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ozbrewer

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GDay All

I was reading yesterday in BYO, that one of the Austin Texas clubs are running a compitition, unlike any other i have ever heard about. The basics is that the beers are judged on brewing ability, and not style guidelines....

I realy think this is a good idea, and we should do this

They have used an exhample of dog shows, but i would prefer to use an exhample of horse shows, as this is what im accustomed to....

ok

Imagine this....2 competitors, 1 has the best bread hose on the planet, bone structure is fantastic, its parents were born of champions, its parents parents were riden by royalty, it stands still for the judging, has perfect coloration, its handler is waring the best uniform that money can buy....you wouldent want to ride this horse because it may be injured, may get a scratch, and his life in the show ring will be gone forever....

horse 2 is an old hag, scared and brused, 1/2 its left ear is missing due to a hunting mishap, it has more variety of color than any animal should have, ....but it wont buck, has never thrown a rider, is quite healthy, loves the kids, and will spend all day in the bush leading a trail ride....

Clearly the first horse will win the parade, but is by no means the best horse in the comp.......and will not win the $4 first prize....yeah thats right $4

ok brewing is in no means like that, but judges are looking to award prizes for lets say the belgian tripple that meats the style guidelines the best. the brewer will have spent years creating the perfect recipe...or maybe its the first time they have brewed this style, and they get lucky, or as the fact may be, they are just a fantastic brewer, but, can they make a perfect pilsner to go with it?

what im suggesting, after such a longwinded intro, is that we hold a compitition to find AHB best allrounder, not to judge on style, but to judge on consistancy or brewing

eg: send in 4 different brews, judges will not be told of the style of brew, the name of the brewer.

the brews will be judged solely on drinkability, and quality....this will alow brewers who brew a good beer, but for what ever reason cant get it into a comp that has strict guidelines.

I am happy to organise, but will need help with judges, and someone to get the HBS to donate some prizes

what you all thing? any ideas, anyone want to be involved, please let me know
 

ozbrewer

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Actually it doesnt sound like the mash paddle at all, i will have no restrictions os style, method excettera
 

pint of lager

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Oz,

At the Bathurst show, there is a prize for the most successful exhibitor. A score is worked out for every entrant who enters four beers or more. The total for every beer entered by the brewer is added together, then divided by the total number of entries. The highest score wins the award for most successful exhibitor. A very highly regaurded award.

Running a comp really needs a set of style guidelines and classes for the judges to judge against. Otherwise the winner ends up what the judges like drinking.

There are many sides to brewing. You have to be able to technically brew a beer. You have to be able to repeat the result. You have to be able to drink the result.

You are up against the old chestnut, are you brewing to style or are you brewing to taste. This has been well and truely covered many times over in forum after forum. I like the comment, brew with style rather than to style.

The Mash Paddle Comp and also Gerard Meares comp do try and address this issue.

Your ideas would mean four times the work of a Mash Paddle comp. You may want to contact Steve Nicholls about the amount of work before launching on your comp. You need the help of a big group of volunteers, preferably a big brew club behind you. A venue and fridge space for hundreds of bottle of beer too.

Just a few thoughts for you to mull over.
 

ozbrewer

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pint of lager said:
Oz,


Your ideas would mean four times the work of a Mash Paddle comp. You may want to contact Steve Nicholls about the amount of work before launching on your comp. You need the help of a big group of volunteers, preferably a big brew club behind you. A venue and fridge space for hundreds of bottle of beer too.

Just a few thoughts for you to mull over.
[post="58358"][/post]​

Brisbane Brewers...yall want to help me out?
 

Sean

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pint of lager said:
Running a comp really needs a set of style guidelines and classes for the judges to judge against. Otherwise the winner ends up what the judges like drinking.
And with guidelines the winner ends up being the brewer who can (or is most willing to) hit a set of (excessively tight and prescriptive) artificial specifications. Or rather who hits the judges interpretation of the set of artificial specs. Neither is a true test of the best beer or brewer.

It is possible to have competition that takes account of styles without having guidelines to brew to providing the judges are sufficiently familiar with the styles - see the Campaign for Real Ale's "Champion Beer of Britain" competition. (Not a homebrew competion, but so what ?).

