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Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2717
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 04:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I judged at a competition in NYC today and ran into a situation I'm still not sure I'm comfortable about. So I'm asking all you other judges how you would have handled it.

I have been judging at club events and competitions for years but I have never taken (or even studied for) the BJCP test. So I am always the "junior" judge on a panel, even when I've had a lot more experience than the one with the official number. I understand my position and try to always defer to the "senior" judge on procedural matters.

We had one bottle today with a subtle ring in the neck. Not terrible, but you could definitely see it. The beer had some phenols and loads of diacetyl and was clearly over-attenuated for style. I suggested that maybe just that one bottle was infected and we should call for the second bottle before judging it. The senior judge said no. So we scored it as an infected beer and moved on.

Granted, the competition was huge (~500 entries), the flights were big, and everything was running long. We didn't want to slow things down unnecessarily. But I still felt that we were doing the brewer a disservice not calling for the second bottle.

So, judges: If you were the senior judge, what would you have done? If I run into a similar situation in the future, should I argue my case more forcefully?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12532
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 12:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My BJCP rank is Certified, and I've been judging for 13 years now. At the larger American competitions I find there is often a judge of higher rank at my table, who according to protocol becomes the senior judge. But here in Canada, where there are fewer judges, especially those of higher rank (only one Master and two National-ranked judges in the Toronto area, for example), I am more often than not the senior judge.

Paul, if I had been the senior judge I would have agreed with your request for another bottle in case the infection was a one of a kind issue. And I would have consulted with the head steward and/or competition organizer to see if one could be obtained without a lot of difficulty. However, if I were not the senior judge, and that person said there was not sufficient time, I would have accepted the decision, as you did, even if I personally disagreed.

Assuming that you made your opinion and request clear, you did as much as could reasonably be expected. Obviously you didn't want to disrupt the proceedings, and going beyond what you did (for example, making a formal appeal) seems excessive except in an extreme circumstance. I don't believe the situation you describe constitutes an extreme circumstance.

I suppose the situation is analogous to that of the military: a person of senior rank is entitled to make decisions and have them followed by those of lower rank. It may not always be just, but it promotes the smooth operation of the organization.
 

ChriSto
Advanced Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 757
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 01:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

From the BJCP Study Guide (one of the true/false questions in Q1 Part B):
"It is acceptable to request a second bottle to give the entry a fair chance at an accurate judging if a beer is a “gusher” or tastes infected."

While defering to the lead judge is typical, the study guide material explicitly states that the junior judges should not just roll over to the senior judge on issues (and vice versa the senior judge should not attempt to rule the table).

Just as with Bill, as lead judge I would have agreed with the Junior judge and asked for the second bottle. I have done so in several contests where the first one was badly infected. Sometimes there isn't enough time with a large flight, so you just have to move on. But I have been quite surprised by the second beer several times at this point - I don't think any have won their flight (and brings up the issue of keeping enough around for BOS round) but have definitely had ribbon winners with the second bottle.

I didn't really think about asking for the second bottle in early competitions, but was enlightened when I was asked after a competition by a co-judge (at another table) how he did since he understood I had judged the flight he was entered into and he was very excited about that beer (and I know him to be a good beer maker). When I told him about his gusher/infected beer, he suggested opening the other bottle just to see if it was ok since he had not experienced that with any other bottles. It was a wonderful beer. All we could think was that the single bottle had something in it that caused it to go bad. Therefore, I have several times given the benefit of the doubt to open the second bottle on "bad" beers.

I still note on the sheet that the first beer was very infected so that they know there could be a packaging problem with their beermaking and will include the extra sheet, again if there is time. So we're not waiting around, I'll typically set aside the sheet from the infected beer and move onto the next beer in line, then work the second beer in after that.

Of course the vast majority of the time, just a quick whiff of the second bottle shows that the beer was just bad

Oh yeah, I'm National.
 

