Author Topic: Competition Ethics  (Read 3636 times)

Offline jeffy

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2010, 07:43:46 PM »
Only list those ingredients that are apparent to the senses.  It doesn't matter what went into it as much as what they are going to be judging it as.  
There is no rule that I know of that says you have to list everything you put into a batch.
It will be judged, as you say, with respect to what the judges taste and smell, so only list those things that are apparent.  

The guidelines clearly state to list all fruit used. So there is a rule. There have been many ethics questions lately at comps I have been involved in. Situation.....a Russian Imperial Stout is entered, the brewer states that he added coffee and chocolate to his brew. How do you judge this? Is it misentered, should be a cat 23 or fruit veggie, or spice beer (not sure where coffee and chocolate fit in)? Or since the guidelines call for those flavors (even tho they blame the darker malts for contributing) judge it as is ignoring the non-conventional ingrediants?

If a brewer entered a Russian Imperial Stout then there should be no place on the entry form or on the pull sheet given to the judges to state that he added any coffee or chocolate.  How would the judges be informed of that?  If it were stated on the entry form, then perhaps the category should have been "specialty" instead of RIS.  Those ingredients, if not mentioned, may add some complexity to the beer, which could be a good thing.
OK I just referenced the bjcp guidelines for melomel  and it says, "entrant must specify the variety of fruit used" not "list all fruit used."  I take this to mean that the judges need to know what they're supposed to be judging as opposed to what the recipe was.  It does not seem to me to be a requirement to specify all the fruit as much as it does to tell the judges what fruit should be apparent.
Please don't get me wrong.  I don't think anybody needs to brew "to style" to have fun in this hobby, but there are some guidelines to follow to do well in competitions.  
Ethics have more to do with blind judging than recipe formulation.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
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Offline lonnie mac

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2010, 08:10:49 PM »
Only list those ingredients that are apparent to the senses.  It doesn't matter what went into it as much as what they are going to be judging it as.  
There is no rule that I know of that says you have to list everything you put into a batch.
It will be judged, as you say, with respect to what the judges taste and smell, so only list those things that are apparent.  

The guidelines clearly state to list all fruit used. So there is a rule. There have been many ethics questions lately at comps I have been involved in. Situation.....a Russian Imperial Stout is entered, the brewer states that he added coffee and chocolate to his brew. How do you judge this? Is it misentered, should be a cat 23 or fruit veggie, or spice beer (not sure where coffee and chocolate fit in)? Or since the guidelines call for those flavors (even tho they blame the darker malts for contributing) judge it as is ignoring the non-conventional ingrediants?

Bonjour has given some great advice here, as well as some pretty dang good wording too! I would copy exactly what he said!

As Jeffy pointed out in your example also, in this category the judges would never know what you put in your stout. They simply get nine or so bottles of stout on the table with a number on each cap. That's all they know, and that's all the Steward knows as well. In your Mel, you are asked to include your fruit. In that category, like cat 23 and a few others, the judges actually see this data because it was requested from you during your entry process.

Offline MDixon

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2010, 06:20:00 AM »
If a brewer entered a Russian Imperial Stout then there should be no place on the entry form or on the pull sheet given to the judges to state that he added any coffee or chocolate.  How would the judges be informed of that?  If it were stated on the entry form, then perhaps the category should have been "specialty" instead of RIS.  Those ingredients, if not mentioned, may add some complexity to the beer, which could be a good thing.
[SNIP]
Please don't get me wrong.  I don't think anybody needs to brew "to style" to have fun in this hobby, but there are some guidelines to follow to do well in competitions.  
Ethics have more to do with blind judging than recipe formulation.

+1 (excellent response!)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2010, 08:23:15 AM »
I also think that having more information about an entry can only help one in the sense that it will enable the judges to calibrate or target their senses to that particular element in the entry. Perhaps the "more is better" approach prevails in this case. This will also cut down on the time it takes for the judges to hone in on the flavors and allow them to actually qualify those flavors in the entry.
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2010, 08:45:10 AM »
I also think that having more information about an entry can only help one in the sense that it will enable the judges to calibrate or target their senses to that particular element in the entry. Perhaps the "more is better" approach prevails in this case. This will also cut down on the time it takes for the judges to hone in on the flavors and allow them to actually qualify those flavors in the entry.

If you're looking for judge feedback, Bluesman is dead right on this.

If you're looking for medals, I think Jeffy has summed it up. When judging, you look for things that should/or should not be in the beer (whether this is info in the style guidelines or provided by the entrant). When you list a fruit, spice, etc, the judges are going to be looking for it. If it's not detectable, or identifiable, the judge may very well downgrade his score for that perceived lack.

