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Tom from Raleigh
04/23/09 11:04 AM  
Straight Lambic in Comps

I brewed a lambic in January that I'm planning to enter in the straight (unblended) lambic category at a large regional comp in Charlotte, NC. I'm concerned that I'm going to be throwing away my money, though. When I look at the style guidelines, there's only one example listed, Cantillon Bruscella 1900 Grand Cru. This beer is stunning, by the way, but how many judges will have tried it?

Have other folks gotten useful feedback on their Lambics from comps? Do the judges mark down for lack of carbonation, even though it's acceptable?

Al B
04/23/09 12:52 PM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps
I haven't entered a straight lambic, The Guidelines say: Virtually to completely uncarbonated, so I wouldn't think it would be marked down since its the style and not just an acceptable trait.

The few that I have had were slightly carbonated from the bottle (Drie Font. Doesjel I think is another example). So I would think a straight lambic would be marked down if it was highly carbed like a gueuze.

Not sure that helped.

04/23/09 09:36 PM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps
I entered my straight lambic into the MHTG Franco Belgian Challenge and it took first place. I say enter as there are lot more judges with some great palates and knowledge !!!
04/24/09 08:22 AM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps
If it's tasty, & if the taste fits the category, you should score well. I suggest entering it as whatever it fits best as. (Straight lambic or Gueuze).

Even if you don't place, if you are looking for feedback, you are not throwing away your money. Certain styles really don't have many commercial examples (such as California Common & Classic American Pilsner. But a good judge, following the style guidelines correctly, could should still be able to judge this beer fairly even if they haven't tasted a commercial example. It's probably more important that they know sour beers well and are familiar with how the lambic family of beers should taste.

04/24/09 08:28 AM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps
If it's not carbonated you'll get knocked big if entered as gueuze....

And, while entering comps can be good in competition, I have entered funky beers that have gotten bad scores because the judge clearly either didn't like brett or know what it was. Judging at comps is way too subjective and while sometimes you get some good feedback for the most part it's pretty worthless. I had a beer that got best in show in one comp and then scored a low 3rd in the next... you just never know how people are going to receive your beer especially if they've been drinking other stuff all morning.

04/24/09 01:28 PM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps
Whoops...supposed to be "while entering BEERS in competition can be good"...
04/25/09 07:57 AM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps
January seems a little young to get any meaningful feedback, no?

04/29/09 01:34 AM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps
Myself, along with 3 other judges recently judged category 17 at one of the NHC prelims. Since straight lambic is often misunderstood, I took the time to briefly re-introduce the style when we were heading into that phase of the flight. Some judges at the table were familiar with Cantillon Bruocsella or Doesjel, and others definitely benefited from reviewing that these are often completely still beers. Lots of great beers in the flight, one of my most common sticking points in feedback is that the beers were simply not aged long enough. MHTG Franco Belgian Challenge looks like a great comp, btw..
Tom from Raleigh
04/30/09 10:39 PM  
Re: Straight Lambic in Comps

You offer sound counsel. I I welcome feedback about the beer, but if it's not well informed, then I'll have wasted time, beer and money entering it.


It is young. It's mostly sour with some complexity, but could benefit from aging. Now, it reminds me of the lambic I drank on draft in Brussels.


That's the ticket! I'll enter the beer in a specialist comp!

Thanks to all for your feedback.

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