Robert
Intermediate Member
Username: Okierat

Post Number: 345
Registered: 05-2003
Posted From: 70.143.33.0
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 01:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul, I am a National Judge and to be honest I really can't add anything more to what Bill and ChiSto have said. As judges we are to give the person who entered the best possible feedback, and sometimes that requires a second bottle.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2645
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 02:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It is a rare circumstance indeed when I am not the senior judge at the table. That said, I try to foster an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect with my judging partners, not only out of simple human courtesy but because rank (or lack thereof) is often not reflective of experience level or talent. (... and that works both ways.)

Paul, in your circumstance, there is no requirement to call for the second bottle. Doing so would simply be a courtesy to the entrant. Were I the head judge, if a bottle is a gusher or if the circumstance is as you described, and if our steward is readily available, and if the cellar is close by, and if it were easy to obtain the second bottle without a lot of fuss, I would request it. That is a lot of "ifs" and I don't know how many may have applied in your case. An alternative, if there are other beers on the table, is to just set the bad one aside and judge a different one while the steward finds the second bottle of the offending beer.

I understand the other judge's concern with keeping things moving along. That's always a problem, it seems - too many beers in the flight and not enough time. That said, it's no skin off my nose to make my judging partner comfortable by responding to what, in your case, seems a perfectly reasonable request, both in proecudure and precedent. It is a team effort.

As an aside, that's why it's better to be the senior judge at the table - you don't have to put up with anybody else's bullshit but your own.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2718
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 02:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for telling me what I wanted to hear, everybody!

As you all have noted, the situation was far from clear-cut. On one hand, our (excellent) steward was close by and we had a couple of other beers on the table we could have turned to. (They were coming up from the cellar icy cold, so we had the steward bring them up early to warm a bit.) On the other, we had 11 beers to get through and we were part of a split category, so there was pressure to move along and not hold up the mini-BOS round. I can see both sides of the argument.

In the end, though, I do think it was just an experience issue. The senior judge had just taken the exam in the fall and had only judged one other competition. I had to explain to him how split categories and mini-BOS rounds worked. I don't think he'd yet run into the second-bottle situation.

Maybe I should have pushed a little bit harder, if only because that's what I would have wanted if I'd been the entrant. I still would have deferred rather than cause a rumpus; my position as a non-judge judge is too precarious to allow me to make trouble. But it's nice to know that I wasn't crazy to want to make the effort.
 

John McElver
Junior Member
Username: Johnmc

Post Number: 73
Registered: 04-2010
Posted From: 144.29.1.19
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 04:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's been my protocol in these cases to taste the second beer and and score it, but note clearly on the score sheet that the first bottle was infected or bad and, due to that, the entry wasn't eligible for advancement or placement. I don't think it's fair to other entrants otherwise.
However, I do feel it's important to give the person some feedback that's constructive, without at least checking the second bottle, one isn't doing that. For the cases where both bottles are bad, I'd try to note that as well.
 

ChriSto
Advanced Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 758
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 05:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

John, you bring up a good point since a dirty bottle could just as much cause just a hint of off-flavor versus the gusher/infected "13" beer, and to then be fair you would need to open two bottles of each and take the best of the two.

As with many things in the BJCP and as can be seen here, there is quite a bit of leeway on opinion on what the proper protocol should be. Everybody is in the ballpark but little differences. As you have done in the past, I could see not allowing a ribbon if you had to open the second beer (though I know at least once when I was judging the second beer got a ribbon).

May be something to bring up with Gordon, et. al.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2719
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 06:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lots of variables here. That's a good argument for having a clear sense of who the senior judge is. Not that he/she should ride roughshod over the rest of the table. But someone has to make a firm decision in such circumstances and keep things moving. It would be too easy for the entire process to get bogged down in endless debates. Lots of time to discuss it all later, as we are doing now, not in the moment when it might derail the entire flight.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12535
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 07:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

At many competitions there is indeed a need to keep things moving along. Often there are not as many judges as they would like, or sufficient space or tables or facilities to keep beer at the proper temperature. Realistically, each entry has to be judged in an average of about 10-15 minutes. It can be quite a juggling act for the organizer, head judge and head steward.