Ultimately, the judges personal taste inevitably comes into it somewhere - the idea that there is a purely objective way to judge beer is a delusion.
 

chiller

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pint of lager said:
Running a comp really needs a set of style guidelines and classes for the judges to judge against. Otherwise the winner ends up what the judges like drinking.
Sean said:
And with guidelines the winner ends up being the brewer who can (or is most willing to) hit a set of (excessively tight and prescriptive) artificial specifications. Or rather who hits the judges interpretation of the set of artificial specs. Neither is a true test of the best beer or brewer.
Sean you seem to have an opinion on this matter that appears to come from a jaded point of view. Pint of Lager has a considered understanding of what is involved in a homebrewing competition. I have been very priveleged to judge with some of the best home and commercial brewers in Australia in various competitions and because more than one person is judging [usually 3] a judges personal preferrence is simply not an issue. There can at times be discussion, but based on the criteria of the guidlines provided -- not personal preference.

The manner of your post while possibly not intentional slurs the character and motivation of good people here in Australia that give of their time generously to judge a passion they share with many others over a continent of many thousands of square kilometres.

Sean said:
It is possible to have competition that takes account of styles without having guidelines to brew to providing the judges are sufficiently familiar with the styles - see the Campaign for Real Ale's "Champion Beer of Britain" competition. (Not a homebrew competion, but so what ?).
You don't seem to grasp the idea of a Homebrew competition so I suggest before you condemn the entire thing you consider the pleasure many gather from a structured and formalised comparison of their talents as judged by their peers.

Homebrew competitions are not entered for sheep stations -- they are entered for bragging rights and feedback. The pride of knowing your beer has been judged against others of a similar nature and considered the best at that time. This is not a puffed up gloating pride. It is a pride engendered throughout the homebrew communittee when one of their own does well.

Sean said:
Ultimately, the judges personal taste inevitably comes into it somewhere - the idea that there is a purely objective way to judge beer is a delusion.
[post="58417"][/post]​
You leave very little room for negotiation on your delusional statement Sean. I'm unaware of your involvement in the judging of state or national competitions -- I haven't come across you as yet -- so I truthfully cannot validate your position of dogmatic authourity.

The very thing I have found with beer competitions is that those judging take very seriously the work a brewer has put into the beer he/she is presenting and judge it from a very neutral unbiased position.

Your statements don't in reality bare out the real situtation with most judges.

While I personally don't always brew to set guidlines for my own beers -- if I intend to brew for a competition I will brew to the guidlines provided by the organising committee of the competition as they have determined the manner they require the beers to be presented and how they will be judged. I enter the competition on the terms of the organisers.

Sean if you have a problem with the idea of guidlines or competitions or even judges there is an old but valid statement.

"You are either a part of the problem or the solution"

or you simple don't comment

Steve
 

Sean

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Sean you seem to have an opinion on this matter that appears to come from a jaded point of view.
I don't think jaded is the right word. I just come from a completely different approach to judging beer (CAMRA).

Pint of Lager has a considered understanding of what is involved in a homebrewing competition. I have been very priveleged to judge with some of the best home and commercial brewers in Australia in various competitions and because more than one person is judging [usually 3] a judges personal preferrence is simply not an issue. There can at times be discussion, but based on the criteria of the guidlines provided -- not personal preference.
Obviously having multiple judges dilutes individual personal preference however you do it - whether by style guidelines, free-for-all, or anywhere in between.

If there is any flexibility in the guidelines to allow for variety and personal interpretation then that space in judging has to be filled by preference. If not then the guidelines must define a specimin English bitter (say) and the only skill left for the brewer is how accurately they can hit that spec. The fact that real beer styles mostly cover a broad spectrum of flavours, aromas, etc, makes such highly specific style guidelines absurd. The reality seems to be somewhere in the middle - the style guidelines are much tighter than the reality of the beer styles (at least in the case of those styles with which I am most familiar), but still leave a fair amount scope for variation. I'm not sure if that's the best of both, the worst of both, or a passable comprimise.


The manner of your post while possibly not intentional slurs the character and motivation of good people here in Australia that give of their time generously to judge a passion they share with many others over a continent of many thousands of square kilometres.
That's not my intention. But I don't see why I shouldn't question the details of the system used.


