A Beer Judge’s Diary: How I Studied for 6 Months, Drove 600 Miles and STILL Botched the Exam

  I asked to wait for this to be published until after I got the results because I didn’t want there to be even the slightest chance I’d influence scoring. I want to thank the graders. They have a tough job and I, unintentionally, may have made it tougher. (See my grader comments at the end of the column.) I got a 72. Considering my experience I am by no means proud of that, but I do think they did well.
 Do I have a problem with writing about moments in my life that some may think I should be embarrassed about? Apparently, in this case at least, not. And hopefully this might help those who haven’t taken it yet understand more about the tasting portion of the test.

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 This is partially a story of a beer judge sleuth trying to figure out what went wrong. Kudos to my personal Holmes who outsmarted her not as clever as Sherlock husband. Millie set me on the right path: as always. (Sometimes? Maybe? Or “maybe” I should stop digging a hole for myself and get on with the story?)
  I’m BJCP legacy Certified, but I have never been happy with my tasting score. Both times I took it I focused way too much on defects so my final score was in the 60s. On the written exam I did better, obviously.
 When I came home from the Adirondacks in November I found out I had a chance to retake in December, so every day I studied the 2015 Guidelines and judged beer at home. I did this for many reasons. Without the Guidelines my memory is what it is. It’s always been weird what sticks in my head and what doesn’t. And because my writing sucks I wanted to work on that. My elementary teachers passed me because they could see how hard I was trying. I have Gene Wilder’s Blazing Saddles writing hand. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: How I Studied for 6 Months, Drove 600 Miles and STILL Botched the Exam”

Live in Beervana

It’s HomeBrewCon Time (ok, it was HomeBrewCon time last week. We’re barely recovered!) In this special live episode we cover a lot of ground including AHA news with Gary Glass, New Zealand Brewing, sample beers from Chile, dig deep into hops with YCH, talk winning with Oregon Homebrewer of the Year, taco beer with Texas Brewing, drop lager results and revisit T-90/Cryo, Niko’s back, Brewcraft has a ton of great stuff on deck and we close talking to Charlie P on his retirement tour! Phew!

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Buzzed Cuts: Barbers Entice Customers by Offering Beer

If you ask Louisville, Ky.’s Melissa Gray about the burgeoning relationship between haircuts and beer from craft breweries, the third-generation barber who opened her own shop in 2016 will list nearly a dozen reasons why she thinks the two were made for one another. At the top of that list is the hyper-local aspect of beer, the fact that it allows people (specifically, men) to feel more comfortable being groomed, and that it eases potential wait time. But Gray is also quick to say she never wanted Beards and Beers to become a bar with a barbershop in it.

“My clients don’t want to get their hair cut in a rough redneck bar,” she says with a laugh.

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A Beer in the Park: Beer Gardens in Munich’s English Garden

Written by Franz Hofer for Tempest in a Tankard

It’s been said that residents of Munich know only three beer gardens: the one around the corner from where they live, the one down the street from their best friend, and the one near where they work or study. In a city with just shy of 1.5 million inhabitants, that makes for an awful lot of beer gardens dotting Munich’s neighbourhoods.

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A Beer Judge’s Diary: What Do We Mean by “Clean?”

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I’ve seen the word used so many times in judging. I thought I knew what it means and that includes what, to me, is only one contradiction. I had thought “clean” meant no fermentation by products that stand out and interfere with the malt, the hops and whatever else defines a style that has no yeast funk. The contradiction? Well, it’s the Germans who, as the cliché’ goes, must have everything precise, exact, just so. OK, I know that’s stereotyping but I’m only mentioning the perception, I have known plenty of Germans who are definitely not that way.
 To be clean and be German in this sense seems to be defined as no fruity, funky, significant DMS or buttery/diacetyl-like esters. Unfortunately that often doesn’t seem to be include a light sulfur-sense to some Germans, which I find their much treasured lager yeast sometimes provides. Not all the time, but a lot.
 OK, I admit: like some are sensitive to butter maybe I’m sensitive to sulfur? Possibly because a little butter bothers me not, but I REALLY dislike sulfur? Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: What Do We Mean by “Clean?””

What’s the Meaning of “IBU?”

Craft enthusiasts enjoy exploring the depths of pints uncharted, but they don’t sail without navigational equipment. One of the most ubiquitous and least comprehensible methods of navigating the heavy seas is the IBU scale.

The rate of bittering is an important influence on taste as the success in the marketplace of the Dogfish Head brand’s 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA has demonstrated. But an IBU scale is more accurate for measuring bitterness than any method based on the rate of hops addition.

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