Homebrew Competitions: Decoding Your Judging Scoresheet

Homebrew Competitions: Decoding Your Judging Scoresheet Primary

In “Facing (Beer) Judgment” last week, we looked at three things to remember when you consider entering your beer in a homebrew competition. Let’s say that you have entered a beer in the competition and you have the results. Whether your beer brought home a medal or not, you’ve received valuable feedback that can have a major impact on the quality of your future batches. You should have a cover sheet and at least two score sheets for each beer you entered. You already know whether your beer won, but looking at your paperwork will indicate why it did—or didn’t—do well.

Start by looking at the cover sheet. There’s a lot of explanatory text here, but the interesting bit is in the box in the middle. Your final assigned score stands out, but more importantly, you can see where in the flight your beer was judged (Ordinal Position in Flight: ____ of ____). This information can be useful when you’re reading the score sheets because it can affect how your beer was perceived. For example, bigger beers tend to do better late in the flight because of palate fatigue. Crowd skewing can also be a factor; a set of milder or stronger beers before yours can impact a judge’s sensitivity.

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Epicurean Unbound: Five Ways to Expand Your Tasting Horizons

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

If you’re a fan of the late, great Tom Magliozzi and his brother Ray, better known as “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers” on NPR’s Car Talk, you know about “Stump the Chumps.” One way to introduce an extra element of intrigue into your tastings is to play the craft beer version of “Stump the Chump.”IMG_4694 All you need to do is ask each of your friends to find a beer that’s easily confused with another beer style –– or a style that you and your friends might not drink much of. We’ve already touched on the influence that labels can have, but without any initial cues beyond the colour of the beer, you’ll be surprised how hard it is to guess a style “blind.” Is it a porter or a stout? A Tripel or a Belgian golden strong ale? A British ESB or a strong ale? A Scotch ale? A Doppelbock? Bonus points if you can guess the brewery.

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