Author Topic: AHA First Round  (Read 6186 times)

Offline johnf

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2011, 07:59:06 PM »
As the Boyscouts say, "Be prepared".

If you were so sure of your beer, you should have rebrewed.  At least you would have more on hand to drink if it did not move on.

If you only entered big beers or lagers, all I can say is chill and RDWHAHB.  The rebrew thing can be done, but is not done all of the time.

Eh, it's impossible to tell what beers will get through. I'll be a Master judge in a couple of months and of the 7 I got through, 1 was among the 5 I thought were best. It's a crapshoot, no use pretending otherwise.

I entered a bunch of the NHC beers in a regional competition that I also judged. The 2nd place fruit beer from the Dallas first round was vocally ridiculed by a judge at the regional comp. The 3rd place BOS at the regional comp scored around 30 at Dallas.

Offline tom

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2011, 09:54:07 PM »
Yeah, someone thought my American Barleywine was too hoppy!   ;)

And a beginner judge recommended that I thin my RIS with water!   ???

My ginger ale was last in our homebrew club competition in February, but it was touch and go for first or second in the NHC 1st round.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2011, 10:00:43 PM »
Yeah, someone thought my American Barleywine was too hoppy!   ;)

And a beginner judge recommended that I thin my RIS with water!   ???

My ginger ale was last in our homebrew club competition in February, but it was touch and go for first or second in the NHC 1st round.
Yeah, you get some boneheaded comments from judges.  I've had judges tasting the same beer say it was "bone dry" and "cloyingly sweet".  ::)  But if they both give it a 30 it doesn't really matter to me if they can't phrase why it's not a great bottle, it's not going to advance.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jeffy

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2011, 04:36:45 AM »
Yeah, someone thought my American Barleywine was too hoppy!   ;)

And a beginner judge recommended that I thin my RIS with water!   ???

My ginger ale was last in our homebrew club competition in February, but it was touch and go for first or second in the NHC 1st round.
Yeah, you get some boneheaded comments from judges.  I've had judges tasting the same beer say it was "bone dry" and "cloyingly sweet".  ::)  But if they both give it a 30 it doesn't really matter to me if they can't phrase why it's not a great bottle, it's not going to advance.
There was an award winning brew at GABF one year called "Most Beer Judges Are Boneheads Pils."
You win some and you lose some - different judge different day.
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 tntjr

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2011, 06:03:55 AM »
Yeah, someone thought my American Barleywine was too hoppy!   ;)

And a beginner judge recommended that I thin my RIS with water!   ???

My ginger ale was last in our homebrew club competition in February, but it was touch and go for first or second in the NHC 1st round.
Yeah, you get some boneheaded comments from judges.  I've had judges tasting the same beer say it was "bone dry" and "cloyingly sweet".  ::)  But if they both give it a 30 it doesn't really matter to me if they can't phrase why it's not a great bottle, it's not going to advance.

...it doesn't really matter to me if they can't phrase why it's not a great bottle,

But that's the whole point to me. If there are objective reasons that my beer didn't win I want to know what they are, that's why I entered the contest in the first place.  I have so many score sheets that do a great job of providing a sensory evaluation of my beer but fail to make a single comment on how it deviated from the judges ideal for the style. I appreciate the you gave my beer a 36 but what I really want to know is where did I lose 14 points?

For example, I recently entered an Irish Red Ale. The BJCP gives this description for aroma:
Aroma: Low to medium malty sweetness, sometimes accentuated by low to moderate kettle caramelization. Some examples have a low hop aroma, light fruitiness, low diacetyl, and/or a low to moderate peaty aroma (all are optional). The peaty aroma is sometimes perceived as earthy, smoky or very lightly roasted.

Here are one of the judge's notes:
Aroma: Malty up front with a toast note and very light roast, no hops or esters which is OK for the style.

