I would rather say something like "while the sweetness is within the guidelines, it doesn't work to provide the best balance in this beer" or something like that so it doesn't come off as saying "this beer is awesome but I don't like it anyway".
This is good.
One thing I always teach in the BJCP classes that the Falcons put on is something similar to this and I think that it needs to be beaten into judge's heads.
Assuming a perfectly spherical judge in a vacuum, we can also assume that judge's intent is to communicate a sincere opinion on a submitted entry. (As in physics, we know how well those assumptions play out in the real world)
- How you choose to phrase something affects how well the brewer will receive it.
For instance, "use less roasted malt" will cause an entrant who used no roasted malt to say - "this daft git doesn't know what the hell he's talking about" Take the extra few seconds and offer the entrant - "there's a harsh roast-like acridness to the beer. Suggest either using less roasted grains or checking your water chemistry" This way, the brewer knows what you've perceived and why you're making the suggestion at hand.
The other thing that we need to do better, and again I think this is a flaw of how most training for the exam is done, don't focus solely on the negative. Judges, particularly newer judges fresh from the exam, spend most of their time hunting out the flaws and beating on the entrant for this, that and the other. If you're not offering positives, then why is the entrant going to look at doing any of this again? When I'm judging an entry, I try and record the raw impression and then synthesize it into positive commentary and pointed feedback.