Those who claim competitions are a less than ideal situation in which to evaluate beers are sometimes correct. Not that the BJCP and most organizers and judges don't usually try their best.
 

Steve Jones
Advanced Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 724
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 199.190.8.13
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 08:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I read Paul's post and jumped immediately to respond before reading any other responses.

I would definitely have called for the second bottle. We are there to give the brewers good feedback, and if it turns out that the second one was not problematic, then we would have failed in our responsibility.

and now that I have read the other responses ...

Since gaining National ranking last year, I've not been the second judge. During my 9 years as Certified more often than not I was the head judge, too. But in this kind of situation if I was the second judge I would express my desire to try the second bottle, and would have explained why I felt that we should. But in the end I would defer to the 'head judges' decision.

(Message edited by stevej on January 31, 2011)
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2720
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 08:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My morning panel managed 11 beers in about 2:15 without breaking a sweat. We were fresh and our hands hadn't cramped up yet. But it took my afternoon panel almost 3 hours to do 11 beers, and we really felt like we were struggling with the last two. I feel bad for whoever has to read my handwriting on those, and I'm sure I could have given more, and better, feedback. It's tough to do a good job on that many beers.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12536
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 - 09:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One of my earliest judging experiences was a true trial by fire, at a state fair competition that was almost disastrously understaffed. Most of the time we had to act as our own stewards, even on occasion finding and pulling our beers from storage. Over the course of 11 hours, which included a one-hour lunch and various shorter breaks, I judged a total of 61 beers. I was surprised that I didn't get much of a buzz, but I certainly suffered from writer's cramp and palate fatigue. Obviously the entrants didn't receive the full and fair consideration they deserved, but I still tried as best I could.

Fortunately this was an atypical experience. Throughout the years I've had the pleasure of judging at some very well-run competitions, too. The second round 2008 NHC in Cincinnati, organized by Gordon Strong, was an entirely different and wonderful judging session.

(Message edited by BillPierce on January 31, 2011)
 

Tom Gardner
Senior Member
Username: Tom

Post Number: 1213
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 67.177.226.129
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 04:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would definitely have tried the 2nd bottle. If the Table Captain didn't want to try the 2nd bottle I would have asked the Judge Coordinator.
 

ChriSto
Advanced Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 759
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 01:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Our mead competition this year has a few less entries than usual and a few more judges than usual, so this ought to be a nice relaxing one-session contest with no one needing to judge more than nine entries. We have all day (oyster roast is not until at least 2 pm), so this should be a fun day and hopefully really good feedback for entrants.

Last year I had to do 13 open category meads. By the time we tasted the Polish 24% abv one (and thankfully last), I was toast (and that was after two ABC's earlier in the round). It took us 4.5 hours taking several breaks in between. At least one group finished both their rounds before we were done. We knew what we were getting into, though, and had arranged to just do one round of judging.

I must say that that was some of the best mead I had ever tasted, though, so I signed up for open category again this year. I'm a glutton for punishment
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2646
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 04:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"If the Table Captain didn't want to try the 2nd bottle I would have asked the Judge Coordinator."

The judge coordinator has no authority to override a decision by a lead judge in a flight. Really, even the competition organizer can't force a judge to do something that is not mandated by the rules of the competition. (Most competitions simply adapt BJCP rules, with local additions/exceptions to accomodate special categories, etc.)

It's one thing to politely suggest a course of action based on accepted practice, particularly in a case such as Paul's where the lead judge was inexperienced. It's quite another to refuse to accept his decision and then go over his head to try to undermine it. You're not only going to piss him off, you're probably going to piss off the organizers as well.

While judges are not expected to operate in a strict superior-subordinate relationship, there is one judge who is ultimately in charge, and one or more who is not. Those that are not need to understand and accept their position on the team.

I remember a particularly unpleasant judging experience with a person who was just clueless with regard to how much to penalize a beer for minor stylistic deviations. What was worse was that he was an experienced beer drinker but an unranked judge, so he thought he knew everything but in reality knew very little. We were judging a Helles that was an outstanding beer, but it was somewhat too hoppy for style. It had no technical flaws. I scored it a 38 but he scored it 22, and was adamant that because the beer was "not to style" it should be crushed. I started to explain to him that in every way other than hop aroma and flavor, the beer was to style. Rather than to discuss the beer like adults, he yelled across the room to another judge to come over and taste the beer with the intention of having the two of them team up on me.