...and he gave the beer 8 of 12 points. Where did this beer lose 4 points? Why did this beer only reach 66% of your ideal for this category? The judges notes don't seem to vary from the guideline yet 8% of the total score was lost in this area.

I really appreciate that the judges are doing a great job of tasting the beers. Their ability to taste and describe the beers is more nuanced and accurate than ever, but there are few if any comments that I can use to improve the beers.

So judges, please feel free to give me your constructive negative criticism. I know I'm doing a competent job of brewing to the style, I need to know exactly what your looking for in this style that you didn't get from my beer.

Tom

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2011, 10:02:37 AM »
Good points tntjr, I probably could have phrased what I meant better.  Obviously the whole point of BJCP training is to teach people to do a better job tasting and judging beers, and one of the main goals is to give good feedback to entrants.  But there is a level of subjectivity to judging that is less than ideal.  When Jeff points out (correctly) that "You win some and you lose some - different judge different day" it makes it difficult to always take the comments of the judges to heart.  If it was more consistent that would be great, but that's not the way it works.

For example, let's say that a judge says your IPA isn't bitter enough.  Do you immediately change your recipe and up the IBUs?  What if that was their 8th IPA of the flight, and the one immediately before was too bitter and thin?  What if it was the first beer and they just finished their coffee?  What if that judge just prefers an IPA with higher IBUs?  Training can help eliminate some of these problems, but you can't eliminate order bias in our judging format.  Winning or losing one competition doesn't mean anything, winning consistently does.  So getting feedback from one set of judges is of limited use in my opinion, but getting similar feedback from several sets is very useful.

As for those specific scoresheets, the judge mentions malt, toast, and roast.  The description doesn't mention toast, it mentions sweetness and caramelization.  Maybe that is what the judge thought was missing. :-\
Tom Schmidlin

Offline johnf

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2011, 10:14:51 AM »
Winning or losing one competition doesn't mean anything, winning consistently does.  So getting feedback from one set of judges is of limited use in my opinion, but getting similar feedback from several sets is very useful.


Bingo. People think that people who enter are just trying to win a bunch of medals. I enter a bunch of competitions with a batch so I get enough feedback that I can interpret it and make a change. The only awards displayed in our home are BoS and regional circuit type stuff. The medals/ribbons are in a pile somewhere. Fun to win but I don't really want the medals (unless they are super awesome like the Hoppy Halloween ones).

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2011, 12:02:33 PM »
Bingo. People think that people who enter are just trying to win a bunch of medals. I enter a bunch of competitions with a batch so I get enough feedback that I can interpret it and make a change. The only awards displayed in our home are BoS and regional circuit type stuff. The medals/ribbons are in a pile somewhere. Fun to win but I don't really want the medals (unless they are super awesome like the Hoppy Halloween ones).

Are you kidding?!  I wear my one second place medal from KCBM around every day.  People look at you kind of funny but who cares.  When they ask (and mostly they don't) I sometimes even lie and tell them its a first place medal, because it could have been first place if not for that other stupid tasty beer.

If you're a club member, you can always seek the opinions of the other members on your brew.  Seems like that would be a simpler way to garner more feedback, albeit possibly less trained.  If we are criticizing the level of training of the average BJCP judge anyway, then what the heck.
Lennie
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Offline brandon

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2011, 12:22:50 PM »
This is where I have a problem with the current "release" schedule...

You have your results and can prepare for the second round.  I am still waiting.  There is no reason to hold all results until all regions are recieved and then posted - fairness is not an argument, as demonstrated here.  >:(

release the Kraken!
I agree it does give some an advantage. Some folks have already rebrewed for the second round (me) and others still don't know what advanced (practically everyone else in my HB club, they all used Nashville where I used Dallas).  On the other hand, it does suck when everybody has to wait for that one region that's dragging it's feet.
Dragging it's feet now until....next weekend.

It would be funny if it didn't affect so many people.

