Thursday, March 6, 2014

America's Finest City Homebrew Competition 2014 Results

I try and enter 2 competitions a year, the National Homebrew Competition and the local America's Finest City Homebrew Competition.  I've always done OK in both, yesterday I received my judges sheets back for review.

They Call Me Porter:  Scored a 39.5/50 Overall. Category #12B Robust Porter. 3rd Place, America's Finest City Homebrew Competition 2014

Judge #1, Certified 40/50

Aroma: 9/12 Moderately high roasty aroma, some dark chocolate, tobacco, a hint of caramel.  Hops aroma is moderate.  Fruity ester is mute. 

Appearance: 3/3  Very Dark brown in color.  Large tan head with good retention.  Some garbet? highlights.

Flavor: 15/20 Moderately strong malt flavor.  Coffee, dark chocolate, grainy characters.  Hop flavor is moderately low, bitterness is moderate.  Semi-dry finish.  Fruity esters moderately low.

Mouthfeel: 5/5 Medium body, medium carbonation, slight astringency.  (Not harsh) Semi - Dry finish

Overall Impression: 8/10 A robust porter with great roasty dark chocolate character.  Could use some more hops, but complex dark malt characters.  Tasty Brew!

Judge #2, National 39/50

Aroma: 9/12  Moderate sweet malt aroma with medium roasted malt notes.  Medium to light chocolate notes.  Medium English hop aroma.  Low caramel, but no toffee/ bread notes.

Appearance: 3/3  Moderate foam stand.  Head color is medium tan.  Beer color is very dark brown.  Clarity is good.  Head persists well.

Flavor:  15/20 Sweet malt flavor predominately.  Moderate English hop flavor.  Med-low roast from dark malt.  Medium to low caramel and bready notes.  Finishes medium dry. Hop Bitterness is low but complements the sweet malt. 

Mouthfeel: 4/5  Medium to full body.  Medium to high carbonation. Good creaminess.  Astringency from dark malts is restrain-able.  Smooth and easy drinking.  Could have a bit of additional drying from the roast.

Overall Impression: 8/10 A delicious porter!  Could score higher with just a bit of additional roast character.  Its a bit restrained for this style. Additional malt complexity (toffee/bready/caramel) notes, could also make it better.  try adding some complexity to the grain bill. 

Chris's Notes:  I really liked this beer, however I was surprised that the judges scored it so well.  It doesn't have that "Extra Push" that is normally associated with Porters.  Then if you add it into a flight I can see how it would be over looked by examples that push the style.  The one thing that it does have is a incredible mouthfeel to it.  The silky/smooth note was touched on a couple of times in the judges notes. Add in the chocolate roasty notes, it's a great beer.

Here is a link to the recipe and my Tasting Notes.

Mixed Berry Mead:  Scored a 29.5/50 Overall. Category #25C Other Fruit Melomel. America's Finest City Homebrew Competition 2014

Judge #1, Rank Pending 29/50

Aroma: 5/10 Nice fruit aroma.

Appearance: 6/6  Very clear, Ruby Red, Brilliant. 

Flavor: 12/24 Strong Fruit flavor with little honey flavor.  Needs more honey character. 

Overall Impression: 6/10 Very tasty fruit Melomel but lacks honey character.  Needs a bit more balance.  Tastes like fruit punch. 

Judge #2, Certified 30/50

Aroma: 7/12  Fruity-cherry like aroma.  Sweet.  Alcohol noted.  Some honey aroma but is muted.

Appearance: 5/6  Beautiful cherry red color.  Great clarity and some cabonation noted.  Medium to small bubbles. 

Flavor:  13/24 Some fruity flavor but tastes like fruit.  Very little to any honey noted.  Phonolic aftertaste.  Slight warming from alcohol is noted in aftertaste.

Overall Impression: 5/10 Chemical fruit flavor and lacking honey in aroma and flavor. 

Chris's Notes:   Can I be a little bit harsh on this one?  The judges above should not judge this category.  Nothing of value was to these judges sheets.  

Talk to me Goose:  Scored a 27/50 Overall. Category #24B Semi Sweet Mead.  Still, Semi Sweet, Standard. America's Finest City Homebrew Competition 2014

Judge #1, National 25/50

Aroma: 5/10 Medium to Low Honey sweetness with a low bubble gum ester.  Low alcohol.

Appearance: 5/6 Pale to straw, very slight haze, no legs.  Very fine bubbles initially which disappear. 

Flavor: 10/24 Medium sweetness with a bazooka joe bubble gum ester.  Sweetness is a medium but the acidity is low, leaving the balance towards the  sweetness.  No tannin, alcohol is low and smooth (NICE!) Body is medium, still.  Finishes is sweet and bubblegum lingers. 

Overall Impression: 5/10 This is a decent mead that would benefit from a little more acidity to balance the sweetness.  Try adding a little acid blend till the finish crisps up and lifts the sweetness.  Some tannin may help as well.  Age with some oak.

Judge #2, Recognized 29/50

Aroma: 5/12  Mostly floral honey, very faint alcohol.  Subtle esters - pear/apple/ maraschino cherry.  Good Complexity though.  Fairly subtle. 

Appearance: 4/6  Extremely pale straw, some haze. next to no carbonation.  (ever so slight haze)

Flavor:  14/24  Big Classic lovely flavors, firm acidity.  Balancing sweetness.  Very faint tannins, some warming alcohol.  Medium body, very slight tingling carbonation.  Sweetness comes trough in aftertaste. 

Overall Impression: 6/10 Overall well done - Maybe a little to sweet.  And lacking in the nose. 

Chris's Notes:   Besides the low score, the judges gave good feedback to this Mead.  I did however lie a little on this one.  It is really a Gooseberry Mead.  Which explains the bubblegum flavor notes.  It's sweet, but this one holds back any heat very well.  I have another one of these Meads in Gooseberries right now aging on Hickory and we will see how it turns out.   

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