I was a National judge at the time. He was experienced but unranked. I was clearly the lead judge, with demonstrated knowledge of judging etiquette and procedure. He clearly was not the lead, and demonstrated why he shouldn't have been.

I only relate this story because of all of the dozens of competitions and hundreds of beers I have judged, this is one of the only specific ones I remember, and I remember it only because this guy couldn't judge and didn't know or follow proper judging procedures, and moreover was a complete about it.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1127
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 143.165.48.50
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 08:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Who is the "customer" in this whole process? Is the "customer" the BJCP and judges? Or, is the "customer" ultimately the person submitting the entries ($$$) with the expectation of receiving a certain degree of professional feedback? No entries, no contests.

These are rhetorical questions, of course, but examples of why I do not enter comps anymore. I am sure everyone who has judged and posted here does an excellent job. However, I have gotten such inconsistent and conflicting feedback from past contests (including the NHC), I now throw my $$$$ towards other pursuits.

Just my two cents as a "customer"
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2647
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 08:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Michael, the customer is obviously the entrant. The most important word in your question is "process". The "customer" is best served by an orderly execution of the established process.

Your not having received feedback that met your expectations is a separate issue. I hesistate to take issue with your use of the word "professional", but none of the judges are - they're all volunteers, and the overwhelming majority are amateur homebrewers. Expectations commensurate with this might be more realistic.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12542
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 09:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As for professional brewers as judges, my experience is that not that many of them are good at judging, at least in terms of offering constructive feedback. This is despite the fact that more than two-thirds of craft brewers homebrewed at some point.

I also smile at the notion of "professional judges." I wonder how many homebrewers would spend, say, $20 to have a literate and experienced brewer spend 20 uninterrupted minutes with a beer and provide feedback. If I thought I could make any money at that, I suppose I would do it.

(Message edited by BillPierce on February 01, 2011)
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2722
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 09:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's an old question.

Back when I used to live in NYC, I was used to the morning bagel-and-coffee etiquette. If you go into a Manhattan deli at 8:45am and get in line, you damn well better know exactly what you want and have your money ready. No one has any patience for hemming and hawing and fumbling for your pennies, least of all the people behind the counter.

I've heard a million times from outsiders how they think this is the epitome of rudeness. "I'm the customer! They should take the time to answer all my questions!" Well, yeah, in a perfect world. But the reality is that there are 30 people in line behind you, all of whom DO know what they want, and all of whom will be late for work because you are clogging up the works. They matter too.

That's what I meant above about knowing that there is a clear hierarchy and the lead judge must make a firm decision. Otherwise there would be chaos, we'd all be there until midnight, and all the OTHER entrants, who also paid the same amount, would get less than optimal feedback as a result.

The world isn't perfect. Sometimes, making a decision quickly is more important than making the optimal choice. Or maybe there is not optimal choice and the search for it would be a waste of time.

As for knowing my place, believe me, I do.

I will rarely back down on issues of perception. If I think I detect diacetyl, for example, I will write that down and will dig in my heels if you tell me I'm wrong. (This isn't true for DMS, which I'm no good at detecting, but that's another matter.)

But I feel that the lead judge usually makes the call on whether that diacetyl or whatever is a major flaw for the style. If he says it's okay, I'll almost always adjust my score into closer agreement with his. Only if I am staring at clear, contradictory instructions in the guidelines will I question the call, and even then I'll give in rather than cause a fight.

As for procedural issues, like the one about calling for the second bottle, I will always back down. I made my suggestion, he overruled it, we moved on. Time enough to discuss it here later. If, someday, I find the subordinate role too uncomfortable, maybe I'll take the exam.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1128
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 24.74.83.67
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 12:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My reference of "professional" referred to taking the time to do the right job with the right skills represented for the contest. And, providing legible feedback (I consider that doing a job "professionally"). I don't think that is too much to ask, especially IF entrants are paying a fee for the contest.

