Author Topic: AHA First Round  (Read 10853 times)

Offline narvin

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2011, 02:52:48 AM »
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... ???    

My main concern with this is that the beer was potentially dinged for the judges personal preference and not by the beer's actual adherance to the standard, if this is the case then I am suggesting this to be inappropriate and should be called out. I would start by emailing the judge and asking for an explanation as to how the score was manipulated based upon this comment. IMO, making comments based upon the judges personal opinion of the beer in the "Overall Impression" are well and good, however inappropriately dinging a beer by scoring it against one's own personal tastes and not the standards by which it should be judged against is unacceptable practice and should be brought to the attention of the competition organizer.

I really think that this is a bit absurd.  I prefer drier tasting BDSAs too because they are generally the better ones  :)  But despite that, do judges not have discretion to determine what is a 30 point beer and what is a 45 point beer by taste when they both fit the guidelines?

It's hard to convey the essence of a beer in a BJCP writeup, which is why I think you can't really learn about beer just from reading the BJCP.  The standard for this style is that it should be "digestable" (to quote Marc Limet) .  Sweeter versions exist, and can be done well, but I think it's harder to do.  Also, you should know that FG does not correlate directly to sweetness because there is a difference in taste between a beer with a lot of dextrines and simply an under-attenuated beer (the type of residual sugar left is different), and also the sensory perception of dry is dependent on other things like bitterness, body, etc.  The judge is talking about the taste of the beer, as he/she does not have a hydrometer.  Chances are that even if your FG was withing style guideliness, it tasted too sweet.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2011, 05:27:24 AM »
I had a beer win a gold in the MCAB.   2 weeks later in a different competition it got a 28.5 and was described as "lifeless and not to style".  First round of the AHA the same beer got a 40.  Same batch, same bottling.  So who was right?
All three were right, for the bottle in front of them under the circumstances at the time.  But the fact that 2 out of 3 scored it well tells me that it was better than a 28.5, so something may have happened to that bottle.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline anthony

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2011, 05:56:37 AM »
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... ???    


So, you were within the style guidelines... that's like hitting the broad side of a barn.  Many of the well regarded Belgian Dark Strongs are dry (the Trappists hit 87-88% AA).   Just because a dozen beers are listed in the guidelines as being of this style does not mean they can't range from 35 - 45 point beers.  I think "I prefer" could be shorthand for "It is generally accepted that many exemplary beers of this style are"...

Guidelines are just guidelines.  Does every beer with no apparent flaws that fits the huge range of parameters allowed for most styles score a 50?  Absolutely not... being "to style" means nothing more than not being disqualified.  There are technical aspects, but also asthetic... otherwise, we could simply use a lab analysis to do scoring.

Meh, the first beer listed in the BJCP guidelines for Belgian Strong Dark, when fresh, well treated, etc. better score 50... and the last beer (in BSDA) better score ~37... if I send in a Westy 12 fresh, well treated from the brewery, anything less than 50, to me at least, means there is some sort of uncalibrated scoring going on from novice judges... I mean honestly, it isn't my fault if everyone hasn't made it to In De Vrede to taste the beer, but if I see a Master level sort of judge on the scoresheet, I expect if they haven't at least made it to Belgium yet, they've had the opportunity to taste the 50 point example of this beer.

Offline spointon

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2011, 07:16:53 AM »
Good point anthony!  I am not trying to drag down the whole of BJCP judging, I was merely illustrating that it is imperfect in its consistency.  Maybe I have a strong misconception, but I feel like the style guidelines exist to say "here is what must be evident in a classic example, and here is what will never be present in a classic example".  While I realize that authentic Trappist versions of BSDA beers are drier and more digestible, the abbey versions are recognized as being sweeter and that that is not a fault.

When a style definition specifically states this or that as acceptable, then it follows that the existence of that very thing should not be used as a means to lower a score or put one beer "under" another.  That would be like a judge saying that a kolsch has a low level of sulfur and they simply prefer a kolsch that does not display any sulfur...even though the style guideline specifically says "Some yeasts may give a slight winy or sulfury character (this characteristic is also optional, but not a fault)."

See where I am coming from?       


Offline gordonstrong

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2011, 12:35:22 PM »
Judging is subjective.  Sometimes you get a bad draw.  Part of the game.  Two years ago, I had a robust porter score 44, 46, and 22 in three successive weeks. Guess which one of those weeks was the first round NHC?

On the BDSA example, the judge could have meant that although the individual components of the beer met ranges in the guidelines, that the overall beer didn't work as well.  That's a hard point to capture, for many judges as well (particularly ones who judge so close to the guidelines that they don't try a wide range of examples).  The "I prefer" bit could be trying to say how the balance should be tweaked, and to not interpret the individual changes as being something that would put it out of style.

Or they could not like Kasteel or Gulden Draak and couldn't wait to tell you.

The BJCP doesn't train judges per se.  It has a system for evaluation, and a lot of training materials.  Many people use them as part of training, but the results vary widely.  There is no one way to judge, just like there is no one way to brew.  Teaching one method as The Way is not something I want to see.  The exam (should) measure how competent judges are based on how they practice their craft.  That is what we care about.

If you don't like BJCP style judging, you should try going to a beer festival and seeing what is selected as people's choice.  Or read one of those beer review type sites and see which beers are consistently ranked as best.  Then imagine how your beer would be ranked using one of those methods.  Reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried."  If you've got a better way to judge beer, let me know.  Seriously.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline johnf

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2011, 12:54:28 PM »


If you don't like BJCP style judging, you should try going to a beer festival and seeing what is selected as people's choice.  Or read one of those beer review type sites and see which beers are consistently ranked as best.  Then imagine how your beer would be ranked using one of those methods.  Reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried."  If you've got a better way to judge beer, let me know.  Seriously.

