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10/12/11 09:30 PM  
BSDA color
I went and picked up my score sheets today from a competition I entered, and for the most part I completely agree with the thoughts on my beers. This is the second time I've entered this BSDA into a competition(which has taken runner up BOS both times btw), and both times I've gotten comments that it isn't dark enough. The low end of the style guidelines is 12 SRM, and this beer is at least 18, if not darker. Is it a case of the name just throwing off the judges?
10/13/11 08:02 AM  
Re: BSDA color
I think that many judges look for very noticeable and obvious character in every category. So if you make a damn good beer but it's not as dark as the standards they ding you. I entered a comp this past weekend and got dinged for not enough phenols, though it did take BOS. I think it had too much about two months ago (which is probably more what they were looking for), but has settled in nicely now.

My opinion towards judges it that they are like officers on cops. They don't know how you got to where you are but they try and offer advice and counseling because they think they have the answers. I was told to use the proper yeast and proper temperature on my BDSA. I fermented as high as 86F with WLP530. I underpitched and did not oxygenate, but I did an open fermenation. Then I bulk aged for like 8 weeks before bottling. I it had plenty of phenols but I got them to simmer down.

Tiny gripe over.

tom sawyer
10/13/11 08:33 AM  
Re: BSDA color
You asked them for their comments, in fact you paid for them. They gave them to you. Just because there are sometimes generous ranges to guidelines doesn't mean its all good if you fall inside. Outer edges of a range might be expected to elicit this kind of response.

When I judge a beer in a category with "dark" in the actual name, I kind of want it to be dark. Apparently some other judges agree with this simplistic philosophy. If you don't then keep brewing that beer like it is. It is your beer after all. If you want to win, and for the life of me I don't know why that is a big deal, then add a little sinemar or something.

When it comes to phenols, serving temperature is important. Even the good contests are limited as far as the temp of the beer in a flight. If you took BOS then you obviously weren't dinged real hard. I was told there is no such thing as a perfect beer so I try not to award a 50, and in order to take points off I feel like I have to come up with something to comment on, right or wrong, significant or insig.

tom sawyer
10/13/11 08:36 AM  
Re: BSDA color
Since I'm on a rant I thought of one other thing. Color and flavor kind of correlate, so with a beer that has "dark" in the title I'm also looking for dark flavors such as chocolate, caramel or plum/prune. If I get plenty of flavor and the beer is a little lighter in color, I'm OK with that. But I wouldn't doubt that a person's perception of flavor is skewed by the visual assessment that a beer is kind of light in color.
10/13/11 03:38 PM  
Re: BSDA color
While I try to tell myself I don't care about winning as long as I like my beer, my competitive nature gets the best of me sometimes...

The only reason I started this thread was due to my confusion after checking the color against srm charts and the bjcp guidelines. At this point I'm starting to wonder if I'm missing something in regards to evaluating color, despite reading various things on the subject.

10/13/11 05:38 PM  
Re: BSDA color
All we as homebrewers can do is hope we like our own beer and maybe friends or family. Some homebrewers thrive on competition and brew beer specifically for comps. I brew for my tastes and decided to drop a couple into a competition for shits and giggles. I did well in the two I entered. The and the judges did their judging fairly.

With that said as far as I see it, my entrance fee is to pay for a judging not an opinion of how I should brew. If they want to say things like, "not dark enough" "low carbonation" "could use more esters" "too cloudy" "strong diacetyl", that's just fine. They are telling me what the flaw is in the beer. Now I might be weird in taking this position but I will not send a beer that has off flavor with the intention of the judges telling me what's wrong with the beer. Giving opinions are fine but giving advice about someone's process or yeast based on speculation I don't like. I know the unsolicited speculative advice comes with the territory of homebrew comps, but that doesn't mean I can't voice my dislike of that aspect.

tom sawyer
10/14/11 09:24 AM  
Re: BSDA color
Smelly, I know what you mean. Its human nature to want to win a contest. And I'm sure you're reading the color right, its just that like I said theres an acceptable range and then theres the right color.

As for offering advice on fixing problems, they teach you to do that as part of the evaluation. Its advice for newbie brewers of course, and its generally a shot in the dark because you don't even know if a beer is extract or AG. I suppose it is designed as much to demonstrate that the judge knows something about brewing. Projecting a certain level of expertise might give one a bit of confidence in the overall judging effort. I'd agree that its generally superfluous to the critique but it doesn't take much extra time. I'll take that under advisement and try and minimize the time I spend on those kinds of comments since that info is generally available in several formats. You might vocalize your oopinion to the BJCP governing body, they are just people trying to give the contests some order and serve what is apparently a growing need.

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