Graham, perhaps the correct word is consistency. In any case, your experience may be different than mine. However, in my 18 years of brewing (crap has it been that long?), I have seen some pretty sloppy and inconsistent feedback from the so-called "certified" judges.

It is, after all, beer. If we are not having fun at it, why bother? Cheers.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1129
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 24.74.83.67
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 12:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh, and before I get off of my soapbox, let me reiterate...I am sure those who posted here do an OUTSTANDING job of judging. I have gotten more off of this board that I will ever contribute.

I just think that if a contest is expecting someone to pay an entrance fee (i.e., there will be judging), there is (at some level) a fiduciary responsibility to provide a consistent level of feedback. If judges are more caught up in there certifications, the "strict" judging procedure", and the "moment", that might not always be the case.

OK...off of soapbox. (Bill, am I banned for such blasphemy? Paul - I am up around 45th and 3rd in mid-town quite often for business....there is a certain "Pinnacle Bagel" joint that still demands the same from their "customers"...).

(Message edited by hoppop on February 02, 2011)
 

Tom Gardner
Senior Member
Username: Tom

Post Number: 1215
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 67.177.226.129
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 01:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Geez Graham, got a bee under your bonnet?

"The judge coordinator has no authority to override a decision by a lead judge in a flight. Really, even the competition organizer can't force a judge to do something that is not mandated by the rules of the competition."

I couldn't disagree with you more. Thsi is what the BJCP Judges Procedure Manual has to say: http://www.bjcp.org/judgeprocman.php
1. The judge director manages all judging operations for the competition.
2. Seek guidance from the judge director if you notice another judge practicing any questionable behavior.
3. If a beer is a "gusher" or has an unpleasant aroma upon opening, a judge should not just assign a courtesy score of 13 without tasting and commenting on the characeristics of the beer.... Before taking this measure, call for a second bottle to see if the problem is isolated.

"It's one thing to politely suggest a course of action based on accepted practice, particularly in a case such as Paul's where the lead judge was inexperienced. It's quite another to refuse to accept his decision and then go over his head to try to undermine it. You're not only going to piss him off, you're probably going to piss off the organizers as well."

See above. It is my responsibility as a judge to give the entrant the best possible feedback. That is what it's all about. Not the table captain's ego. And, in fact, it is my responsibility as a judge to "seek guidance from the judge director if you notice another judge practicing any questionable behavior".

"While judges are not expected to operate in a strict superior-subordinate relationship, there is one judge who is ultimately in charge, and one or more who is not. Those that are not need to understand and accept their position on the team."

See above: The Judge Director of the competition is ultimately responsible and can be asked for advice by any judge. Here are some similar questions from the BJCP study guide with their answers (http://www.bjcp.org/study.php#beereval):
44 F When there is a discrepancy in the scores for a given beer, the lower-ranked judges should yield to the opinion of the highest ranked BJCP judge at the table.
62 F If a beer is a "gusher" or has an unpleasant aroma upon opening, a judge may assign a courtesy score of 13 without tasting and commenting on the characteristics of the beer.
82 F If judges require more pours than one bottle to judge an entry, the "head" judge should ask the steward to request a second bottle from the cellar master. (Note: The emphasis here is on learning to judge a beer with just a few ounces in your glass. Obviously, for a gusher you would request a second bottle but you should not ask for an additional bottle just because you are pouring too much.)
85 T It is acceptable to request a second bottle to give the entry a fair chance at an accurate judging if a beer is a "gusher" or tastes infected.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2648
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 03:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You're free to disagree. We obviously interpret the (selective) passages above somewhat differently.

It is the judge director's job to manage the judging. It is NOT his job (or purview) to micro-manage the tables. "Asking for advice" or "seeking guidance" is not the same thing as going around your lead to try to overturn a decision, which is what you stated that you would do above. Ego has nothing to do with it - it's improper. You'd probably be disciplined or fired at work if you did that to your boss.

