Bottling for comp question

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by TooHopTooHandle, May 16, 2018.

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  1. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    So I recently sent out 4 beers to a comp(my first comp). 1 was bottle conditioned and 3 were filled off of the keg. I use a picnic tap and attached a bottling wand to it with a drilled stopper on it to keep the pressure in the bottle.
    So on the beers that I bottled off the keg the judges marked the score cards that the bottles were overfilled.

    Why does this matter if the bottles are overfilled(filled them as much as I could to eliminate as much oxygen as I could in the bottles)? I am just curious as to what the reasoning is behind this.

    FWIW all my beers scored in the 30s(not sure if that's good) and I took second place with my Czech pilsner (first time ever brewing a pilsner/lager)
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I'm not sure why they have that on the scoresheet. But it's not supposed to affect your score. That said, judges are human, and who knows what might be influencing them when they get to the characteristics that are scored?

    Low-Mid 30s are considered "Very Good." Upper 30s (starting at 38 IIRC) is the beginning of "Excellent." Keep working on flaws that the judges are identifying and shoot for the 40s. Once you're there, beware that you'll probably be disappointed with the beers that don't hit it. But don't put too much faith in comments from a single beer in single competition. OTOH if you're seeing similar comments on different entries or from different comps, pay close attention to those. There was an article in BYO a while back about (objectively) evaluating your homebrew (including through competitions), so if scores are important to you (or you just want to make better beer), you might want to check that out.
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  3. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    There was only 1 of the beers where I got similar comments (which I did notice some of the things they described and will correct that) . The judging really confused me because on 2 of the beers the judges comments contradicted each other. I understand they are human and everyone's palate is different, but just hard to better the beer when the comments contradict each other.
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    It happens. I once had an Pale Ale (I think) that needed both more hop aroma and less hop aroma. When two people (judges or others) are on opposite sides of a fence, I take it as a sign that the character is probably about right.

    When two judges are judging the same beer (in the same flight), don't assume they are right just because they make the same comment (they can/do influence each other), unless corroborated by similar comments on a different beer or from a different comp, or unless you can clearly identify the same flaw yourself. (Always keep a spare bottle for post-comp evaluation as you're reading the comments.)

    This is why it is very helpful to get as much feedback as possible (e.g. multiple comps). You're looking for the repeated comments.
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  5. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    I am gearing up now to get into some more comps. Unfortunately I don't have 3 of the 4 beers I entered so I got a few more in the works that ill be sending out to multiple different ones to see what the feed back is like.

    Thanks for your feed back @VikeMan its always appreciated it!
  6. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (13,619) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    As a BJCP judge since '94 I can say that the fill height is not a big issue at all unless you get a new judge. The only thing I look for is a ring, which indicates contamination, and will eventually be found out later on anyway - you just want to be careful opening that one! On a positive note, I haven't seen one of those in years.
  7. PortLargo

    PortLargo Zealot (510) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Agree . . . but I will make a comment if a bottle is noticeably over/under fill'ed. Same as if they use a cap that's non-regulation. I don't believe points are subtracted unless something dangerous occurs during opening (judge administrators jump in here).
    I haven't been so lucky!

    For the OP: study closely the qualifications of the judges. In most all cases you can trust comments from a Certified/National/Master more so than a Recognized/Non-Judge. In the long term it does tend to average out, so keep entering. As stated, scores can really vary, but a truly good beer does tend to work itself to the top of a comp. If you're serious about making improvements keep the score sheets attached to your brew/tasting notes for reference when brewing again.
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  8. jmarsh123

    jmarsh123 Meyvn (1,319) Mar 31, 2010 Indiana

    It's checked because there is a box for it. I've noted it before, but something like that would never really affect the score I would give.

    Judges disagree all the time and have to come to a relatively close consensus. I've had beers I gushed over and then gave a 35 to because I had to lower it to match my partner before.
    NeroFiddled likes this.
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,613) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Is that a BJCP requirement? How close in value do the scores have to be? Do both (or the three) judges need to make changes? For example, if one judge scores a beer at 38 and another at 23 does the 38 come down a bit and the 23 up a bit?

    jbakajust1 likes this.
  10. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (13,619) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Yeah, that's pretty much how it works. You want to be within 5 points if possible. The problem that I often run into are "alpha" judges who think they're in charge and want to run the show when in fact they're not really at that point yet - it's just a personality thing.
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  11. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (777) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    We tend to have a no more than 7 point spread around here (Willamette Valley, OR). We can also have the "alpha" judge (sometimes me) that tends to have more weight on their push for scoring. We always have at least one BJCP judge at each table, sometimes more, and they hold the deciding factor. If it is two BJCP judges then discussion takes place to bring it within 7 points.
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  12. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I have seen high fills on beers bottled from kegs. There is no sediment in the bottle, and that is one way to minimize oxidation. Last year I saw a few right up to under the cap.

    I remember the guideline from the BJCP saying 7 points, some completions like a 5 point spread.
  13. TooHopTooHandle

    TooHopTooHandle Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2016 New York

    Yes I am that guy lol. Basically almost touching the cap its so full. Reason being is some of the bottles were filled almost a month in advance because the keg was bout to kick and I needed keezer space. So I filled my comp bottles and wanted as little chance of oxidation as possible lol
  14. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,903) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The judge I was with said he had seen it before.

    I commented that it was very high. That tells the brewer that we are judging her/his beer, and that we are paying attention.
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  15. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (2,200) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    Drew had a brewer on in one of his recent podcast and he works the competition circuit, his name fails me (ok looked it up Nick Corona [Brew Files Eps: 31]). He made note of this same thing, he said he used to fill his up all the way to the top to prevent oxidation, but when he started seeing those remarks on his sheet, he quit. Basically stating that there should be no deductions, but didn't want his beer to stand out for something that might not be perceived as normal. Good episode to listen to, he gives a lot of tips and discusses his strategies around competitions.
  16. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (238) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Judges who mark down "overfilled" are wasting their time and ours. It means NOTHING. It doesn't affect your score. Ignore and move on.
  17. Push_the_limits

    Push_the_limits Initiate (60) Feb 8, 2018 Antarctica

    It's funny that the fill level has come into question. It's something that is a purposeful decision by the brewer, no? I don't think it should be called overfilling, it should be called filling. hah. It has obvious benefits including extra beer. I suppose judges want to see if there a ring?
  18. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,030) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Maybe. But really, if the beer is going to be dinged for an infection, then it had better taste/smell/feel infected. BJCP beers are not supposed to be judged on anything that may or may not have happened in the process, only on results.
    hopfenunmaltz likes this.
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