Entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.
This comes from an argument I had quite a while ago with another BJCP judge about how we talk about colors: specifically amber. If you look at the picture at the top of the column you may note that actual amber is certainly not just one color, and definitely not always lighter than what we think of as copper, though copper is not a singular color. It does vary… somewhat.
If you look into the colors of honey there are variations on amber honey too in mead judging. So why do we stick to one hue? One variation? Shouldn’t we have gradations to more accurately reflect the actual color? I might even consider dropping copper if considering light to dark, because copper is more a hue variation with the addition of a red tint to it. Copper, when it comes to light to dark, could be covered by amber.
I do believe in standards, but standards that reflect the nature of the color, not one singular nature. I have read the argument that everyone is familiar with the standard color due to amber the substance that is commonly used in jewelry. My father made jewelry out with amber setting all the time, but that practice seems to have faded with better fake gems. That one version may have gotten a slight kick from Jurassic Park, but how long ago was that? Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Amber”
Deep tan head headed towards brown that doesn’t hold long. Quaff brown almost black, so dark clarity very hard to assess. SRM in 30s. Head clings to side of glass in ring. Tipped glass provides just a little clarity. No “floaties.”
Yeah, ya’ll have to know: best to meet via the internet these days due to COVID. I downloaded Zoom on my laptop and the home computer just before the first one we attended with Music City Brewers: a version of what we used to call Thirsty Thursday.Thirsty Thursday tends to be a little chaotic anyway, so that wasn’t a surpise. The net made it a little worse, but not much.
It’s still a good idea even if it’s the more social gatherings people used to have way, way, WAY back in time. You know a month, more or less?
I’ve already found a microphone, now I have to find a camera for the home PC. I swore it had one. These days it’s no humongous surprise that stores are sold out. Onward to the net.
I felt Zoom shined the next day during this month’s regular meeting for Clarksville Carboys, Clarksville, TN. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Zoom!!!!!! to Great Meetings”
The analogy is by all means imperfect. I will point out some of the ways it is imperfect. But I do believe it will help folks who might not understand yet some thing about the nature of COVID.
We keep talking about flattening the curve and how once it starts going back down things can open back up. I think when it comes to basic biology that’s a mistake. And I am open to you, dear readers, pointing out any errors here. Hey, I was the Education/English major who ended up in Communications/Mass Media for my BA, then to Music Business and Recording. Science was NOT my strongest field in school. (However I have always had a vast interest in it, if only it they didn’t insist on turning it into a foreign language. But that’s another topic.)
I am also a homebrewer who has written about beer for many years. But I admit I am a generalist in almost all fields, including brewing. I think that’s why some analogies I use can work well helping others understand. Not all. Ask my wife.
How is beer yeast like COVID? Continue reading “Inspection- COVID and Beer Yeast”
“Really, Ken, a failed company?” Actually Studebaker survived, now part of Worthington Industries. They simply don’t make cars anymore, which hooks right back into my main point here…
I know Studebaker no longer makes cars, a fact I have never been happy with. However, I may never have met my first love on 4 wheels: a 61 Studebaker car I bought for $25 and took me 100,000 miles before rust and burning oil issues took Harvey away, if they had stayed in the car business. A 7 year old car for $25? Eventually Harvey went to automotive heaven where oil changes happen every day and no rust dare enter those chrome hubcap gates.
I didn’t name the car. My ex-girlfriend’s friend did.
Studebaker as a car and truck builder survived, often barely, though tough times, like craft brewing will be going through now. Yes, there are Studebaker-related lessons for tough times, like during Corona, for the small professional brewer to heed. I will bring it back around to just beer. Continue reading “A Beer-y Good Story: How Studebaker Might Help Craft Beer in the Days of COVID-19”
I have headed a few mead tables. The fact I have headed every mead table I’ve been at up until now says something important: we need more actual mead judges in the BJCP. In fact at the first few I headed, well over ten years ago; closer to twenty, I got the sense mead was, like Harry Potter, the poor stepchild of BJCP world: living under the stairs; only because the favored son (beer) was the star of the family. Not cruel, as in Harry Potter, more an anomaly in an organization started around beer.