Most of us realize that a listed ingredient can be at a low level and still make a subtle contribution. Fruits, spices, etc can combine or modify each other. The sum of the parts can be greater, etc etc. But for competition, if it's not discernible and/or identifiable, you run the risk of getting scored down. If it's a blueberry mel, most judges will look for blueberry, etc. Best just not to mention it if the average judge wouldn't be likely to detect it. 
Mark Tumarkin
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Gainesville, FL

Offline denny

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2010, 09:34:26 AM »
Just drink it and enjoy it. Why do you need someone else telling you it's good or bad?

Because maybe you have another reason for brewing than simply "I like it and my drunken friends like it, so it must be good".  If that's your motivation, no problem, but not everyone has the same reasons.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2010, 10:08:55 AM »
Just drink it and enjoy it. Why do you need someone else telling you it's good or bad?

Because maybe you have another reason for brewing than simply "I like it and my drunken friends like it, so it must be good".  If that's your motivation, no problem, but not everyone has the same reasons.

I don't have drunken friends and I don't share my home-made beverages with people like that.  I don't know anybody who does.  People like that are usually the ones pounding down canoe beer.
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Offline bfogt

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2010, 10:30:37 AM »
A note on the RIS with flavorings.  The commercial examples for the style are led by 3 Floyds Dark Lord which uses a locally roasted coffee and other flavorings to get to the final product.  So it should be acceptable to do the same to replicate the style.  When judging, I would assume that some entries are going to have non-malt flavorings and any notes I get from the entry form would help with making specific recipe comments as opposed to adding or detracting from the score. RIS almost seems like a subcategory of 21 or 23 at times.

Offline Mikey

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2010, 10:56:23 AM »
Just drink it and enjoy it. Why do you need someone else telling you it's good or bad?

Because maybe you have another reason for brewing than simply "I like it and my drunken friends like it, so it must be good".  If that's your motivation, no problem, but not everyone has the same reasons.

I never said my friends were drunkards. They just happen to like my beer. Please continue drinking by yourself and earning ribbons.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2010, 11:12:44 AM »
A note on the RIS with flavorings.  The commercial examples for the style are led by 3 Floyds Dark Lord which uses a locally roasted coffee and other flavorings to get to the final product.  So it should be acceptable to do the same to replicate the style.  When judging, I would assume that some entries are going to have non-malt flavorings and any notes I get from the entry form would help with making specific recipe comments as opposed to adding or detracting from the score. RIS almost seems like a subcategory of 21 or 23 at times.
Checking the bjcp site, Dark Lord is indeed the first commercial example listed for Imperial Stout.
Checking the 3 Floyds site, the beer contains coffee and vanilla.
So, my whole theory is dashed, I guess.
What's up with that?
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline johnf

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2010, 11:19:29 AM »
Just drink it and enjoy it. Why do you need someone else telling you it's good or bad?

Because maybe you have another reason for brewing than simply "I like it and my drunken friends like it, so it must be good".  If that's your motivation, no problem, but not everyone has the same reasons.

I never said my friends were drunkards. They just happen to like my beer. Please continue drinking by yourself and earning ribbons.

If you are defensive about your experience with competitions, why not just avoid the threads discussing them?

Offline lonnie mac

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2010, 11:24:27 AM »
A note on the RIS with flavorings.  The commercial examples for the style are led by 3 Floyds Dark Lord which uses a locally roasted coffee and other flavorings to get to the final product.  So it should be acceptable to do the same to replicate the style.  When judging, I would assume that some entries are going to have non-malt flavorings and any notes I get from the entry form would help with making specific recipe comments as opposed to adding or detracting from the score. RIS almost seems like a subcategory of 21 or 23 at times.
Checking the bjcp site, Dark Lord is indeed the first commercial example listed for Imperial Stout.
Checking the 3 Floyds site, the beer contains coffee and vanilla.
So, my whole theory is dashed, I guess.
What's up with that?

Reading the introduction to the BJCP style guidelines, especially the "Notes to Judges" section clears a lot of this whole conversation up...

Offline punatic

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2010, 12:42:46 PM »
If you are defensive about your experience with competitions, why not just avoid the threads discussing them?

Perhaps there are members of the Brewers' Association who feel that the association spends too much time and resources promoting competition instead of just promoting brewing?
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Offline denny

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2010, 12:54:12 PM »
If you are defensive about your experience with competitions, why not just avoid the threads discussing them?

Perhaps there are members of the Brewers' Association who feel that the association spends too much time and resources promoting competition instead of just promoting brewing?

I didn't see that opinion voiced.
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Offline Mikey

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Re: Competition Ethics
« Reply #29 on: December 29, 2010, 12:58:34 PM »
If you are defensive about your experience with competitions, why not just avoid the threads discussing them?

Perhaps there are members of the Brewers' Association who feel that the association spends too much time and resources promoting competition instead of just promoting brewing?

I didn't see that opinion voiced.

I think they spend too much money on competitions.