Author Topic: Questions about competitions...  (Read 1211 times)

Offline Hooper

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Questions about competitions...
« on: January 10, 2016, 04:15:46 PM »
1)  Have any of you guys ever caught someone entering a commercial beer into a Home Brew competition?

2)  How do you think some of the commercial beers (say Fuller's ESB, Pliny the Elder, Young's Chocolate Stout...) would fare in a large competition?
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2016, 04:35:18 PM »
1. No
2. Many would do poorly. Commercial beers often push style boundaries or don't worry about style at all.

Offline santoch

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2016, 05:56:44 PM »
+1

1) I have never heard of someone doing that.

2) Many times the commercial beers have been mishandled in transit or are just simply old.
Earlier this year, I taught the exam class again.  I couldn't believe how much of a diacetyl bomb Pilsner Urquell has become.  I know if I was judging that category and a beer came through with that much diacetyl, it would get docked pretty badly for such excessive levels. I understand that this is THE original beer for the style. But in years past, there was SOME LIGHT diacetyl in it.  These were borderline undrinkable, straight out of the (ironically) "throwback" can.


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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2016, 09:30:19 PM »
+1

1) I have never heard of someone doing that.

2) Many times the commercial beers have been mishandled in transit or are just simply old.
Earlier this year, I taught the exam class again.  I couldn't believe how much of a diacetyl bomb Pilsner Urquell has become.  I know if I was judging that category and a beer came through with that much diacetyl, it would get docked pretty badly for such excessive levels. I understand that this is THE original beer for the style. But in years past, there was SOME LIGHT diacetyl in it.  These were borderline undrinkable, straight out of the (ironically) "throwback" can.

Had 6 pack in the bottles a few months back and was thinking the exact same thing.  I just don't think I will even ever buy it again.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2016, 09:59:46 PM »
I had a bad batch of PU last year. I  complained to the distributor. They sent me a check (quickly).

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2016, 07:01:45 PM »
I think it has to do with the Czech lager strains - they can be clean on day one and re-establish diacetyl to detectable levels after a fe more weeks...
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2016, 07:31:54 PM »
+1

1) I have never heard of someone doing that.

2) Many times the commercial beers have been mishandled in transit or are just simply old.
Earlier this year, I taught the exam class again.  I couldn't believe how much of a diacetyl bomb Pilsner Urquell has become.  I know if I was judging that category and a beer came through with that much diacetyl, it would get docked pretty badly for such excessive levels. I understand that this is THE original beer for the style. But in years past, there was SOME LIGHT diacetyl in it.  These were borderline undrinkable, straight out of the (ironically) "throwback" can.

Noticed the same thing happen at my tasting exam. A study friend and I both lost points because we docked score for the diacetyl.  The Master judge concurred with our assessment, yet did not score it for having excessive diacetyl for the style specifically because it was PU.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2016, 11:32:19 PM »
+1

1) I have never heard of someone doing that.

2) Many times the commercial beers have been mishandled in transit or are just simply old.
Earlier this year, I taught the exam class again.  I couldn't believe how much of a diacetyl bomb Pilsner Urquell has become.  I know if I was judging that category and a beer came through with that much diacetyl, it would get docked pretty badly for such excessive levels. I understand that this is THE original beer for the style. But in years past, there was SOME LIGHT diacetyl in it.  These were borderline undrinkable, straight out of the (ironically) "throwback" can.

Noticed the same thing happen at my tasting exam. A study friend and I both lost points because we docked score for the diacetyl.  The Master judge concurred with our assessment, yet did not score it for having excessive diacetyl for the style specifically because it was PU.
They are allowed knowledge of the beers? Strange

Offline Pinski

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2016, 12:09:53 AM »
+1

1) I have never heard of someone doing that.

2) Many times the commercial beers have been mishandled in transit or are just simply old.
Earlier this year, I taught the exam class again.  I couldn't believe how much of a diacetyl bomb Pilsner Urquell has become.  I know if I was judging that category and a beer came through with that much diacetyl, it would get docked pretty badly for such excessive levels. I understand that this is THE original beer for the style. But in years past, there was SOME LIGHT diacetyl in it.  These were borderline undrinkable, straight out of the (ironically) "throwback" can.

