Chris joined us at this meetup. He started homebrewing over 3 years ago but is just getting back into brewing after a year off back packing. Hes a stainless steel welder by trade so instantly became everyone's best friend.
Chris brought along an all grain sour/bretted porter. On the topic of beer categories it was recommended that this one could be entered as an American wild ale.
Introduction to Beer Judging and mini IPA Competition
Introduction - Rich started off the session explaining why you might want to enter national homebrew competitions and why you might want to get involved in judging. There are two main judging organisations:
- National Guild of Wine & Beer Judges - UK centric
- Beer Judging Certification Program - Originally US based but now being use internationally and adopted by the UK national homebrew competiton. Revised 2015 beer categories now wrote by members globally.
Beer Categories - To ensure we understood the IPA category we each had a printout of the entire 21A & 21B categories. Looking through the full list of categories its surprising how wide open some categories are vs other categories which have a very specific/narrow expectation.
Judging - We had 4 entries (Rich, Arron, Rob & Craig) + 2 ringer IPA's from the bar. Rich took us through the judging sheet which instantly sparked a number of questions regarding some of the terms used. Trying to understand all the terms proved interesting on its own. In a judging session typically no more than 8 beers are consumed. For our mini competition we split into two tables and judged 3 of the beers independently. The best from each table went through to the final where we voted for the best in show. Finally feedback sheets were return to entrants afterwards.
Getting Involved - Its really easy to get involved in the UK national homebrew competition. Simply tick the 'available to steward' tick box when entering your beer. There are only a limited number of BJCP judges in the UK and as a result an intake of homebrewers is needed to judge categories. Anyone can be a steward but to judge normally you have to go through a basic test which can be completed online. As a novice judge you would be paired with a certified judges during judging sessions.
Becoming a Judge - After completing the basic online test you can take a tasting exam to become a certified judge. The tasting session will also be taken by two certified judges. The idea is that your scores should closely match the certified judges scores. During the exam you will judge 6 beers which are all commercial beers, however one of the beers will have been tampered with and another beer will have been entered into the wrong category. Some months after the exam you will receive feedback on your judging capabilities and be awarded a level of competency.
Summary - A very informative session which we all enjoyed and learnt something. We intend to run another judging session for the stout category later in the year. The session highlighted that BJCP judging can help provide a framework to supply great feedback to us homebrewers and also (as per their site):
- Promote beer literacy
- Promote the appreciation of real beer
- Recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills
13th August Huddersfield Excursion - TBC
August if a funny month with many people away or busy. So instead of having a meetup we plan on having an excursion out to Hudderfield to experience the beer scene there. More than likely we will meetup in Manchester and commute over on the train. It will be on the 13th Aug the week before Brewcamp. We will confirm the excursion and attendees over Facebook and Twitter.
19th - 21st August Brewcamp
Brewcamp is a weekend long home brew meeting, somewhere in a field in the Peak District. Its likely to be in near Bakewell just like last year. Its a good way to meetup homebrewers from further a field, the bar tent is stocked by ourselves, the local countryside is nice and its even family friendly.
21st August Meetup - Informal @CafeBeermoth
A few members should still be able to make the usual meetup date on the 21st Aug @3pm @CafeBeermoth. We will try and tweet the week prior to gauge numbers.
16th October Manchester Vs Liverpool Homebrew Round 2
Liverpool have challenged us to round two of the Manchester Vs Liverpool brewoff. We are booked in at Black Lodge in Liverpool on the 16th. As you may know last time round we got beat on home turf to its our turn to return the favor! The brewoff will be run in a similar format to last time and the categories are likely to be:
- Strong (8% or above)
- Bitter/Ale (Brown Ale, Mild, Bitter)
More details will be confirmed in a separate article later this month. Our plan is to brew beers for these categories and in our September meetup pick the entries we want to pit against the Liverpool group. Their Facebook group is https://www.facebook.com/liverpoolhomebrewersclub and can be found on twitter https://twitter.com/liv_homebrew.
Nov The Great Northwest Homebrew Competition
Steve and Rich are actively planning The Great Northern Homebrew Competition. The competition is highly likely to fall in November. We are looking for a host who we could collaborate with and have some ideas already. As plans start to come together we will share more.
Top Tip Of The Month
When entering competitions brew a beer then decide what BJCP category it fits into
Other Beers In Attendance
- @BeerNouveau - 10.6% DIPA - Big, strong and full-flavoured, rich, hoppy barley wine. "Almost a sherry feel to it" - Jon. "Yeah its the booze" - Steve
- Chris - Sour/bretted porter. First attempt at a sour beer not a bad first attempt using bret with no gushing either.
- Jon - Black Sheep clone brewed with dry malt extract, challenger and fuggles.
- Jon - Pendle Witch clone but BrewUK failed to supply enough dry malt extract. Turns out the weaker beer allowed the 100% fuggles hops to shine through. A really tasty 3.9% bitter.
- Rob - 7.4% Imperial Sorachi Stout.
**As always there may be inaccuracies in this article as beer was consumed.