Archive for February, 2006


Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

It’s been a while since my last post . . .


Anyway, last Monday, February 13th, I took the BJCP exam. This was followed by seven weeks of classes. The classes were OK, a little boring, but I suppose they helped make me feel that I wasn’t under prepared for the exam. The exam itself was very tough. It is a three hour long test with ten essay questions and four beers to evaluate. Each answer to the essays should be at least a page long. My answers were fourteen pages plus two pages of tasting notes – long. I think I did OK though. We won’t get the results to our exams back for about three months.

On Saturday the 18th was the 11th Annual War of the Worts. Of course I entered, but because I have taken the exam, I can now judge too! Since this was my first competition judging and because I am not officially recognized as a BJCP judge, I was paired with an experienced judge. Actually I was paired with the most experienced judge at the competition, and I think in the top three most experienced in the country. His name is David Houseman, he’s actually one of the guys who wrote the Style Guidlines for the BJCP, pretty cool. I was afraid this was going to make things worse, but I suppose they made them better.

In the morning we judged American Pale Ales. I felt very good about this for I feel I have a real grap on the style and could give valuable feedback on the brewer’s beer we were evaluating. We had twelve beers in our morning flight which lasted about two and a half hours. We then broke for lunch curtisy of Iron Hill Brewery, and then began the afternoon flight. In the afternoon we judges Russian Imperial Stouts, Foreign Extra Stouts, and Baltic Porter. I felt a lot less confident going into these categories. I had to repeatedly reference the Style Guidlines and felt as if my feedback was much more uniform and generic then specific. These are just styles that I can appreciate and know what I like, but unfortunetly have not had the skill to be able to brew to 100% of my liking. Things looked like they were going to wrap up in a timely manner some where in the 4:30 – 5:30 ballpark, but somehow they didn’t. By the time the Best of Show round was judged, the winners announced and the awards/prizes handed out, it was already 7:30. What a way to turn a long day longer.

Of course I also entered beer into the competition too. I entered four beers into five categories with one beer getting a third. I entered the Harvest Moon Brown Ale into the Specialty Category. The Honey Pale Ale 2 into the Specialty Category and the Mead-Braggot category. Also the Pliny the Elder clone into the American IPA category. And finally the Albino Pale Ale into the Cream Ale category. The Albino was the beer that got the Third Place Ribbon. You can see the results here.

So, what competitions are next? Well, the full array that I think I am going to enter this year are as follows: War of the Worts XI (WOWXI), Master Championship of Ameteur Brewers VIII (MCABVIII), Best the Brewer Homebrew Competition (Brewer), American Homebrewer’s Association 28th Annual National Hombrew Competition (AHA28thNHC), Homebrewers Of Philadelphia and Suburbs Best of Philly XXII (HOPSBOPSXXII), Brewers Unlimited Zany Zymurgists Off VI (BUZZOffVI), Beer, Beer & More Beer Invitational II (B3II), and the Split Rock Homebrew Competition (Split). So that’s eight competitions, I REALLY need to get brewing, I’m already behind!

Also, it looks as if Twin Lakes Brewing Company should be up in action any time soon.