Author Topic: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer  (Read 1007 times)

Offline daniel_cerveza

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Here are some insights into how beer is judged (in the U.S) and the whole supertaster phenomenon:
 
You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer:

http://www.beersyndicate.com/blog/you-dont-have-to-be-a-supertaster-to-be-a-good-judge-of-beer/

Cheers!

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2015, 10:05:26 PM »
That was a really long article. I couldn't finish it so I started scrolling down and realized I had only read abouta 10th of it.

Offline daniel_cerveza

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2015, 10:10:38 PM »
Good point- it could be split up into two.

Offline MDixon

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 10:49:31 PM »
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This also means that a given beer must be judged by at least one official BJCP judge.

Not a requirement to be a sanctioned competition.
http://www.bjcp.org/rules.php


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As mentioned, there are only two parts to the BJCP exam: the written and the tasting.

Since 2012 the written is only required for those wishing to advance to higher ranks. Change "written" to "online entrance exam" where applicable to be correct.


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these beers are judged according to the GABF style guidelines by industry professionals, not BJCP judges or any other sort of otherwise qualified judge

Many of the GABF judges are BJCP.


It was touched on early in the post, but IMO taste memory is the most important part of being an excellent judge and the ability to describe what you perceive. It does no one any good to describe something as bitter. Try it for yourself...

"How was that beer?"

"Bitter...."

Now if one took the time to accurately describe the level of bitterness and the hop or grain characteristics they perceive we'd have something.
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline daniel_cerveza

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 11:45:08 PM »
Excellent points, especially regarding "describing" beer.  That's a skill that takes a lot of time, beer (and therefore potentially money) to develop.  Another question to think about is what is it that a person is looking for when they enter a beer competition?  For a commercial brewer, it's probably medals that can used to better market their beer.  For homebrewers, maybe validation, or possibly suggestions about how to improve their beer?  Beer descriptions I think help people communicate to others what to expect when drinking a beer... or how people are interpreting a beer that you made, which can be extremely useful to the brewer. 
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 11:56:37 PM by daniel_cerveza »

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2015, 09:23:18 AM »
I suppose the topic could spark an interesting discussion on the place and value of beer judging. Supposing that there are these 1%er super tasters, even if they are perfect tasting machines, if the average beer drinker doesn't taste what they taste, what use is their awesome ability? My point is that if the target is what the masses think, shouldn't that be taken into consideration?

Offline daniel_cerveza

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2015, 03:51:25 PM »
"My point is that if the target is what the masses think, shouldn't that be taken into consideration?"

That's a pretty big/scary question.  It gets scarier when you figure that most estimates show that 25% of the population are supertasters...  I don't think anybody really accounts for the supertaster-effect in beer, wine, scotch, or any other type of food and beverage scores.  Oh well???

Offline MDixon

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2015, 05:12:52 PM »
The post basically tries to make the point this person is a supertaster so they will judge the beer incorrectly. However if they are trained they will recognize the level of bitterness, sweet, ester, phenol, whatever as correct or incorrect for the style. We all perceive things at different levels which is why everyone benefits from experience and from judging in a collaborative manner. It is also typically the trend to pair the experienced judges with inexperienced judges.

With inexperienced judges the issue is not typically whether or not they can taste something and at the right or wrong levels, it is whether or not they can convey what they perceive to the entrant on a piece of paper. I guess we could all take the BA and RB review methodology:

Quote
Smells great much better than it tastes.
Nice orange hazy look.
More on the hippy side without any orange or citrus taste to me.

I thought it would be amazing. I like zombie dust and PseudoSue better.

Not quite sure what the "hippy side" tastes like, I never licked the side of a hippy but I would expect it to have a sweat and patchouli note. Not sure what "great" smells like either. (FWIW - this was a review entered yesterday for Pliny and was the first one which popped up when I did a search.) On second thought, maybe adopting a review standard isn't such a great idea after all. ;)
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline case thrower

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2015, 08:14:56 PM »
My point is that if the target is what the masses think, shouldn't that be taken into consideration?

