highly no matter how good the beer is. Otherwise a Double IPA entered as a milk stout might win and that would just be crazy.
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Offline toby

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A session IPA would be category 23 (Specialty) in the 2008 guidelines.  The closest other category it would fit in would be the hoppy side of the APA (10a) spectrum.

Offline duboman

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A session IPA would be category 23 (Specialty) in the 2008 guidelines.  The closest other category it would fit in would be the hoppy side of the APA (10a) spectrum.
The competition entered doesn't follow the actual BJCP style guide, its somewhat altered.
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Offline lasherdc

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To your question on judge's notes: "barely in style" and "falls short of a decidedly-hoppy, moderately strong beer".

Regarding other categories, I thought of the 10.1, but my entry was an IPA, not a pale ale.  Live and learn.

Thank you all for your remarks.

Offline morticaixavier

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To your question on judge's notes: "barely in style" and "falls short of a decidedly-hoppy, moderately strong beer".

Regarding other categories, I thought of the 10.1, but my entry was an IPA, not a pale ale.  Live and learn.

Thank you all for your remarks.
When it comes to competition it only matters what it tastes like. Those comments are good. It clearly says that it was a good beer but scored poorly because it was out of style. Live and learn.
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Offline brewinhard

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To your question on judge's notes: "barely in style" and "falls short of a decidedly-hoppy, moderately strong beer".

Regarding other categories, I thought of the 10.1, but my entry was an IPA, not a pale ale.  Live and learn.

Thank you all for your remarks.
When it comes to competition it only matters what it tastes like. Those comments are good. It clearly says that it was a good beer but scored poorly because it was out of style. Live and learn.

Or what it tastes most like...Even if it was originally brewed as a session IPA, could it still have passed for a bold version of an American Pale ale?

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Regarding other categories, I thought of the 10.1, but my entry was an IPA, not a pale ale.  Live and learn.

Not according to the style guidelines. According to their style guidelines it sounds like your beer would have been a better fit for 10.1 regardless of what you want to call it.

This is a good example of what will probably be the experience of many with beers labeled with "session" because it's a phrase with no particular meaning and a lot of differing opinions on what it should mean both with respect to IPA and all the other styles for which it is attached. I foresee a lot of disappointed entrants who find their session IPAs underperform in IPA categories where they could have been entered in a pale ale category with better results. Similar results await those entering session fill-in-the-blank in catch-all categories because there are no categories specific for session-labeled beers who are competing against a pile of 10% RIS with 50 ingredients.
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Offline toby

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Regarding other categories, I thought of the 10.1, but my entry was an IPA, not a pale ale.  Live and learn.

Not according to the style guidelines. According to their style guidelines it sounds like your beer would have been a better fit for 10.1 regardless of what you want to call it.
Yep.  Put it where it comes off as, not as what you wanted it to be (or if you're stubborn, put it in both if the rules allow).  There was a guy in our club that brewed an all Centennial IPA intending it to be similar to Founders.  When I tasted it, I told him it came off more as a hoppy APA, so that's where he should enter it.  He wound up entering it in both categories in a competition.  He took 2nd in APA and scored low 30s as an IPA.