RE: all this astringency chatter
Is it felt in the jowls? Then it is absolutely astringency.
Is it a bitter sensation on the tongue or palate? Probably just bitterness.
FWIW, I prefer to say "harsh bitterness" rather than astringency in the later case. It gets my point across better than saying "hop astringency" - which I don't believe is the correct terminology.
Like Dave, I see plenty of new judges claiming astringency in beers that are just bitter. A bit of education typically works well in those instances.
How would you describe astringency due to hops in beers that aren't all that bitter? I'm working my way through a bunch of NE IPAs and so far every one has left me with an astringent mouthfeel, even though none had what could be described as "harsh bitterness". I assume it's due to the massive flavor hopping they do. Not only can I feel the astringency, my mouth feels like it's coated with hop particles!
Is that "astringent mouthfeel" in the side of the mouth, near the jowls? Then I'll say it's astringency. Do I know
that it is from the hops? No. I really work to avoid assumptions in my feedback, so I still wouldn't say "hop astringency" or "astringency due to hops". Just saying those phrases is, in itself, an assumption of process.
As a side bar, I think that NE IPAs are an odd duck. On one hand, they're so chock full of hops that they are almost thick and gritty. But they're also what I'll describe as "fluffy", for lack of a better term, which may mask some of the bitterness. I'm still not sure what to think of them, outside of the fact that I don't like them... which of course means that I don't really want to do further "testing" on it.
I would be willing to venture a guess that since the style flies in the face of what is considered normal "best-practices" in brewing, that normal descriptors may not work very well on NE IPAs.