Craft beer is still a minority, so if we target what the 'masses' think, we'll all be drinking Millwieser.  And I, for one, would quit drinking beer.
Dave C.

Woke up this mornin' and I got myself a beer.
The future's uncertain and the end is alway near.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2015, 10:35:53 PM »
Ok, so masses was the wrong word. My point is that, hypothetically, we have these few high ranking people telling the rest of us what is good and what isnt. I understand why that is, no need to get the torches and pitchforks. Im in the program and support the program. What I was trying to say is that there are a whole bunch of craft beer drinkers who have never heard of Gordon Strong. They wouldnt know umami if it crossed the street and said hello. I just wonder if what they like matters. I'll bet it does if you own a craft brewery.

Offline MDixon

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2015, 11:23:49 PM »
Now drinkers will show a preference for local no matter how crappy it is. I was at a brewery recently and could choke down two out of six, one of the four awful ones was acceptable enough I drank it out of pity. The other three I passed back to the bartender. There is no way that place should stay in business longer than a week, but they will because someone will like it because it is local. Now they may eventually figure out their oxidation issues, but even if they don't bad breweries typically make it a year or two before everyone figures out just being local ain't enough. I suppose the fans could be part of the 25% who cannot taste anything.

You don't have to be a beer judge to know if you like or don't like a beer. However you do need to be a judge (or have some training/experience) to evaluate properly against the style guidelines. Most Pros approach beers in a different manner, mainly looking for notable flaws such as oxidation, acetaldehyde, or bacterial infection. Most beer drinkers are really just looking for something they like to consume. I tend to prefer an IPA when one is around and I have a choice...YMMV.
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2015, 11:45:01 PM »
Personally, I don't fully depend on either end of the spectrum (trend followers or super experts)

Offline daniel_cerveza

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2015, 01:17:39 AM »
I actually really like your point about not following trends or experts.  I'd also guess that you probably have a pretty refined pallet, which new craft beer fans might not have, so they might rely more on trends or experts, just as I would if buying some spirit I'm unfamiliar with. The way MDixon writes, I would image he's probably moved passed the "drinker" phase, and on to the "taster" one.  To me, that means you guys are on the high end of the experience spectrum, while the majority of "new drinkers" are not.  So that brings us back to your original concern: supertasters may very well be influencing the masses for better or worse.  The masses are the market, and once the market has spoken, experienced tasters like you might be supertasted out of beers you'd otherwise find worthwhile.  I think MDixon's comment about drinkers supporting whatever's local supports that idea.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2015, 08:46:34 AM »
Some folks used to say Question Authority. I think that's my point here. Whatever that authority might be in the beer world. Wether it's a flashy add with a girl in a bikini flashing her butt or a chubby nerd with a handlebar mustache flashing his BJCP card. How much do I need to rely on what I'm being told makes this beer good? Or can I filter that out and decide for myself?

Offline yso191

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Re: You Don’t Have to Be a Supertaster to Be a Good Judge of Beer
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2015, 12:39:39 PM »
I was thinking about this the other day.  I am not yet a BJCP judge, but I am working toward it.  My wife and I went to LaConner for the day, and as usual I wanted to check out the local brewery. 

It was a brewpub setup.  The food was quite good, but the beer was flawed.  I got a flight of 5 samples.  3 had astringency issues, 1 had another flaw that I am having trouble recalling.  Aside from the flaws, all were uninspired.

The place was very busy, and I wondered how many of the people they were serving noticed any off flavors.  I think it takes a seriously bad beer to rise to the level of awareness for most people.  But they would probably just say "it was a great little brewery," conflating their whole experience - including the fact that they had a beautiful day in a scenic, cool town with people they liked - into their evaluation of the brewery.
Steve
All Hands Brewing
BJCP #D1667