Brew Biz: Werts and All

Written by Ken Carman for

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay Salt City and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

The Topic: Tasting for the Test

For the uninitiated, let me start here with a very brief: incomplete, synopsis. Judging at BJCP beer competitions is somewhat regulated by the BJCP who has a test that ranks you as a judge. I am Certified: which is in the middle of the rankings. One does not have to pass the test to judge, you become an apprentice. One doesn’t even have to take the test to judge: you simply check “experienced,” or “unranked,” or whatever they happen to have on the current official judging form. Most of the time you won’t be head of the table, which technically means you have a boss: the highest ranked judge at the table. I don’t tend to run it that way unless necessary, and I’ve never had to. The only time we came close is when one judge insisted we sit in utter silence through all 11 or so beers… (A bit high for one round of judging, but that’s what we had.) ..and only go back over; adjust scores so we’re within a certain spread… often 3-7 points. I thought it not the best approach, so the other Certified judge and I compromised.

Recently the BJCP has changed the test, at least the parameters on the test, again. I’d like to focus on one aspect of that change.
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Ye Olde Scribe’s Sucky Cider Report’


Crispin Hard Cider with Irish Stout Yeast and Molasses

If ya like carbonated black strap molasses you should love this. Scribe had to dump his last glass out, it was so annoying. There is an apple background, but it’s like putting a pretty picture behind a molasses plugged commode. The yeast is even more distant: pretty much lost. Deep brown. No head. No clarity, but none expected with the molasses: especially this much.¬†Viscosity¬†hefty, as one would expect with carbonated molasses. A bit of a carbonic bite: there’s carbonation in the mouth, but the sea of molasses washes all away with… barf! BACK OFF ON THE MOLASSES FOOLS!