Author Topic: First Time Judging Beer  (Read 3798 times)

Offline tomsawyer

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First Time Judging Beer
« on: February 14, 2011, 11:45:04 AM »
This weekend I'm judging for the first time at a competition in KC.  I got my assignments, I'm judging porters, Belgian/French ales, and Scottish/Irish ales.  They don't tell you which particular styles within the category, in advance.  Needless to say I'm excited!  And just a little worried about doing a decent job of it.  I also entered four beers and this is my first time entering beer in a comp as well.  Talk about your rookies.

What do you typically do to prepare for judging a competition?

Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline jeffy

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2011, 11:59:30 AM »
This weekend I'm judging for the first time at a competition in KC.  I got my assignments, I'm judging porters, Belgian/French ales, and Scottish/Irish ales.  They don't tell you which particular styles within the category, in advance.  Needless to say I'm excited!  And just a little worried about doing a decent job of it.  I also entered four beers and this is my first time entering beer in a comp as well.  Talk about your rookies.

What do you typically do to prepare for judging a competition?

Don't drink too much the night before.  Stay away from spicy foods that morning.  Eat breakfast.  Drink lots of water between samples.  Let your senses be your guide and try not to be intimidated or influenced too much by the other judges.

Have fun!
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline tom

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2011, 12:03:38 PM »
and review the style guidelines
Brew on

Offline dbeechum

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2011, 12:08:24 PM »
And bring a knife to make the other judges back off when they challenge your opinions. It's not really a score sheet until it has beer or blood spilled on it!

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Offline oscarvan

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2011, 12:15:34 PM »
STOP THE VOICES!!!!!!
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2011, 12:26:34 PM »
+1 to all of what Jeff said. Also, don't wear any cologne. Put together a small judging kit with comfortable (padded grip) mechanical pencils, flashlight, corkscrew (stewards will have bottle openers, but watch 'em scramble if you come across a capped & corked bottle), etc.

Biggest thing for a new judge (or all of us) is to give solid, complete feedback. Use the score sheet as your guide & touch on ALL the elements mentioned. You don't need 'technical' descriptors, simple everyday language is great. Just describe your perceptions as completely as possible. If you feel confident in offering constructive criticism, please do so (regular posting to this forum is great experience for that). Don't make assumptions about what the brewer did, but offer possible actions to take in improving recipe or dealing with perceived problems.

Don't stress about preparation. Judging is fun, ask the organizer to pair you with experienced judges (especially if you already know them) though they usually try to do that anyway.


Good luck & have fun.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2011, 12:50:27 PM »
All good advice except that one about not drinking too much on Friday night, but that might be the most critical one for judging Saturday morning.  We have a session Friday evening, then Saturday morning and early afternoon.

Hadn't thought of a flashlight.  Will bring a corkscrew, that should be good for popping corks and fending off pushy judges.  They know I'm new and supposedly put me with more experienced people.  Then again, almost anyone would qualify as being more experienced.

Question, is it common for newer judges to keep a hard copy of the BJCP guidelines handy?  I'll have thoroughly reviewed my categories but I would feel more secure having it available.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline tumarkin

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2011, 01:05:59 PM »
every competition I've ever judged at provides the style guidelines to the judges at the tables. you have to judge the beer against the guidelines, and most of us haven't memorized the whole damn thing.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline bluesman

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2011, 01:35:35 PM »
every competition I've ever judged at provides the style guidelines to the judges at the tables. you have to judge the beer against the guidelines, and most of us haven't memorized the whole damn thing.

+1

I use the BJCP App on my iphone...just make sure your battery is charged before you go.  :)
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Offline denny

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2011, 01:38:54 PM »
I print up labels (Avery 5150) with my name, judge rank, and email on them.  Saves having to fill it in on every sheet.
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Offline mrcceo

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2011, 02:10:36 PM »
I'm in the same boat as you this Saturday.
A suggestion I received was to take a marker with you so you can write the entry number on the sample cup in case you want to go back to it again.

Offline alikocho

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2011, 02:30:23 PM »
I'm in the same boat as you this Saturday.
A suggestion I received was to take a marker with you so you can write the entry number on the sample cup in case you want to go back to it again.

I can see why you'd do this, but the aroma of the marker might interfere with your perception of the beer. Anyway, it's better practice to finish judging a beer and move on.

As to having the style guidelines to hand - absolutely. In fact, the BJCP guide tells judges to review the style guidelines at the table.
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Offline Hokerer

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2011, 02:37:11 PM »
I print up labels (Avery 5150) with my name, judge rank, and email on them.  Saves having to fill it in on every sheet.

Yeah, I like getting those kinds of scoresheets.  I can actually read the judges name and such unlike a lot of the handwritten ones.  Do beer judges take handwriting lessons from doctors?   :D
Joe

Offline mrcceo

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2011, 02:47:19 PM »
I'm in the same boat as you this Saturday.
A suggestion I received was to take a marker with you so you can write the entry number on the sample cup in case you want to go back to it again.

I can see why you'd do this, but the aroma of the marker might interfere with your perception of the beer. Anyway, it's better practice to finish judging a beer and move on.

As to having the style guidelines to hand - absolutely. In fact, the BJCP guide tells judges to review the style guidelines at the table.

I should clarify. The marker should be a grease pencil.
 

Offline jeffy

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Re: First Time Judging Beer
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2011, 03:12:37 PM »
I print up labels (Avery 5150) with my name, judge rank, and email on them.  Saves having to fill it in on every sheet.

This is also a good idea.  Some competitions will print them for you, but if not, there's a template somewhere on the BJCP.org website.  It's called "judge scoresheet label template"
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 03:17:02 PM by jeffy »
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995