I received my results from the Sam Adams Longshot Homebrewing contest yesterday for the three beers I had entered. This is my second year entering the contest. My results from last year are here:
The scoring guide is as follows:
Very Good (30-37)
This year's results are a mixed bag, though I'm very happy with one. Here is the rundown from worst to best:
BELGIAN STRONG GOLDEN (Category 18d)
This one only scored a 20!! But I somewhat expected this since the batch was a total mistake from the beginning. Details here: http://karlisbeer.blogspot.com/2008/03/honey-i-blew-it.html
General consensus between the two judges was that it didn't fit the style, had malt sweetness and harsh hop bitterness, with herbal aroma. One judge actually did like it, but just didn't fit the style I entered.
NOTE: This beer is actually tasting better to me now after about 6 months aging. It has mellowed nicely.
AMERICAN PALE (Category 10A)
I only scored a 25 on this one which was a bit disappointing, though I totally understand the criticisms. One judge scored it a 23 and said he couldn't finish it. The other judge scored it a 27 and said he would finish a pint of the beer. (This beer also scored a 29.5 at the SoCal Brewing competition sponsored by Inland Empire Brewers @ http://www.hopheads.com)
The main critique on this beer was that it had a harsh astringent aftertaste as well as high hop bitterness. I totally agree on both counts. I wanted to make a highly hopped pale, but think I missed the mark in a couple areas. First, I think 90 minutes was probably too long to boil the bittering hops that I used. Second having no real temperature control during fermentation, I think it just got too hot. (Also some real drastic temperature swings from day to night probably don't help either.)
BIG HONKIN' STOUT (Category 13e)
My third entry was a success! It rated a total of 37.5 and actually advanced to a mini BEST-OF-SHOW round!! Not bad considering this was a kit beer I ordered from Northern Brewer. http://www.northernbrewer.com/docs/kis-html/1701.html
Judges rated this a 37 and a 38. Comments were that it had chocolate aroma and coffee/roasty flavor. Main criticism again was a bit of astringency. Again maybe due to my high fermentation temperature?
So overall, I think I did a little better than last year, though this tells me I need to work a bit on my recipe formulation. And hey, free Sam Adams Homebrewing t-shirt out of the deal!!