I thought I would share the results from my six entries to the Spirit of Free Beer homebrew competition which is put on each year by one of the homebrew clubs I belong to (BURP). I thought the judging was pretty good overall, most of the comments were right on target for my beers. I was planning on judging (as I did last year), but a week before competition it dawned on me that it was being held on the same day as my new girlfriend's birthday... guess which one took priority?
I put the category in parentheses, followed by the three scores. Below that is what I felt to be the most detailed/representative "overall impressions" from one of the judges and my reaction.
Wheat Triplebock (Eisbock) - 37/38/38 2nd in Category.
"This is a good tasting beer. Prune character followed by malt sweetness. Finish is balanced. I think the body is thin for the style and that it should have a more pronounced alcohol character."
I am very happy with this result for such a young beer, might give this one a shot at the NHC next year.
Cider 2008 (Common Cider) - 32/33/35 - 3rd in Category
"Yummy - very refreshing. Would pair well with a delicate fish dishes."
Pleased with this result. I think my technique is good, I just need better cider for my next batch.
International Session Ale (Northern English Brown Ale) - 31/33/33
"Quite good. Body is a bit light. There is a piney/resiny hop think was that supposed to be there. Maybe cut back a bit on the roast malts?"
Very pleased with this result considering I did not use an English hop and was not really aiming for any style in particular.
India Brown Ale (American Brown Ale) - 27/30/30
"Seems like this is a very big beer (higher gravity than normal?) for this style. Overly hopped for this style. Good beer for a hophead."
That judge nailed it, certainly too big/hoppy for the style, but glad they still though it was a solid beer. I actually think the judges like this one more than I do.
Temptation Clone (Belgian Specialty Ale) - 28/28/27
"Overall a very nice Belgian style beer without a lot of complexity. Hint of Brett a little that some malt note and wish there was a little more depth. I wish that the brewer had indicated what they did for this category."
Not sure what happened, I put a pretty detailed description of what I was aiming for on the registration sheet and on the bottle labels. This was my biggest disappointment as I really like this beer, but it is a hard category to judge when the judge doesn't know your intent.
Liquor Spiked Barleywine and Funky Old Ale Blend (Old Ale) - 19/20/20
"You've got enough complexity to make this an interesting beer, but it's by no means a good old ale. Sourness is not an expected component, so watch sanitation. Malt bill may be fine, but you need to work on the carbonation and condition"
It may have been a bit heavy handed on the Brett, but I didn't taste any sourness in either beer. I think more judges need to try a Gale's Prize Old Ale with a couple years on it. That said it probably would have done better as an Oud Bruin.
I think next year I'll send some beers to the NHC for the first time, the one bottle requirement really appeals to me compared to the 3 need by the SoFB.