That would really simplify judging if we followed the rating site method. Brewers wouldn't even need to send in beer. You just need the style, whether or not it was barrel aged, what type of barrel, and how rare it is.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #51 on: May 06, 2011, 12:56:51 PM »


If you don't like BJCP style judging, you should try going to a beer festival and seeing what is selected as people's choice.  Or read one of those beer review type sites and see which beers are consistently ranked as best.  Then imagine how your beer would be ranked using one of those methods.  Reminds me of the Winston Churchill quote, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried."  If you've got a better way to judge beer, let me know.  Seriously.

That would really simplify judging if we followed the rating site method. Brewers wouldn't even need to send in beer. You just need the style, whether or not it was barrel aged, what type of barrel, and how rare it is.

Or "is it an imperial stout?"  "No"  "You lose"
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline hosedragger

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #52 on: May 06, 2011, 01:08:12 PM »
WOW !! I was the original post on this subject.It was my first ever post to this forum. It has certainly taken on  a direction I did not anticipate. I just wanted an answer to what I thought was a simple question. Lets see.... it went from a couple of legitimate answers and congratulations to the newbie brewer (me) to bashing AHA it's rules, It's procedures, It' judges, It's competition director (sorry Janis). You people scare me and I am not sure I will participate in this forum again. In my youth I competed in and coached sports. Sportsmanship was the greatest lesson to be taught and learned. Not much of it here. Sorry for the post. :(

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #53 on: May 06, 2011, 01:40:23 PM »
Once an answer is gained in a thread, it can often take a turn and go off on a tangent.  I wouldn't be too put off by a display of the passion for this hobby that many people have.  This is one of the best brewing forums out there, in terms of knowledgable folks.
Lennie
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Offline jhwk

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #54 on: May 06, 2011, 01:45:50 PM »
+1 To Tom, you got your answer and a few kudos to boot.

As brewers, we are passionate about our beer, otherwise, we would be BMC...  Don't be intimidated by the general populace.  They all have opinions and would love to tell you about them.  R,DW,HAHB  ;D

and it was a great first post, btw. :-*
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #55 on: May 06, 2011, 01:49:14 PM »
It IS the best brewing forum IMO.  BUT, I'm starting to see an increased trend of ranting, and what almost appears to be personal attacks or strong willed opinions. Let's not get ourselves into that quagmire folks!  Cheers!!!
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline centpa

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #56 on: May 06, 2011, 01:53:28 PM »
You people scare me and I am not sure I will participate in this forum again. In my youth I competed in and coached sports.

Then weren't you also taught to wear a cup?   ;)

Message boards can get that way. Having said that, I frequent other boards where this would have been considered the most cordial discussion ever.  Your post sparked some good discussion and debate. You should feel good, not scared.

(And yes I'm new to posting here, but I'm a 9 yr vet of homebrewing and have been lurking. )

Offline bluesman

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #57 on: May 06, 2011, 02:01:03 PM »
WOW !! I was the original post on this subject.It was my first ever post to this forum. It has certainly taken on  a direction I did not anticipate. I just wanted an answer to what I thought was a simple question. Lets see.... it went from a couple of legitimate answers and congratulations to the newbie brewer (me) to bashing AHA it's rules, It's procedures, It' judges, It's competition director (sorry Janis). You people scare me and I am not sure I will participate in this forum again. In my youth I competed in and coached sports. Sportsmanship was the greatest lesson to be taught and learned. Not much of it here. Sorry for the post. :(

Don't be alarmed by the responses. There has been a healthy discussion in regards to your question and it has only transitioned into further related discussion. This is a somewhat typical thread progression. Our membership is passionate about this and other relates topics. AFAIAC There were no "unsportmanlike" responses. The AHA forum can be quite interactive at times as folks present their information and opinions. Sometimes there is even humor injected into a thread topic but hopefully it will be taken with a grain of salt.
 
No need fo an apology. We welcome your post and hope you will continue to join us in the future. Welcome to the AHA Forum hosedragger.  :)
Ron Price

Offline glastctbrew

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #58 on: May 06, 2011, 02:11:33 PM »
WOW !! I was the original post on this subject.It was my first ever post to this forum. It has certainly taken on  a direction I did not anticipate. I just wanted an answer to what I thought was a simple question. Lets see.... it went from a couple of legitimate answers and congratulations to the newbie brewer (me) to bashing AHA it's rules, It's procedures, It' judges, It's competition director (sorry Janis). You people scare me and I am not sure I will participate in this forum again. In my youth I competed in and coached sports. Sportsmanship was the greatest lesson to be taught and learned. Not much of it here. Sorry for the post. :(

Never feel bad for asking a question!  And as others have pointed out, threads often go where the OP never foresaw.  It as been a healthy discussion and members of the AHA Governing Committee have been reading the thread and in some cases responding.  The NHC competition will not improve without feed back so IMHO you started a great thread!  It has also served the always useful purpose of providing an outlet for frustrations and as Shrek said (Yep, my kids had me watching Shrek last weekend so it came to mind) "Better out than in I always say."  :)

Oh yah, and GRATS  on making to the second round!
Scott
Still Hill Brewery

Offline denny

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Re: AHA First Round
« Reply #59 on: May 06, 2011, 02:36:00 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... ???   

I've made comments like that in the overall impression section if the scoresheet, but I've never let my preferences affect the score I assign.
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