I've given my thoughts on the second bottle issue and I won't repeat them, except to reiterate that it is not mandatory to call for it in any circumstance. See 85. I personally would and so would you, but there may be circumstances in which there might be some undue difficulty or delay in doing so. Your interpretation of such a decision as "questionable behavior" on the part of the lead is itself questionable.

I am retired military and as such, perhaps I have a more rigid view of issues of chain-of-command and insubordination than you do. Rest assured, though, I know the rules and the roles and there is no need to lecture me on either.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2649
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 03:54 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh-by-the-way, Tom, you left something out that changes the entire context of the quote above:

•If a beer is a “gusher” or has an unpleasant aroma upon opening, a judge should not just assign a courtesy score of 13 without tasting and commenting on the characteristics of the beer. If the judges genuinely believe that the beer may be dangerous or hazardous to their health, they may state this belief and provide as much feedback as they can to the entrant, leaving the scores blank. Before taking this measure, call for a second bottle to see if the problem is isolated. (emphasis added)
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12546
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 04:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The debate is beginning to get bogged down in minutiae. I understand the need for spelling things out, but there is also no substitute for common sense and good will.

Beer dangerous to your health??? Short of the warnings aimed at pregnant women, and about driving and operating machinery, I'm unaware of any known human pathogen that can live in beer. On a very few occasions I've fought the gag reflex when judging homebrew at competitions, but I toughed it out and soldiered on. It's part of being a judge (and extremely rare, as I said).

As for gushers, just because a beer gushes doesn't automatically mean it's infected. It may merely be a little too enthusiastically carbonated. Just last week I opened a bottle of Orval. I did not shake it any any way, but about 20 percent of the contents gushed out when I popped the cap. There was no indication whatsoever of anything other than the aroma and flavor I expected. The bottle was dated (Orval now carries both a fill and a best-by date) December 2009, so it wasn't even that old. Had I judged it as a homebrew in a competition, I would have done nothing but given it one less point in the body and mouthfeel category for overcarbonation (and probably noted on the scoresheet that it gushed).

(Message edited by BillPierce on February 02, 2011)
 

Tom Gardner
Senior Member
Username: Tom

Post Number: 1216
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 67.177.226.129
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 05:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

At ease soldier, it's just beer dammit. Thankfully my military career is over. Though I am thankful for mine and yours.

Who's lecturing whom? What is "proper" and "polite" to the entrant is following the guidelines. I am just reading the BJCP judge instructions. I did shorten the passages to save some bandwidth. I don't think your addition changes anything.

To restate, question 82 includes "obviously, for a gusher you would request a second bottle".

Question 44 "When there is a discrepancy in the scores for a given beer, the lower-ranked judges should yield to the opinion of the highest ranked BJCP judge at the table." False

I find nothing that supports your statement that "It's quite another to refuse to accept his decision and then go over his head to try to undermine it." That is actually our responsibility to the entrant.

edited to add: forgot to mention. I have called the Judge Director to help solve a table decision, and I was the table captain, and I was over-ruled. Works for me.

Major Problem

(Message edited by tom on February 02, 2011)
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2650
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 08:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I see that you are a National judge, Tom. That makes it more difficult for me to understand how we can read the same rules and come to different conclusions. You've obviously judged before.

I disagree that our responsibility to the entrant includes being insubordinate to and uncooperative with a lead judge, and I would view your stated behavior as such. I guess if we can't even agree on the meaning of black-and-white rules, then we aren't going to agree on proper decorum and behavior related to those and other rules. That's unfortunate, since we judge under those same rules.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1130
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 24.74.83.67
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011 - 01:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This whole discussion and disagreement kind of enforces why I no longer enter contests. Not a judgment, just a reason why I direct my dollars elsewhere as a "customer."
 

