Sunday, July 6, 2014

National Homebrew Competition


I started this post 2 months ago and I am finally able to finish it up. This past March, I sent in an ordinary bitter to the American Homebrew Association National Homebrew Competition. When I applied up for registration, I was one of the 3% that was not chosen to enter into the competition based on a lottery. This was disappointing, but then a week later I was surprised and received an e-mail notifying me that there were a few opening still available at one of the first round venues in Kansas City, MO. I jumped on it and sent out my beer to be judged. We were allowed 4 entries, but I only entered one, the ordinary bitter, because it was one that I was most confident with. Looking back, I should have entered more. But you know what people say out of hindsight...

A few weeks ago, I received my results. I scored okay, not as great as I felt that I would have done. I did get some feedback on my beer, nothing really helpful, which I did hoped for. The bitter scored a 23 out of a maximum score of 50. This was low for the range in the “good” category and was considered a satisfactory beer that fit the general style parameters which had a some minor flaws, which was perceived as wild yeast infection.

I had the normal judging of 2 judges for my beer. The first was ranked as a Master Judge. The second judge was a provisional judge. The way that they go aboot judging is as they taste the beer, they talk aboot it. Here is what the judges had to say on this beer.

Master Judge:

Aroma (5/12): Grass and lemon prominent. Lots of fruit, but seem to be hops and wild yeast. Seems to be quite acidic. Aspects checked for malt low, hops medium low, esters medium low, phenol medium low, alcohol low, sweetness medium low, acidity medium. Esters marked as fruit and citrus. Others marked spicy phenols.

Appearance (2/3): Had to pour carefully. Clarity medium, Head size high, head retention high. Colour specifiers checked as gold and amber in beer, head as cream, and other as lace. Aspects checked medium for clarity, high for head size, high for head retention.

Flavour (9/20): Lemon/citrus prominent, and some phenols. Hop flavour too high, way too many phenols for this style. Sharp and harsh. Checks for malt as grainy, citrus, floral, and spicy for hops, fruity and citrus for esters. For aspects, medium low for malt, hops medium, esters medium low, phenols medium, sweetness ow, bitterness medium

Mothfeel (2/5): Way overcarbed, robs body, thins flavours, accentuates bitterness and makes quite harsh. Fairly astringent. Gushed, a flaw that was checked, with written in the margin the word “almost.” Aspects checked, body medium low, carbonation high, warmth low, creaminess N/A, astringency medium.

Overall Impression (4/10): Carbonation unbalances the beer. Oft aromas/flavours seems to be wild yeast infection, but fairly mild. More “Belgian” than “English.” Aspects checked medium low for stylistic accuracy, medium low for technical merit, and medium high for intangibles.

Flaws intensity checked low for astringency in flavour and mouthfeel, low-medium for grassy aroma and flavour

Total (22/50)

Provisional Judge:

Aroma (5/12): Hops dominate, vegetal note. Aspects checked low-medium for malt, high for hops, medium-high for esters, low-medium for phenols, N/A for alcohol, medium for sweetness, N/A for acidic. Aromas checked for malt, caramel and bready, under hops, earthy and grassy, and under esters, fruity. Aroma was checked as flawed.

Appearance (3/3): Medium clarity was checked. Head size and retention were checked as high with a dense head texture. Colour specifiers were gold and cream.

Flavour (9/20): Big hop impression, high carbonation detracts from malt. Aspects were medium-low for malt, high for hops, medium-high for esters, medium-low for phenols, medium-high for sweetness, N/A for bitterness, low for alcohol, and low for acidity. Under malt, caramel was checked, under hops, earthy, grassy, and herbal were checked, under esters, fruity was checked, and under balance, hoppy was checked. Flawed was checked for flavour.

Mouthfeel (2/5): Overly carbonated, possibly bottled early or wild yeast infection. Under aspects, for body, high was checked, as well in carbonation. N/A was checked for warmth. For creaminess,, medium was checked, and low was checked for astringency. A flaw that was checked was gushed and the finish was medium.

Overall Impression (4/10): For the assessment of this beer, stylistic accuracy, medium was checked, for technical merit, medium-low was checked, and for intengibles, medium-low was checked.

Flaws that were checked for aroma was vegetal and for flavour was vegetal and sour/acidic

Total (23/50)

I do like the new format for the scoresheet. I feel that it gives more feedback, and a chance to give more helpful feedback in the comments.
 
Before I got my results from NHC, I already entered the same beer in another competition. This one is a local one in Grand Rapids, Michigan ran by Siciliano's Market Homebrew Shop. I'll put up those results here in the next couple of days as well a mead that I homebrewed. Hopeto get to more writing soon!!!

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