BVC - Judging, standards, and competitions

Mills, Scott Scott.Mills at
Thu Apr 6 12:39:29 PDT 2000

First let me say a little about myself so you have an idea 
where I am coming from.  I have been brewing for over 10 years
and while I have been a member of the Society for much longer
the Bulk of my brewing activities have been outside of the SCA.

A number of years ago I moved to the front range of Colorado
and into homebrew heaven.  At the time there where very
active clubs, lots of experienced beer judges and brewers,
and six big annual competitions with a two hour drive 
(5 within an hour).  I learned a lot about brewing, judging,
competitions and I am not sure that I could have gotten that 
wealth of experience anywhere else in the world.  I entered a 
lot of competitions, judged at a lot of competitions,
organized two 200+ entry competitions, and won two AHA gold
medals along the way for period brews (a mead and an 
herb&spice beer).

Like Ceatta I have largely withdrawn from the AHA/BJCP side
of brewing mainly because of the strife, the fact that I
was spending so much time working on Bureaucratic BS that
I didn't get to brew anymore and it was taking all the fun 
out of my hobby.  Still there is a LOT that SCA competition
organizers can learn from the BJCP.

I said in my previous post that I am not too fond of the IKBG
judging forms, etc.  Let me explain.

First, let me say that I really don't like the term
"Judging".  I prefer "Evaluation".  "Judging" to me 
automatically brings to mind competition, or rewards and 
penalties.  "Evaluation" seems to more accurately reflect
what I hope we are trying to achieve which I think should
be good comments, good feedback with tips and hints as to 
what might have gone wrong and how it can be corrected, and
praise for what is right.  Remember that there are positive
ways to give negative feedback.

I really think (and have for some time) that the judging
of beers/meads/wines/cordials should fall into two
distinctly different rounds of a competition.  

One round would focus entirely on "Sensory Analysis".  I 
use the term "Sensory Analysis" because it is the 
currently widely used and generally accepted term for 
what a beer judge does in the mundane circles both 
amateur and professional.   I like the BJCP judging forms
pretty well and I think with a little adaptation to reflect
that we don't brew modern styles.  The BJCP *Score Sheets*
(please don't call them judging forms) have good descriptor 
definitions to cue the judges and the encourage feedback 
rather than simply the assigning of points.  I think the 
50 point scale used on BJCP forms is sufficient and there
has been a lot of work, over decades, by very qualified
people invested in those forms.

The second round would evaluate the research and 
documentation of project.  Here the focus would be on
sources and primary references, interpretation of those
sources, and recipe redaction based on those references,
and on the ingredients and techniques used. For this several 
brews can be the redaction of a single research project.  
I really think that this evaluation needs to be separate 
from the sensory  analysis because someone should be 
recognized for brewing a good beer even if they didn't 
do good research.  Evaluators in the sensory analysis
portion do NOT need to know if a brew is extract or all-grain
and shouldn't be worried about presentation.  Evaluators in
the research and documentation round shouldn't worry about the
the sensory qualities of a beer.

You may or may not have the same judges in each round of the 
competition but I think ideally you would not.  This would even
allow authorities to judge the documentation who were not qualified
at sensory analysis and vice-versa (local BJCP judges could be
contacted to help with sensory evaluation).  The two rounds
could run simultaneously or back-to-back.

While LPT or Kingdom A&S might be an established event focusing
on crafts I don't know that it is necessarily the appropriate
place for a good brewing competition.  These events are heavy
on "Display" with the whole populace milling around and sampling everything.
For the competition to be meaningful to the brewer
(unless ofcourse they are just looking for rewards and recognition)
there really needs an atmosphere a little more conducive for real
analysis of the work.

I know this was a lot to read and I appreciate all of you 
who made it through all of my ramblings.  I really do welcome
any comments.


Lord Eadric Anstapa


Scott Mills	 
Engineering Problem Management	 
Industry Standard Server Division	 
Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com
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