A Beer Judge’s Diary: Purpose

The "quiet" before the "storm" began.
The “quiet” before the “storm” began.

Written by Ken Carman

The Topic: Finding My Purpose in Beer @ King of the Mountain

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
  As a visiting judge you know there’s a better than even chance you’ll wind up on Specialty, or Spice, Herb and Vegetable. Especially if you do what I do and declare I will judge whatever, wherever, I’m needed. Can’t remember ever checking a category I wouldn’t judge for any competition.
  A masochist? No, I actually enjoy Specialty, even SH&V. They’re both a challenge, and certainly better than bad taste bud burn out. More on that in a moment.
  I judged at King of the Mountain last year when I was on tour, and this year I had to head up to empty out my former tour bus. Not sure about next year. The problem is by no means KOM: it’s a grand competition. It’s because King is over 500 miles away, and without the tour bus we no longer have an easy place to stay.
  This year Millie judged too.
  So, in the morning I was on, never guess what? Yup: collapsed categories, Herb, Vegetable and Specialty. Gee, howja guess? Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Purpose”

Beer Review by Maria Devan

This beer pours with a purple tinted creamy head on an opaque eggplant colored body.

The nose shows you a good malt . caramel ,bread-y, some dark fruits. It also shows you a hint of smoke which I was not expecting and a lovely sweetness from the elderberry juice. There is a brief and cursory scent of sour and a faint vinegar note. No alcohol on the nose or palate.

The beer is a juicy beer with lots of middle. The bread is underneath and the hops come up surprisingly strong in this one to offer a crisp bitter that does not exceed the malty finish nor the touch of sour. The mouthfeel is fullish. The smoke is on the palate and that puzzles me a bit. It seems to lend texture to the beer. The sour aspect is just mouthwatering and as you drink it seems to mix with elderberry stems and a faint nuttiness that I would describe as nutshells or nut skins. It is not too strong though and does not compromise the other flavors. I don’t know what to think .. .yet.

(No score as of yet.-PGA)

Beer Profile: Mad Tom IPA by Muskoka Cottage Brewery (Bracebridge, Ontario)


Profiled by Maria Devan

Beer-Profile3Nose opens up with earthy grapefruit some bright fresh orange and a slight hops herbal. Sweet touch of biscuit and honey from malt.

Color is hazed golden orange amber with yellow sunshine hues. A white head that fell fast but kept refreshing. Minimal lace.

Mouthfeel is a lighter side of medium. The herbal on the palate steals the show in this one. It has such a good strong green with not too much sweetness and a hint of spice. The orange is subtle but resides on the palate gently as a moderate and pretty clean bitter takes the finish to show you a bit of sticky honey on that biscuit and that fresh orange to linger.

Balanced,tight and very well done.


Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


_____________________________________Beer HERE

mdMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is a great beer writer. That’s Maria in the middle. The other two are not, but they are lucky to have her as a friend.

James Visger’s Beer Term ‘O the Day:

Beer Term ‘O the Day: Adjunct. Fermentable material used as a substitute for traditional grains, to make beer lighter-bodied or cheaper. (Sugar, honey, oats, rice…) Adjuncts can be divided into two broad groups: kettle adjuncts and mashable adjuncts. Kettle adjuncts, like honey or candi sugar, contain fermentable sugar and are added to the kettle in the boil. Mashable adjuncts contain starch. This starch needs to be converted to sugar before it can be used by brewer’s yeast. These starchy adjuncts must be mashed, which means that enzymes degrade the starch to fermentable and unfermentable sugars and dextrins.

11200622_10204207575965313_2069580751634047627_nIn beer news today, a young man from Clarksville, Tennesse, who is very dedicated to good beer, tells us more about beer terms, while also judging beer, being president of Clarksville Carboys, Clarksville, Tennessee and not being a student at Hogwarts, but maybe in the future “WORThogs?”