Spiked Helmet
Member
Username: Hey_newt

Post Number: 107
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 98.215.130.7
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2011 - 10:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I discussed this thread last night with several local BJCP judges. Although our opinions differed slightly, at the end of the night we agreed that if not a gusher you should not ask for the second bottle. The main reason for this decision was how to determine the degree of infection present before a second bottle is called for. It seems that if you call for one retaste then you would have to call for the second bottle for EACH suspected infected beer in the flight. There just simply isn't time to do this in a competition. Remember, ultimately it is the responsibility of the brewer not to send an infected beer. As a judge it is our responsibility to score only the bottle of beer that is put in front of us.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 7507
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 208.85.238.144
Posted on Saturday, February 05, 2011 - 06:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I take issue with not retasting due to time. There should always be time given to do a thorough job and give the entrant the feedback they deserve.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12555
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Saturday, February 05, 2011 - 07:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's a fact of life that many competitions are understaffed in terms of enough time for the organizers, stewards and judges. As has been mentioned, it's a volunteer activity. Making it professional would alter the dynamics entirely; given how much it would cost for entrants, I don't believe there's a market to support that model. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be an effort under the current system to give entrants the most fair and accurate feedback possible, but we have to recognize reality.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 7509
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 208.85.238.144
Posted on Sunday, February 06, 2011 - 05:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have never run or judged at a comp (including final round of NHC 5 times) where time wasn't allowed to do what needed to be done. Yes, sometimes you have the organizers stabling over you asking you to hurry up, but I've never been denied the time needed.
 

Tom Gardner
Senior Member
Username: Tom

Post Number: 1218
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 66.38.129.154
Posted on Sunday, February 06, 2011 - 07:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, I was hoping to get some info from our club's contest yesterday, but I'm out of town.

We always have our 2nd bottle right there at the table, so it only takes seconds to open a new one.

If the first bottle is contaminated, I would try a second bottle to try to help differentiate between a contaminated bottle or the whole brew. Which brewer needs the more input, the 13 point contaminated beer or the 45 point Helles?

How about I buy the first round at the NHC in San Diego? I'm sure we'll find much more in common than our differences.
 

Spiked Helmet
Member
Username: Hey_newt

Post Number: 109
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 98.215.130.7
Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 08:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK. The time constraints are not the point in my last post. The point is where do we, as judges, draw the line about when to ask for the second bottle? How contaminated does the beer have to be to qualify for a second pour? It seems that you have to retry EVERY BOTTLE that has even a hint of an off flavor or you shouldn't retaste any of them. If the entrant is truly looking for feedback on a beer then they will get that on the first bottle. If they didn't know it was contaminated when sent to comp then thier score sheets will let them know. Trying the second bottle on only the worst cases of infection doesn't make it fair on the bottles that only have a hint of infection. Maybe I'm not seeing something but it seems that it is an all or nothing situation. If I'm wrong please enlighten me.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2730
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 09:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The more I think about it, the more I come around to the same point of view. While I would love to give each and every substandard beer a second chance, it would be far too much work. But where do we draw the line?

One of the beers I tasted that day was very badly oxidized. Should I have called for a second bottle on that one, just in case the one bottle had gotten air mixed in when filled?

Maybe the proper course would be to call for the second bottle only if the competition staff does something to the first, like stirring up the yeast sediment or allowing it to become too warm.
 

Tom Gardner
Senior Member
Username: Tom

Post Number: 1220
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 173.164.91.161
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 - 06:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Maybe we just have less "bad' beers? I can't remember the last time I asked for the 2nd bottle.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 6247
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 - 07:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

hahaha...I haven't been reading this thread since it is about BJCP judging, which bores me to tears, but the rule " If the judges genuinely believe that the beer may be dangerous or hazardous to their health" does make me laugh out loud. Good one!

I just entered a lambic into a local competition. One sip of that sour sucker and the judges might be invoking that rule!
 

Mike
Advanced Member
Username: Macker

Post Number: 533
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 151.151.109.18
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - 10:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have to go with the whole chain of command way of thinking. If it is outside of totally irresponsible behavior, then maybe I would go to the next level.

Just an additional thought; in instances where a second bottle is brought in, how many times has the other bottle not had the defects noted in the first? In my experience, I cannot remember an instance in which the results were too different from the first bottle.