Noticed the same thing happen at my tasting exam. A study friend and I both lost points because we docked score for the diacetyl.  The Master judge concurred with our assessment, yet did not score it for having excessive diacetyl for the style specifically because it was PU.
They are allowed knowledge of the beers? Strange

Sorry, should have said that in the post exam discussions the judge indicated that they could tell that it was PU.  Interestingly, my friend and I both indicated that we also though it was PU... that had been spiked.
Steve Carper
Green Dragon Brew Crew
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2016, 04:50:16 PM »

Sorry, should have said that in the post exam discussions the judge indicated that they could tell that it was PU.  Interestingly, my friend and I both indicated that we also though it was PU... that had been spiked.

ugh.  Reminds me of the BOS event a year ago where one of the BOS panel was absolutely convinced the winning beer was his and thus he shouldn't have been there.  It wasn't his.

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Offline Hooper

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2016, 02:10:43 AM »
This is no BS...I was on my 2nd 4 pack of PU cans when I asked the questions...I thought it tasted a bit like Heineken...but I would not know if that is normal...It is the first PU I've tried and I was trying to like it...it is pretty and I did propagate some yeast from one of the cans...
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Offline phunhog

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2016, 04:34:33 PM »
1)  Have any of you guys ever caught someone entering a commercial beer into a Home Brew competition?

2)  How do you think some of the commercial beers (say Fuller's ESB, Pliny the Elder, Young's Chocolate Stout...) would fare in a large competition?

I have always wanted to do something like that. Not to win a comp but rather to "prove" how subjective comps and scoring really are.  With a label on the bottle it is world class.....without a label it is "ok".   Just shows our unconscious bias....

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2016, 05:23:05 PM »
We conduct 2-3 informal non-sanctioned competitions per year within our local homebrewing club (the Manty Malters of Manitowoc, WI), using BJCP guidelines as rough guidance but like I say, not officially sanctioned.  We've done style-based comps for various styles including IPA, ESB, Cream Ale, Barleywine, etc.  I have been the Competition Director for about 6 years.  As such, whenever we are focusing on a particular style, to satisfy my own curiosity if nothing else, I have always anonymously entered an additional esteemed commercial example of the same style just to see how it fares against our homebrews.  Surprisingly (to me anyway), our homebrews always score better than the commercial example.  Usually the commercial beer is NOT in the Top 3.  At best I think maybe the commercial has won 3rd place once or twice.  My theory is that the commercial examples which are likely about 6 months old in the bottles on average just can't seem to hold up to fresher homebrewed examples, which are usually but not always only like a month or two old.  I have been surprised time and time again that people favor homebrews to BJCP-cited commercial examples.  But, no matter how many times I put them up against us, our homebrews ALWAYS win!  I never cease to be amazed by this as I know I'm choosing great commercial examples.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2016, 05:58:19 PM »
We conduct 2-3 informal non-sanctioned competitions per year within our local homebrewing club (the Manty Malters of Manitowoc, WI), using BJCP guidelines as rough guidance but like I say, not officially sanctioned.  We've done style-based comps for various styles including IPA, ESB, Cream Ale, Barleywine, etc.  I have been the Competition Director for about 6 years.  As such, whenever we are focusing on a particular style, to satisfy my own curiosity if nothing else, I have always anonymously entered an additional esteemed commercial example of the same style just to see how it fares against our homebrews.  Surprisingly (to me anyway), our homebrews always score better than the commercial example.  Usually the commercial beer is NOT in the Top 3.  At best I think maybe the commercial has won 3rd place once or twice.  My theory is that the commercial examples which are likely about 6 months old in the bottles on average just can't seem to hold up to fresher homebrewed examples, which are usually but not always only like a month or two old.  I have been surprised time and time again that people favor homebrews to BJCP-cited commercial examples.  But, no matter how many times I put them up against us, our homebrews ALWAYS win!  I never cease to be amazed by this as I know I'm choosing great commercial examples.

Wow!  That is awesome. I always wondered how they would pair up against our brews from home. Interesting to hear. Maybe next time you could try to get some super fresh examples for comparison just to see what happens. 

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Questions about competitions...
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2016, 06:16:47 PM »
Yeah, that's pretty cool to hear. Aside from the obvious age of the commercial stuff in relation to the homebrew, commercial brewers aren't as restrained by styles as we are in comps. They might be excellent beers in many cases but not fit a given style as accurately as a homebrewed version. Doesn't mean that I don't think that homebrewed beers can be better on their own merits, because they totally can IMO.
Jon H.