Author Topic: A question about the BJCP Judging philosophy?  (Read 6306 times)

Offline MDixon

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Re: A question about the BJCP Judging philosophy?
« Reply #75 on: July 16, 2010, 10:31:42 AM »
CEO - some of what you suggest just is not practical. It would take a very long time to create a consensus sheet with comments.

What I suggest is you read the comments and find what is common between the two-three sheets you receive. Judges often make assumptions about the brewing process and suggest improvement, take what applies and leave the rest behind. Often an entrant can take the comments and with about 5 minutes using google can pinpoint their unique issue and decide a course of action to ultimately hit style.

The only way one could have absolute certainty would be to witness the brewing process utilized, soup to nuts, and then to taste the resultant beer and offer suggestions based on that knowledge. Since the entrant knows what they did, they do have to connect the dots to take the feedback and use what they know of their process to better their beers.

Now, send me $20 for my time, $5 for return shipping of the paperwork and a couple of beers and I'll be glad to write you a score sheet for any beer.  ;)
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: A question about the BJCP Judging philosophy?
« Reply #76 on: July 16, 2010, 11:02:03 AM »
I agree with much of what Mike just said.  However, I will judge your homebrews for free.  AND, I give better feedback than everyone else.  ;D

But really.... I take things even one step further, based on a few assumptions.  Number one, there are often going to be a few dud "judges", whether ranked, non-ranked, or otherwise, where you can basically throw their feedback in the trash because that's how much good it will do you.  On the flip side, there are many judges -- also ranked, non-ranked, and otherwise -- who actually do a phenomenal job.  It is usually very easy for the entrant to determine for himself/herself which feedback is great versus which is garbage.  And of course, the majority of judges fall somewhere in between and are more mediocre, which is just fine -- what more can a realist ask for.  But there is obviously no use trying to get this spectrum of judges to come to any consolidated consensus and only fill out one form!  I would be very much against that -- in fact, I would quit the BJCP on the spot if they ever pushed in that direction.  The fact is, when you force consensus, either one side will quickly give in to the others' insistence, or they'll get into a fistfight.  (Sounds like politics, doesn't it?!)  As I see it, neither result is beneficial to the entrant in any way.  As an entrant, just decide for yourself which feedback you can use, and which you cannot.  No use trying to solve world hunger.  Just accept it as fact that some judges suck, or have bad days, and move on.

One more word of advice -- If you really want to know if your beer is to style, make sure you enter at least 3, if not more, BJCP-sanctioned competitions.  Then, upon receipt of the feedback, don't hang onto the duds and average all the scores together!  To do that, you wouldn't be fair to yourself.  Simply throw out the duds, then take the rest of the mediocre-to-good feedback while the getting is good, and go ahead and average those scores together.  That's what I do.  I actually hang onto the duds but keep them in a separate pile as examples of how NOT to judge.  Might come in handy one day.  Or not.  Good for a laugh at least.
Dave

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Offline mrcceo

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Re: A question about the BJCP Judging philosophy?
« Reply #77 on: July 16, 2010, 12:26:53 PM »
Guys thanks for the feedback and the offer to score my brew.   Dave, I just may take you up on it. You’ll have to send me your address in a PM

I hear what both of you are saying and I respect your experience and opinions. Perhaps the BJCP should weed out the “duds” as Dave calls them and that will naturally tighten up the scores. In any event, at the minimum, I agree that the scores should be unaltered so that you can at least have score sheets where the comments and the scores align.  This would certainly eliminate some of the confusion for the entrant as well.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: A question about the BJCP Judging philosophy?
« Reply #78 on: July 19, 2010, 12:28:50 AM »
I am not in complete agreement. As a person who samples a vast amount of beer (home and craft), I think Thomas has a really high valuation of craft beer. While much of it is really good, there is a vast majority which could stand improvement. I also don't give out 37's to beers just because they have "no noticeable flaws".

I don't have a uniformly high an opinion of craft beer, I've paid money for some real crap. I've even sent some back.

You will, however, notice my useful weasel word "most" when describing craft beer in the 34-38 range. Every craft brewery has at least one beer which hits this level, even if it isn't "to style" in any BJCP category. If they don't, they won't be in business for long.

Beer which has suffered at the hands of distributors and retailers, came from a bad batch, or was made from a crummy - soon to be defunct - brewery, might fall considerably below what I consider to be an acceptable standard for commercial beer: in BJCP terms, 13-29. Commercial brew which isn't that great I score at 28-33.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: A question about the BJCP Judging philosophy?
« Reply #79 on: July 19, 2010, 12:37:55 AM »
When more than one person emphasizes the same idea, well, it makes it hard not to believe.

In general, that's true. For the exam, that's more than you need to know.

In practice, there are times when, due to time or space limitations, I'll concentrate on just one aspect of a flawed beer and let other judges discuss different aspects, as long as we all have identified the faults. For example, for feedback of a poorly attenuated beer with incomplete fermentation, I might discuss the diacetyl and acetaldehyde problems and yeast health, while the other judge discusses mashing and grist problems.

The alternative is either writing a pamphlet on brewing technique on the back of the score sheet, or resorting to not so useful shorthand which might fly over the head of a novice brewer, like: "Review yeast management and fermentation techniques" or "Study malt varieties and mashing techniques."

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: A question about the BJCP Judging philosophy?
« Reply #80 on: July 19, 2010, 12:58:49 AM »
Number one, there are often going to be a few dud "judges", whether ranked, non-ranked, or otherwise, where you can basically throw their feedback in the trash because that's how much good it will do you.

A sign of a good judge, regardless of rank, is a well-filled out score sheet, with at least 2 practical suggestions for improvement for any beer which doesn't score at least 35+. Most judges concentrate their feedback in the "overall impression" section, so look there first.

The fact is, when you force consensus, either one side will quickly give in to the others' insistence, or they'll get into a fistfight.

This isn't my experience. Judges are in a hurry, so they're not going to stand their ground unless they absolutely think that the other judge is wrong and they've "fallen in love" with a particular beer.

Judge A (who can detect VKDs at 0.2 ppm): "I'm getting too much diacetyl in this beer for it to really hit the style."

Judge B (who couldn't detect butter on movie popcorn): "I think this is the best beer we've tasted so far in the flight. I can't detect any diacetyl and I think it nails the style."

More typically, judges will quickly adjust their scores up or down a few points to get within 7. Often, the point spread is even closer than that. Lots of judges, myself included, like to get within 3-4 points.

Judge A: "Alright, I know I detect butter in just about anything I taste, and I will grant that the malt complexity is there. I'll come up by 2 points."

Judge B: I'll admit that I have trouble figuring out what people mean by "artificial butter flavor," and I think I'm getting a tiny bit of green apple sourness. I'll come down by 3 points. That will put us within 7 of each other."
 
One more word of advice -- If you really want to know if your beer is to style, make sure you enter at least 3, if not more, BJCP-sanctioned competitions.

Better yet, show up at your local homebrew club meeting, or BJCP training session, with a couple of bottles of your beer. Ask for feedback from BJCP judges whose feedback you've found to be useful and let them sample your beer. Same feedback, no entry fee, delivered to you in real time.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 01:50:54 AM by thomasbarnes »