And to be clear...John is not referring to Nashville, our beer judging was completed on the 26th. Ciders held us up for a few days until I got the proper pallets to judge that style. They were done on the morning of the 30th, the DB was emailed in the afternoon to the AHA. BJCP reports has already been submitted too
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Offline tntjr

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2011, 12:36:18 PM »
Good points tntjr, I probably could have phrased what I meant better.  Obviously the whole point of BJCP training is to teach people to do a better job tasting and judging beers, and one of the main goals is to give good feedback to entrants.  But there is a level of subjectivity to judging that is less than ideal.  When Jeff points out (correctly) that "You win some and you lose some - different judge different day" it makes it difficult to always take the comments of the judges to heart.  If it was more consistent that would be great, but that's not the way it works.

For example, let's say that a judge says your IPA isn't bitter enough.  Do you immediately change your recipe and up the IBUs?  What if that was their 8th IPA of the flight, and the one immediately before was too bitter and thin?  What if it was the first beer and they just finished their coffee?  What if that judge just prefers an IPA with higher IBUs?  Training can help eliminate some of these problems, but you can't eliminate order bias in our judging format.  Winning or losing one competition doesn't mean anything, winning consistently does.  So getting feedback from one set of judges is of limited use in my opinion, but getting similar feedback from several sets is very useful.

As for those specific scoresheets, the judge mentions malt, toast, and roast.  The description doesn't mention toast, it mentions sweetness and caramelization.  Maybe that is what the judge thought was missing. :-\

I understand there are subjective factors to the scores and I expect that, but I shouldn't have to guess what the judge's criteria, subjective or objective were. Tell me exactly how you feel this beer fell short of your ideal 50 point beer.

I may not change my recipe based on one set of scores but if I start to see a trend then I'll have to acknowledge that my interpretation of the style differs from the consensus. I can then change the recipe if I want to score high and win contests or I can keep brewing what I have been and accept that my goals for this style differ from the consensus.

Tom

Offline johnf

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2011, 12:42:23 PM »
This is where I have a problem with the current "release" schedule...

You have your results and can prepare for the second round.  I am still waiting.  There is no reason to hold all results until all regions are recieved and then posted - fairness is not an argument, as demonstrated here.  >:(

release the Kraken!
I agree it does give some an advantage. Some folks have already rebrewed for the second round (me) and others still don't know what advanced (practically everyone else in my HB club, they all used Nashville where I used Dallas).  On the other hand, it does suck when everybody has to wait for that one region that's dragging it's feet.
Dragging it's feet now until....next weekend.

It would be funny if it didn't affect so many people.

And to be clear...John is not referring to Nashville, our beer judging was completed on the 26th. Ciders held us up for a few days until I got the proper pallets to judge that style. They were done on the morning of the 30th, the DB was emailed in the afternoon to the AHA. BJCP reports has already been submitted too

I can see how you would read it that way, I definitely meant Saratoga.

Offline spointon

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2011, 12:52:21 PM »
One of my favorite recent judge comments was (on a Belgian Dark Strong Ale): "Though the style guideline provides for the level of sweetness you have in this beer, I prefer the drier examples of this style."  I was blown away that he basically acknowledged that one aspect of my beer fell within the guidelines but outside his personal taste preferences,and then dinged me for it... ???   

Offline brandon

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2011, 01:05:12 PM »
Wow did you email him or the comp organizer? If BJCP I would let them know
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Offline bluesman

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2011, 01:18:20 PM »
Wow did you email him or the comp organizer? If BJCP I would let them know

+1

That's a clear violation of BJCP ethics. I suggest you cantact the organizer a.s.a.p.
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Offline spointon

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #29 on: May 05, 2011, 01:21:41 PM »
Nah, judges are human beings and as such they will always bring their own prejudices to the table.  BJCP training is excellent, but just because someone "has" the knowledge to be impartial and set their own tastes aside, it doesn't mean they will.  His was a glaring example because he was dumb enough to write that down, but this sort of stuff is endemic and just comes with the territory unfortunately.