BVC - Judging, standards, and competitions

N.D. Wederstrandt nweders at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Apr 7 08:37:42 PDT 2000


 This seems absolutely true of the SCA competitions I have encountered.  In
>non-SCA competitions you NEVER talk to the brewer about the beer until the
>competition is over.  The sensory analysis portions are all held as Blind
>Tastings.  The point is that you are not evaluating "someone" but
>rather a non-biased evaluation of the beverage.
	The problem is somewhat linked to a couple of factors, some of
which were brought up here.

	Judging:  Until recently judging for brewers have been few and
sketchy at best.  It is slowly improving but before everyone gets on that
wagon, there are other areas that have poor judges or very few people who
are qualified currently to judge.  It's not so much that brewers are being
singled out as having no qualified judges when there becomes an obvious
need then the judges stat developing. THere is also the whole emphasis
within this Kingdom of one on one contact with the artisans from the
Laurelate.  While it is time consuming and hard on the judges to do it and
difficult for the artisan to sit through waiting -- we have found that the
rapport that exists between artisan and Laurelate in this Kingdom to be one
of the best. As a whole the Laurelate doesnt care for non participant
judging... One in the past they have gotten complaints for non interaction
with participants.  Plus, quite frankly, some Laurels have a problem
leaving commentary, so the one on one contact was an attempt to correct the
problem.  It slowly seems to be working....
	Blind judging:  Does not work well in this Kingdom at least for one
reason.  most of the judges can tell who brew what after awhile.  Case in
point, Pug and I worked together on a seemingly "anonymous" judging  and
were able to figure out the brewer of over two thirds the entries.  We have
thought of a few possible solutions  - one of which I'm happy to host
sometime but the fact is that the brewers in this Kingdom tend to enter the
same type of mead, wine, etc.
and often the same type of brew.  There is one brewer that I have judged
the same style of alcohol at every competition.  It just gets
murkier.....and I grow weary of tasting it....
	Also - no matter what you tell some artisans about not putting your
name on your documentation some one does and then scratches it poorly out.
(grin)

>To me there is a HUGE and crucial difference in a "display" event and a
>Sensory Analysis session.  The sensory evaluation of a beverage by people
>with educated palates is something distinctly different than the viewing of
>an A&S display or the evaluation of the quality and validity of the
>resources and the re-creation of a period beverage.
 	Agreed.  Which is why I think if you are that serious a brewer you
might consider going outside the SCA to find that type of competition.
What the arts and sciences events are trying to do is encourage people to
learn and promote a skil with hopefully a bend towards looking at period
methods, practises and research.  If you want to brew good booze, as one of
my dearest friends tells me why do you need to enter competitions to find
out how good it is. Give it to friends and have fun drinking with them....
	I've learned more from sitting around taste testing with Pug and
Tuhtahl  who are both good brewers of entirely different styles than
judging meads, wines and cordials at an event.  I'm not saying that people
shouldn't but to expect the same style of judging that one finds in brewing
specific competitions at an Arts and Sciences event is setting yourself up
to be hugely disappointed.

 Regards,

Clare
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