A Beer Judge’s Diary: Knickerbocker 2018

Judging at Racing City Brewing, Saratoga, NY

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 We started judging Knickerbocker probably sometime in the early 2000s, maybe earlier. But only two of them. Then, many moons later, we came back.
 We really enjoy judging Knickerbocker but, for various reasons, we didn’t for many years. This year we normally wouldn’t have but the only way we could make Millie and my schedule work right was for me to stay up north from May to barely November.
 Aw, shucks, gee whiz, golly willikers, did I have to?
 No, just kidding, I really enjoy being where I partially grew up.
 While some judging took place at Artisanal Brew Works, we didn’t judge there. A lot of the judging was at Racing City Brewing; a new brewery in Saratoga Springs: just a little north east of the city and close to the Northway. Old friends were there, including Judy Pardee; one of the first Grand Masters in the BJCP. It’s amazing how you judge the same competitions and see people again and get that, “Oh, THIS is where I remember you from,” feeling.
 They had 213 entries, 33 judges and 18 stewards judge over two weekends, according to John Lee. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Knickerbocker 2018”

Beer Profile: Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break

Profiled by Ken Carman

Right off the bat I took a sip to assess what ended up being low carbonation and I got high alcohols. This seems to be a consistent Evil Twin problem.

Brown foam head that’s big, luscious and fades fairly quickly into a small bubble and glass edge only “head.” Black as all hell: no light shines through. Slight glass coat when tipped.

Deep malt complexity to malt in aroma. I get a hint of vanilla and almonds. No doughnuts, but unless I knew what the nature of the doughnuts were I have no idea what to look for. No hops in aroma. Deep dark chocolate sense dominates with a slight sweetness like a hint of brown sugar. If coffee is there it’s so slight hard to discern. There is a cappuccino sense: a hint at best, in taste.

Here’s the problem: there’s a strong higher alcohol sense that dominates the flavor making it a tad astringent and harsh. Behind that is the vanilla. Behind that is the slight sense of almonds. I don ‘t get the doughnuts but, again, what kind of doughnuts am I looking for? This quaff is harsh due to alcohol and it has SO much promise! Aftertaste in vanilla and alcohol. Finshes just a tad sweet AND dry! Dries the tongue, coats the roof of the mouth with a brown sugar like sensation.

I think the doughnuts may have simply added a viscosity to the point of thick. Almost chewy. Carbonation low, which I would expect. Coats roof of mouth AND the tongue.

I really, really wanted to like this. The higher alcohols are a major defect. I would check fermentation temp and find a better yeast: seems something this higher alcohol would be a problematic yeast, and the fact I’ve had problems with Evil Twin before and higher alcohols suggests to me a house yeast situation. Of course it could just be fermentation problems too.

I have saved some of this brewery’s brews for my tastings and have found out it smoothes out a tad. But it’s still not right.

4.2 BA
4.1 untappd
4 RB

Sorry guys, can’t do any better than…



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

New Brewery: Various Artists, Nashville, TN

Two Nashville entrepreneurs plan to open a brewery on Elm Hill Pike not far from Fesslers Lane, my Nashville Post colleague William Williams reports. The brewery and pub will offer a menu featuring Argentine-style grilled meats.

Pat Isbey and Jeff Bergman will co-own and operate Various Artists Brewing Co., to be located at 1011 Elm Hill Pike in a building that Bergman owns. Longtime followers of Nashville’s restaurant scene may recall Isbey from the excellent barbecue spot Jimmy Carl’s Lunch Box, which he owned and operated from 2009 to 2010 in the Station Inn building in the Gulch. Isbey and Bergman are targeting a late-December opening for Various Artists Brewing.

Want to read more? Please click… HERE!