You don't seem to grasp the idea of a Homebrew competition so I suggest before you condemn the entire thing you consider the pleasure many gather from a structured and formalised comparison of their talents as judged by their peers.

Homebrew competitions are not entered for sheep stations -- they are entered for bragging rights and feedback. The pride of knowing your beer has been judged against others of a similar nature and considered the best at that time. This is not a puffed up gloating pride. It is a pride engendered throughout the homebrew communittee when one of their own does well.
But you seem to be saying that it isn't "the best at that time" but "the one closest to the spec at the time". That's what I'm trying to challenge. "Best" (IMO) has to be at least partly subjective. The more you try to nail it down, the more the competition moves from "best" to "closest to an arbitrary specification".

You leave very little room for negotiation on your delusional statement Sean. I'm unaware of your involvement in the judging of state or national competitions -- I haven't come across you as yet -- so I truthfully cannot validate your position of dogmatic authourity.
I'm arguing logically from my understanding of beer and (FWIW) my involvement in the likes of Champion Beer of Britain. I'll freely admit I've never judged a serious homebrew competion based on style guidelines - unless someone persuades me I'm wrong about this I wouldn't be interested in doing so.

The very thing I have found with beer competitions is that those judging take very seriously the work a brewer has put into the beer he/she is presenting and judge it from a very neutral unbiased position.
I'm sure they do. I just don't see how it can be completely objective and still accurately judge something that is intrisically subjective.



"You are either a part of the problem or the solution"
The right to ask questions and challenge how things are done is part of that.

My stance boils down to either:

a) The comps are an objective test of how accurately a brewer can hit a set of style guidelines. This has nothing to do with great beer - just accuracy.

or

B) The there is at least some room for interpretation, and therefore a corresponding measure of subjectivity in judging.

If I'm wrong, show me where I'm wrong and stop just calling me an idiot. Play the ball, not the man.
 

Sean

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Alien boy said:
Well said POL and chiller.
My primary motive is for interest and feedback from hb peers (experienced),a first or even a place is a gratifying thing and keeps the interest alive.
This is part of what I don't get. How does being told that your Pilsner isn't roasty enough for the style (to invent an absurd example), when you know from experience that it has very similar roastyness to many of the very best commercial examples, help you improve your brewing? It tells you that if you want to hit the guideline you need to chuck in a few more grams of roast barley.
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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A lot of the guidelines are absurd from a historical perpective, or even from a current perpective, e.g. Milds should be 1035 or lower. what about Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild and Gales Festival Ale? Both Milds (BU:GU=.5) but wit an OG closer to 1060. So challenge or ignore stupid guidelines and I will be cheering from the sidelines!

But you do get some feedback. i received scoresheets mentioning astringency so now pay more attention to sparge water pH and temp.

some judges are inexperienced and confuse nice low carbonation with flat beer: yup, never get the subjective element out of a HB comp.

Persevere with your comp, Ozbrewer! I will enter beers if I can!

Jovial Monk
 

ozbrewer

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i think to many people have missed the point here, and as a result, may have put off brewers that normally dont enter comps.....

the point is

HAVE SOME BLOODY FUN

LET OTHERS PROVIDE FEEDBACK

HAVE THE OPPERTUNITY TO ENTER A BEER INTO A COMP, THAT NORMALLY YOU WOULDENT

HAVE A COMP THAT DOES NOT HAVE STRICT GUIDELINES

AND HAVE SOME FUN
 

redbeard

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my suggestion:

on a long weekend, we en masse occupy a large camping ground / caravan park, preferably near the coast, and have ales, lagers, & stouts over the three days or so. sure we can have some awards - most fancy bottle, most shiny keg, coldest wheelie bin, even best ale / lager /stout by show of hands :) combined with the obligatory bbqs, perhaps some fishing or other recreational activity. it could be a great weekend. perhaps even some ag demos by those with portable sculptures. everything byo, so minimal organisation. no judging pressure or strict brewing guidlines.

