Author Topic: Competition letdown  (Read 7263 times)

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2011, 02:06:30 PM »
Keep in mind that BJCP comps don't judge "what's the best beer" they judge what is the best example to style.

That's only sometimes true. For categories like Belgian Specialty (16E) and Specialty (23A), the judges can, or should, judge "hedonically" if no set base style is mentioned.

You may make a great beer but it may not fit into the judge's mind into the category you've entered in.  As an example, I believe if Dogfish Head 60minute IPA was entered into a BJCP comp, it'd score in the low to mid 30s.

It would have to be a bad bottle of Dogfish Head 60 minute, given as that's one of the BJCP commercial examples for AIPA.

As a rule of thumb, a well-made beer which is entered in the right category, which has no technical flaws, should score in the mid-30s. It's the intangible qualities - recipe, ingredients, freshness/proper aging - that lift beers in to the high 30s to 40s.

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2011, 02:10:46 PM »
I entered a RIS in the NHC and it scored poorly (28).  After I read the scoresheets and drank another one of those RIS I was almost embarrassed I entered it (and brewed it) as a RIS.  It's just a really strong brown ale, not a bad beer but not a RIS by any stretch.

Strong brown ale might mean it's a competitive Old Ale (19A) or possibly even a Baltic Porter (12C). Taste it while reading the guidelines for those styles and see how it stacks up.

Offline centpa

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2011, 06:40:13 AM »
How does everybody deal with competition letdown?  I mean, you think you have the best beer you've evermade, and the judges rip it to shreds!  I just got the results from a local comp., two beers in the mid 20's and one a 35.  Just when I think I'm getting to be a good brewer, doing all the right things, starters, aeration, temp/ferm control, reading all the how to books, I just dont seem to be getting anywhere.  I've had it with competitions.  I like my beer and my friends like it too, that's all that matters.

I throw rocks at baby bunnies.

Offline SpanishCastleAle

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2011, 06:48:47 AM »
I entered a RIS in the NHC and it scored poorly (28).  After I read the scoresheets and drank another one of those RIS I was almost embarrassed I entered it (and brewed it) as a RIS.  It's just a really strong brown ale, not a bad beer but not a RIS by any stretch.

Strong brown ale might mean it's a competitive Old Ale (19A) or possibly even a Baltic Porter (12C). Taste it while reading the guidelines for those styles and see how it stacks up.
I just looked over those and it's not carbonated enough to be a Baltic Porter but it might work as an Old Ale.  Thanks!

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2011, 10:08:10 AM »
As a judge myself, I can honestly tell you: The whole trouble with competitions is that they are judged by humans.  And as such, there can be any number of things to screw up a human's judgment.

1) They might not be trained or certified in the BJCP program.
2) They might have eaten onions or garlic the night before, or just smoked a cigarette, or didn't bother to brush their teeth.
3) They might have a head cold.
4) Their palates might be fatigued from already having consumed dozens of beer samples.
5) Their mom/spouse/children might not love them.
6) They might have a really weak personality and believe that if the National judge sitting next to them detects the slightest hint of DMS or diacetyl, then by golly he must be right and it's a terrible beer, even if they don't detect the same thing.
7) They might have time pressure to get that scoresheet out in less than 5 minutes.

It is for these reasons that I always recommend that if you want really good feedback from competitions, you NEED to enter each beer in not just one, not even just two, but THREE competitions.  Then you'll have at least 6-8 scoresheets, and can look at all of them at one time, and throw away the ones where the judges obviously did something stupid or didn't know what the hell they were talking about.  After throwing out half of the scoresheets, you're left with maybe ~3 good scoresheets and can make improvements in the future based off those.

Seriously, this is exactly the process I've used to get the most out of competitions, and I think I'm making better beers because of it.
Dave

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Offline gmac

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2011, 10:11:38 AM »
Having never entered a competition, can you enter the same beer (different bottles) in multiple categories?  Seems like one that wouldn't do well in one could do well in another.  I would expect that marginal beers wouldn't do well in either since they may not be clearly adhering to the style guidelines but can it be done?

Offline mrcceo

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2011, 10:15:04 AM »
Try this. Go to the BJCP website and look up the 2008 style guidelines, find the specifications for the beer you entered into the competition and look at the end where they give you the commercial examples. Go to your local beer store and see if you can find a few fresh examples that have been stored properly and compare it to your beer.  When you do this make sure the're all at the correct serving temp, sit in a quiet room with no distractions, and concentrate on what your experiencing.  In addition while your on the BJCP site download a few copies of their score sheets and try to fill them out as you do your tasting. Then let us know how you rated your beer against the benchmark commercial samples.  As was previously suggested read Gordon Strong’s new book Brewing Better Beer it will help you immensely.

