Brew Biz: Werts and All- Trends


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 TopicTrends: 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”

Producing a Good Mead Scoresheet


By Andrew Luberto

As anyone who has ever done so can tell you, entering a home mead into a competition takes some serious time and a fair amount of money.  So it can be pretty disappointing when you get a scoresheet back that doesn’t provide a good evaluation of your product. The components of any scoresheet, whether its beer, mead, or cider generally all follow the same basic structure of descriptive evaluation of the product, non-biased judging, and helpful feedback. However, where a scoresheet may fall short can land in a few broad categories that could include: misevaluating the mead because of an unfamiliarity with ingredients or process; not understanding the product and what should be perceived; sparsely filling out or an incomplete sheet or; not having a good grasp on evaluating mead in general.  For more on properly evaluating mead check out this previous newsletter article. Luckily mead evaluation has vastly improved from the days when some just expected to taste a dominant raw honey sweet character. That being said, there’s always room for improvement! So with that in mind, here are some thoughts from both experienced judges and entrants on what makes up a quality scoresheet.

What are entrants looking for?

Continue reading “Producing a Good Mead Scoresheet”

Deschutes “Jubelale”: A Simple Ongoing Miracle

Deschutes “Jubelale” was first brewed in 1988. 2019 makes the 31st edition of this ale and every single year, without fail, I have tasted this stuff, gotten all gooshy, and bought a minimum of three cases, to get me by until July or so. No, I do NOT care that the hops recede after a while. No, I do not care if it was supposed to be consumed in a couple of weeks. No, I do not, as one reader suggested, back in 2011, think it’s “icky” when the hops fade. And, NO, let’s stipulate that it is not designed to be an age-worthy, lay-down beer. But it IS a seasonal beer and I have done everything short of bribery to try to get Deschutes to make it year-round.

No dice. “Seasonal, dude,” they have gently repeated, about, ooooh, twenty-two times, now.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!!!

ABJD: On the 24th Music City Brew Off and Judge Decision Making


 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
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”

A Beer-y Good Story: Akron, Ohio

Courtesy Akron Beacon Journal

R. Shea, 1662 Merriman Rd, Akron, OH 44313
Missing Falls, 540 S Main St, Suite 112, Akron, OH 44311
Hoppin Frog 680 E Waterloo Rd, Akron, OH 44306
Akronym Brewing, 58 E. Market Street, Akron, OH 44308

 So I was in the Adirondacks, Millie was in Nashville. This tradition started over 30 years ago, only I was in a different town every week or two, depending on bookings. We’re planning on retiring in the Adirondacks so I needed a small trailer I used to use on the road. It will help build a small storage area and take generators and a bike off to be service.
 We met close to mid-August. What do two married beer judges and craft beer fans do? Look to see what new brews are available via the web and sail forth to explore!
 We decided on four places. Of course NO WAY am I going to Akron and missing Hoppin Frog, the only curse being I couldn’t harass my friend, and owner, Fred Karm. Hoppin does a lot of extreme beers. Maybe it’s more what he brews? I mean I’m the guy who started and runs a BIG and Odd beer competition. You know we’re of a similar mindset when once we were talking about a low gravity, standard style, brew and Fred said, “Hoppin Frog just doesn’t swing that way.”
 Our first visit was to Akronym Brewing in downtown Akron. Luckily the parking garage has free parking Saturdays. Giant entrance with probably 20 offerings on a huge electronic sign. There were 15 listed on the website. I didn’t count but I’d bet there were more, close to 20. Continue reading “A Beer-y Good Story: Akron, Ohio”

Brew Biz: Werts and All: The Grainfather, Final Assessment

 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.

Written by Ken Carman

 I have been looking for the original article on this, but can’t find it. So I wrote it as a Brew Biz because it’s a product review.
 How you brew matters here. If, unlike me, you’re brewing weekly your experience may be different. I would think it should be better. “Should be,” being a big qualifier. I brew 3 or 4 times a year. If the craft scene had been around, as vibrant, when I started brewing in 79 I might have been just like those who hopefully worked out the kinks, and probably went into being a pro-brewer. But that was not me back then: the stage called, my own, odd, stage, and I gleefully went there.
  For ME it’s been a hobby, and occasional obsession. I don’t want it to be my life, especially not at 65. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All: The Grainfather, Final Assessment”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: 29?


“But hey, it’s not supposed to be dark but it IS American!?”

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I can’t tell you where this happened, or the circumstances, or why more likely than not there HAD TO BE an out of style issue during this judging session. But none of that matters, really. What matters is what would be best, the right, score? I don’t care for exactness: we’re talking that scoring guide on the lower left side of the traditional judging form… Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Fair and Problematic. Since you are unable to assess this beer in person an exact score is obviously out of the question, though I will tell you the score I gave it.
 I have no interest in challenging those who judged this beer with me, or who ran the event. I was impressed with all of them: very professional. This, really, is a matter of perspective in the final analysis. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: 29?”