and as ozbrewer jsut said - have some fun

something to think about .... :)
 

johnno

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redbeard said:
my suggestion:

on a long weekend, we en masse occupy a large camping ground / caravan park, preferably near the coast, and have ales, lagers, & stouts over the three days or so. sure we can have some awards - most fancy bottle, most shiny keg, coldest wheelie bin, even best ale / lager /stout by show of hands :) combined with the obligatory bbqs, perhaps some fishing or other recreational activity. it could be a great weekend. perhaps even some ag demos by those with portable sculptures. everything byo, so minimal organisation. no judging pressure or strict brewing guidlines.

and as ozbrewer jsut said - have some fun

something to think about .... :)
[post="58485"][/post]​
redbeard,
sounds great. But you forgot the wet t shirt contest.

cheers
johnno
 

ozbrewer

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sounds fantastic.....but my manboobs are starting to sag
 

warrenlw63

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Yep, yep, yep. Keep wondering to myself why I don't bother entering comps anymore.

This thread is more or less galvanizing my resolve. <_<

People will never agree to "agree" on beer comps. Some people will happily enter and accept whatever happens. (Which IMO is what should happen. It's not like there's a million dollars at stake at any of them).

I'm picking there's quite a few people lurking that would love to give (truthful) opinions on their experiences and beliefs in regards to comps. Some are well run, some not so well run.

Just two comments in regards to other posters;

1. Sean. Lighten up mate. Comps are meant to be fun. It's a well known fact that not everybody is going to agree that the best beer won. Decisions must just be taken on the chin.

2. Chiller. Even though I agree with what you say in some sense. Everybody (read Sean) is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how tunnel-visioned it may seem.

My own personal thoughts.... Best beer comps are informal gatherings of brewers, wether it be HB meetings or brewdays like Jayse and the SA guys had the other day where many beers are consumed and commented on in a social setting and in good fellowship.

That puts the fun back into it. :super:

(semi-rant off) :)

Warren -
 

Sean

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warrenlw63 said:
1. Sean. Lighten up mate. Comps are meant to be fun. It's a well known fact that not everybody is going to agree that the best beer won. Decisions must just be taken on the chin.
I don't have a problem with that, & I'm happy to enter on that basis. What got up my nose was the implication that the way competitions are run and beers judged is perfect. Not that I think the alternatives are perfect either. That and the idea that you can write fixed meaningful guidelines for styles - something I fought to avoid in CAMRA.
 

jayse

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Looks like iam one of the only ones, at least willing to admit it anyway, that thinks sean has some points which i don't think are all that strange. Call me jaded also if you like but i think some of the points made aren't as stupid as they may have first seemed to some. I think its not all that hard to see what he's talking about and put it into some sort of perspective.

All that said though competions are about guidelines and as such you need to keep those your goal. I do think brewing to guidelines is a reasonble tell tale sign of a good brewer in that just hitting guidelines on the head isn't gunna give you the winning beer.
Competions will continue to get tougher with the masses of new brewers that are coming onto the scene over the last few years and if you want to win comps you need to brew to win comps, this means understanding how the judges interpret the guidelines and giving them what they want. Simple as that.
Iam just saying it is possible for great beers to get shot down because they don't fit the guidelines but this is what comps are all about so deal with it.
I don't doubt theres some dodgey judges around but they will be ussually sat at the same table as a seasoned pro and i think you'll find if the dodgey judge is way of what the seasoned pro has written then his/her scores may simply be tossed in the bin.
eitherway theres no reason not to question what goes on but you also have to accept the way things are done like it or not.

Compettion are what they are, so you have to take all things into account if you really want to win, if you haven't taken everything into acount than you can easily expect beers not as good as yours to win simply because they fit the judges idea of what they should be better.

My skunkfart ale has been marked what i would call wrongly(insert jaded emoticon here) but saying that, that has given me more of a idea of what the judges expect APA to be and what i have to do to improve on the score.

Looking at seans web pages iam sure he is a little strange (sorry sean just kidding) but i don't think his comments our out of line or anything.

Anyway ramble over. Ozbrewer are you sure you just don't want four beers from all australias best brewers rock up on your door step? :eek: :chug: :chug: :D
As far as horse shows well like maybe in a craft fair your knitted jumpers isn't gunna do that well in the tea cosy competion, its all about rules. If you want to make a competion with no rules than cool go ahead and have some fun with it.

houses of the holy
Jayse
 

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