The Results

A couple weeks ago I talked about submitting this beer as an American Pale to the annual Slurp & Burp competition. Yesterday, I got back the results.

As a short aside: well done to the people running S&B! Those results came back quickly!

And those results were…not good. Not good at all. An average score of 19.5 out of 50.

I have to admit, this is my own fault. Looking over the style guidelines, this beer should have been given more hops if I wanted to enter it into that style. If I really had been doing my research, I probably would have entered it as an American Amber ale, as the judging notes suggested I had stronger malt qualities in this beer.

I got some positives: the carbonation level was appropriate and visually the beer looked good. Then I got some conflicting information: one judge said that the beer finished flat, yet both judges said the carbonation was good. I don’t know what that means.

I also got some troublesome messages: one judge suggested that my beer tasted ‘infected’ but then didn’t use any words to describe what that infection tastes like; examples could include musty, vegetal, diacetyl (butterscotch-something mentioned in aroma but not flavor) etc etc. Again: I don’t know what this means, so I don’t know how to fix it but it may be a place to start.

It is also possible that the beer just went too long before being judged, or was kept too warm at some point. It’s hard to tell and once that entry is out of my hands, I prefer to just let it go. Obsessing over something I can’t control just wouldn’t help.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting a little but the good information I can take from this outweighs the rest.

8 thoughts on “The Results”

  1. It does sound like the crtiques are subjective to the point of being meaningless. ‘Tis the trouble with those kinds of events; without definite guidelines – that you don’t have to research, they should be readily available – no one can tell anything except personal taste.

    1. Well, there are guidelines: generally BJCP guides are given to every judging group, so they can review what the standards should be. But there are good judges and bad judges. However, what debate class taught me, if nothing else, was this: The judge is never wrong. If they don’t buy the argument, it is because you failed to present it properly/convincingly/with evidence, etc.

      So I can take their words with a little salt but I have to acknowledge that I could have done things better.

  2. I have had this same problem with local homebrew competitions (both Slurp and Burp AND Cheers to Belgian Beers). You’ll pardon the pun, but I judge these competitions to be amateur hour when it comes to giving constructive feedback on homebrews. Each time our judging sheets were a mess. All Incoherent babbling and conflicting statements. I realize I don’t brew award-worthy beer, but a little effort on their part to get judges that can string a series of words together that work as an actual description would be a start. Ok, rant over.

    1. One of the best things that happened at the OBC’s Fall Classic was a brief, 20 minute overview on how to fill out a judging sheet. Judges said that it was pretty helpful and the feedback we got from doing that was generally positive.

      But thanks for reminding me not to take this too seriously. When I first saw the score I really had a sad moment, because I didn’t think I was doing THAT badly, right? As I said; the judges aren’t ever wrong (it’s my job as the brewer to make the right beer and enter it in the right category) but I don’t have to take it as the Word.

  3. Tough break, but good that you’re thinking positively and learning from it. I haven’t entered my beer into a competition yet because I’m not sure how I would take the results.

    1. Have you ever judged before? Doing so might give you a little bit more perspective on what the process is (both good and bad) and that certainly helped me take it with a grain of salt.

      1. No, but I’ve considered trying to. We’ve got a very big and established beer culture in Austin, so it may take some work to break in. That’s a very good idea.

      2. If nothing else, taking the BJCP class (if you haven’t already) will also give you a huge understanding of beer styles and flaws in general, along with terms to use to help describe things. Given Austin’s size and the beer culture there, I would imagine there are classes.

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