There were reasons for so few mead judges. Back in the legacy days you had to find a sit down write test for beer that included tasting. I drove to Knoxville for my second legacy test out of Nashville, beer-wise. Tests local enough to drive to were tough to find, sometimes. Mead was worse. Has that improved? Yes. But even now finding a mead tasting test in the southeast is tough. Thankfully, like beer, they went online with the questions. Tasting, so far, has been long drive to out of Nashville, and there are so few… in comparison.
I certainly would love to give mead tests, but first I need endorsement, obviously.
As I started to study again for an upcoming test, I decided judging a mead only competition might be helpful. I chose Domras because I entered a Dunkelwiezen Braggot a while back and the comments I got back were quite interesting and helpful. The fact it did well was secondary, at best. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Savannah”
Zima. According to Wiki it was brought back in 2017 and 2018 but, “It did not return in 2019.”
Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been writing on beer-related topics and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for over 20 years.
The Topic–Trends: The Good, the Bad, the Yucky
Remember Zima? Don’t you wish you could forget? Some dare called it a MALT beverage.
There have been all kinds of trends over the years. I suppose Billy Beer might have been called “a trend.” When they vended out the brewing for Billy Beer the name became a curse. But it really depended on who brewed it. For the time the one brewed by FX Matt out of Utica, NY, was actually sort of an IPA for its time. Not bad. Not incredible, but better than a lot of the Bud clones that dominated the market in the mid 70s. Who knows, if some of the others had been better maybe the hop trend might have had an earlier start.
But I’m really writing about trends that have homebrewer and pro-brewers going hop crazy, hazy hop crazy, sour crazy, brett crazy (While calling it all sour: really?) and lactobacillus crazy. (The short list.)
Lacto is a good example of one of the negative sides to trends. Many I have had aren’t really definable by any style, except a non-existent one called “lacto soup.” Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All- Trends”
Side topic for this edition of A Beer Judge’s Diary: location, location, location
The one consistent thing I have found that’s a frequent challenge in any competition is the search for “the place.” I would have typed “the perfect place:” but of course there is no such thing. Every place has some downside. I’ve judged where there are jack hammers breaking up an old floor below me and a plank to walk downstairs once beer does what beer does: turn into Budweiser. I kid. Just think of the color.
Sometimes the location is a matter of cost and you end up with less than desirable conditions.
Knickerbocker, run by Saratoga Thoroughbrews (Saratoga Springs, NY) has had their changes. The first two times I judged this competition it was The Pump Station in Albany: fine in the morning but a busy brewpub can have problematic noise and other situations, as Music City Brewers found out with Boscos: a now extinct (mostly: one in Memphis) brewpub. Continue reading “ABJD: Knickerbocker, 2019”
As per my decision to change the nature of this column I am taking an angle that may interest ALL judges, brewers who enter competitions and stewards. Hence “Judge Decision Making.”
It’s long, so I split it into 3 parts, one covering the process of judging, one the competition, and the last one offers a few conclusions. This way it’s easier to pick and choose what you want to read.
You can find many of the winners mentioned and other information in Tara Mitchell’s video blogs. Just click on the part you want to watch: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5
If you are reading the Music City Brewer-Score a more comprehensive list is provide as well.
Part One: Judge decision making By Ken Carman I spent most of MCBO judging with Joseph Nance, known throughout the club as a quiet introvert who rarely speaks. He is like the shadow in the corner rarely seen or heard, a subtle demeanor, judging in utter silence…
OK, I can’t continue typing. The laughter is making me miss keys on the keyboard. He’s fun to judge with, but when it comes to beer “introvert?” Not so much. Continue reading “ABJD: On the 24th Music City Brew Off and Judge Decision Making”
You would think a very small competition: perhaps the tiniest one that’s still AHA and BJCP, would be easy. Sometimes they are, often not. We just have different problems.
There’s only so much one can say reporting on the same competition every year. So I thought coming at it from a different angle might be refreshing. Every year we go to Screamen Eagle in Inlet at the end: great multi-tap thanks to the beer picking abilities of part owner, with his mother, Matt Miller. Every year we sit in Old Forge and Eagle Bay to judge. Except this year. Originally we thought we’d mix things up and have a weekend in Beaver River: town with no roads going to it. But when John Lee, who has been my savior for many years now, told me the changed nature of his job meant he might not even be able to make it we opted for the usual. You would think that would been easy. Uh… NO. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Small and Remote Competitions Have BIG Problems Too”