Licking Wounds from First BJCP Event

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by GreenKrusty101, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    Just entered my first competition. I'm nervous for the results. My stout that I put all the thought, effort, and research is an oxidized mess, and the APA I just threw together and entered for shits and giggles is drinking quite nice right now. Go figure.
     
  2. Keep in mind, we are talking two different beers...the one that was "phenol alcohol present" was a 4% Oatmeal Stout...there was almost no alcohol presence of any kind.
     
  3. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    Well pull up a chair, it's story time.

    I went to the local homebrew club meeting where I only know a couple of people. I took some stuff, one beer being an EngBW that I made in the same vein of JW Lees. It was also oaked in a whiskey barrel.

    First guy that gave feedback it said that it was too sweet. I was expecting too-sweet to be the common critique, but I'm very confident that it's not. Next person said that it was too boozy. Boozy? WTF? I thought about the comment and them told him that it aged in a whiskey barrel. "Oh, that's it". Now please, you shouldn't extrapolate boozy from a beer that has a slight whiskey note. The third comment was that it was lacking in hop bitterness. Then the light-bulb went off. The beer is just a bit out of balance.Not under-attenuated, too much crystal, etc.

    Frankly I know what me beer tastes like, but also picking up defects and knowing what to do is an art. I'd say that it's the hardest part about brewing.
     
  4. jklinck

    jklinck Savant (255) Washington Jul 23, 2007

    As a side note, not getting all of the labels off of the bottle is a horrible first impression to make. But I still see these in competitions.
     
  5. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (715) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    Sensory perceptions fluctuate from person to person and are not always easy to verbalize. The phenol alcohol comment does sound like it is coming from a rookie judge who made a terminology mistake, but it doesn't mean he wasn't tasting anything. When I read "phenol alcohol" I assumed that the judge probably meant phenolic flavor/aroma compounds (e.g., spiciness) were encountered. Or maybe he meant fusel alcohol notes (which could be slightly solventy). Either way, don't sweat this stuff unless repeated comments from other non-biased tasters suggests some underlying truth to them.
     
  6. Hmm... I guess you learn something everyday. Although according to the #1 source of reliable information in the world (Wikipedia, haha), a phenol is not classified as an alcohol:

    "Although similar to alcohols, phenols have unique properties and are not classified as alcohols (since the hydroxyl group is not bonded to a saturated carbon atom)."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenols

    From the perspective of beer judging, I've never heard anyone call it a phenol alcohol. When judges talk about phenols and alcohol they are typically referring to two very different sensations. When they talk about alcohol, they're typically referencing hot or fusel alcohols, the lack there of, or trying to quantify the character of the alcohol (solventy, smooth, hot, warming, etc.). When they're talking phenols, they're referring to clove flavors, burnt rubber, medicinal, bandaid, etc.
     
  7. I judged a beer a few years ago in which the brewer didn't even attempt to remove the commercial label. As I recall, the beer reflected the same attention to detail as the bottle.
     
  8. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) California Dec 10, 2011

    It's always a crap shoot and in the west the IPA catagory is always the most entered or maxes out the quickest. Knowing that, I wouldn't enter a hoppy beer that old and then be bummed about the results. This may not be true for all regions though.
     
  9. Update: Against my better judgement, I emailed 1 of the judges from the comp. last Saturday. I picked the one I thought gave the best feedback, but NOT the best or worst score. He said he appreciated the email and that it was an odd comp in that there was only 1 judge per table (no checks or balances)...anyway, I feel better now.
     
  10. That is very odd, but not out of the question when judges are scarce. The alternative would be to combine categories, but then you'd end up with 15-20 or more beers in a flight (sounds great, but a PITA to judge). Personally, I would hate to judge a flight by myself. I lean on the other judges in the panel to compensate for my shortcomings, as, I would hope, they lean on me.
     
  11. One judge is very odd. You should enter a larger competition where they have at least 2 or even 3 per flight.

    I have often said that you need to read what the judge is saying on the sheet, and not take it personally. My brewing skills have increased from thinking about the feedback, and what steps I should take to improve the beer.
     
  12. I was helping out at a competition and one of the judges brought over a bottle that was so dirty inside that you could see the scrape lines where the brewer had shoved a bottle brush in. The beer was obviously infected and gross and I believe the judges were debating on whether to judge it at all.

    Oddly enough a number of the guys in my homebrew club don't bother to remove labels at all. It's ok when the label is intact, but when it is half on and half scrapped off it looks pretty shitty.
     
  13. I think the scores themselves are pretty arbitrary and mostly meaningless, but the feedback is always interesting.
     
  14. jklinck

    jklinck Savant (255) Washington Jul 23, 2007

    It states VERY specifically that there must be 2 judges per beer in a BJCP competition. If they have so few judges then they need to limit the entries or make it a multi day competition.
     
  15. jklinck

    jklinck Savant (255) Washington Jul 23, 2007

    That has been my experience as well. If you're getting lazy and taking shortcuts in such an easy task then chances are you're taking shortcuts in other steps of the brewing process.
     
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (775) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    When you say it states specifically, what is "it?" I believe the competition handbook suggests at least two judges per category, but does not require it. I have entered at least one BJCP sanctioned competition that only had one judge.
     
  17. They did limit entries...4 per person.
     
  18. jklinck

    jklinck Savant (255) Washington Jul 23, 2007

    No, I mean limit total entries in the competition. A pair of judges can judge around 25 beers in a day (12.5 each). More than that and you run into palatte fatigue issues, plus spending around ten minutes on each beer with a 30 minute break between morning and afternoon sessions that will make the competition around 5 hours. So multiply how many judges you have by 12.5 and that is the rough limit of how many beers should be in the competition. Now if you want to make it a two day event and all of the judges can make both days then you can double it. I can't empasize how important it is to have 2 judges per flight. I have a lot of judging experience and have caught things that Master judges missed as well as having novice judges catch things I have missed.
     
  19. quitter
     

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