Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Popped My Judging Cherry

Today, I had the opportunity to be an official judge as part of the first round of the National Homebrew Competition - Northwest Region.  This was my first time ever acting as an official judge for an AHA/BJCP sanctioned competition.  It was a great experience, and makes me look forward to much more judging in the future. 

As luck would have it, I was assigned to judge BJCP Style Category 14 - India Pale Ale (pretty much my favorite style of beer).  This style section inclues the sub-styles of:

14A: English IPA
14B: American IPA
14C: Imperial IPA

During the course of my judging today, I tasted eight (8) different IPA's - 6 American IPA's (14B) and 2 Imperial IPA's (14C).  Of those eight, our tasting group sent on two for a 'mini-best of show' competition.  I was not a judge for that portion of the competition. 

As a first time judge, the process was enjoyable but slightly intimidating.  For each beer sampled (1-2oz), I had to fill out a complete BJCP National Homebrew Competition Beer Scoreshet.  All of the following sections had to be filled out in their entirety:

-Bottle Inspection
-Overall Impression

All of these aspects, except for Bottle Inspection, are assigned a numeric score according to a scale.  Those points are added to create the beer's overall score (from 1-50).  I also had to comment on the accuracy to the intended beer style, the technical merit of the beer and my overall impression of its 'intangible' qualities.  I had 10 minutes to evaluate each entry in the competition, and then to discuss my score and it's aspects with the other judges score(s) and notes, so that we could reach a concensus on a fair score for each entry. 

This was a great first step in my journey to my BJCP Certification.  I look forward to my next judging experience.  It looks as though I may have another opportunity to judge near the end of April. 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

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