Offline denny

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2011, 10:15:51 AM »
Having never entered a competition, can you enter the same beer (different bottles) in multiple categories?  Seems like one that wouldn't do well in one could do well in another.  I would expect that marginal beers wouldn't do well in either since they may not be clearly adhering to the style guidelines but can it be done?

Yeah, that's almost always allowed.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #38 on: May 20, 2011, 10:58:37 AM »
It is for these reasons that I always recommend that if you want really good feedback from competitions, you NEED to enter each beer in not just one, not even just two, but THREE competitions.  Then you'll have at least 6-8 scoresheets, and can look at all of them at one time, and throw away the ones where the judges obviously did something stupid or didn't know what the hell they were talking about.  After throwing out half of the scoresheets, you're left with maybe ~3 good scoresheets and can make improvements in the future based off those.

Seriously, this is exactly the process I've used to get the most out of competitions, and I think I'm making better beers because of it.

+1, that's just about the exact process I use to get the most out of competition feedback.
Joe

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #39 on: May 20, 2011, 01:36:08 PM »
Having never entered a competition, can you enter the same beer (different bottles) in multiple categories?  Seems like one that wouldn't do well in one could do well in another.  I would expect that marginal beers wouldn't do well in either since they may not be clearly adhering to the style guidelines but can it be done?

Yes. There's nothing to keep you from entering the same beer in different categories. It's sort of a waste of money, though. Better to sample your beer with the guidelines in front of you, figure out which category it best fits into, and enter it in the right category in the first place.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #40 on: May 20, 2011, 01:45:11 PM »
How does everybody deal with competition letdown?

That's an easy one; I don't participate in competitions.

+1

I've never submitted a beer to a comp but several BJCP beer judges have suggested I should.  I don't really care what a judge says, it's my beer and I make it for me and my wife and friends.  As long as they are happy, I'm happy.

Paul
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Offline punatic

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2011, 02:06:53 PM »
Having never entered a competition, can you enter the same beer (different bottles) in multiple categories?  Seems like one that wouldn't do well in one could do well in another.  I would expect that marginal beers wouldn't do well in either since they may not be clearly adhering to the style guidelines but can it be done?

Yes. There's nothing to keep you from entering the same beer in different categories. It's sort of a waste of money, though. Better to sample your beer with the guidelines in front of you, figure out which category it best fits into, and enter it in the right category in the first place.

If money is the consideration, wouldn't it be more economical to sample the beer with a list of flaws in front of you, figure out what to change in your brewing techniques, and skip the competition?
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ccarlson

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #42 on: May 20, 2011, 02:09:06 PM »
Having never entered a competition, can you enter the same beer (different bottles) in multiple categories?  Seems like one that wouldn't do well in one could do well in another.  I would expect that marginal beers wouldn't do well in either since they may not be clearly adhering to the style guidelines but can it be done?

Yes. There's nothing to keep you from entering the same beer in different categories. It's sort of a waste of money, though. Better to sample your beer with the guidelines in front of you, figure out which category it best fits into, and enter it in the right category in the first place.

If money is the consideration, wouldn't it be more economical to sample the beer with a list of flaws in front of you, figure out what to change in your brewing techniques, and skip the competition?

You don't get any ribbons like that.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2011, 04:35:39 AM by ccarlson »

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #43 on: May 22, 2011, 01:52:35 AM »
If money is the consideration, wouldn't it be more economical to sample the beer with a list of flaws in front of you, figure out what to change in your brewing techniques, and skip the competition?

Yep. That's why being a beer judge, or at least training yourself to recognize and troubleshoot off-flavors, makes you a better brewer. It should be no surprise that homebrewing heavyweights like Jamil Zainasheff, Drew Beechum, Randy Mosher and Gordon Strong are also highly ranked judges.

You can also skip the time and expense of competition by just going to your local HB club with some of your beer and asking for feedback from experienced judges or brewers. If you are interested in competition, you can use the feedback to determine if a marginal beer is worth entering, or what style an "out of category" beer might fit into.

Offline punatic

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Re: Competition letdown
« Reply #44 on: May 22, 2011, 06:48:11 AM »
If money is the consideration, wouldn't it be more economical to sample the beer with a list of flaws in front of you, figure out what to change in your brewing techniques, and skip the competition?

Yep. That's why being a beer judge, or at least training yourself to recognize and troubleshoot off-flavors, makes you a better brewer. It should be no surprise that homebrewing heavyweights like Jamil Zainasheff, Drew Beechum, Randy Mosher and Gordon Strong are also highly ranked judges.

Yep.  And that's why, as a high ranked judge, while homebrewing heavyweights like Jamil Zainasheff, Drew Beechum, Randy Mosher and Gordon Strong were still s***ting yellow, I wised up, realized that ribbons, medals and trophys are just ego candy, and quit participating in competitions.
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


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