Yesterday, my local homebrew club, BUZZ (Brewers Unlimited Zany Zymurgists) hosted their annual Buzz Off beer competition. This year I decided to submit two beers: Spaz Stout an oatmeal coffee stout, and Big Bad Leory an indian brown ale. The stout received a score of 36.5/50 and I believe first the category received a 41. Still pending full results. The brown ale did poorly but the comments received are extremely helpful so I may adjust my recipes and continue to grow as a brewer. One of the judges is an AHA (American Homebrew Association) Grand Master Judge III, which means he has a ton of experience and the feedback on the stout was fantastic and it looks like I will be able to tweak the recipe a slight amount for next year’s competition.
On the day of the completion I also participated as a steward, or basically a waiter, who fetched flights of beer from the walk-in cooler to give to the judges, made sure they had enough cups, etc. The benefit of doing this was that I also sat at my assigned judges table and could listen in on the comments/conversation between the two judges as well as they offered my tastes so I too would know what they were talking about. It was a great experience! and I look forward to becoming more active with this group of brewers.
Each beer that wins first place in each category then advances to the best of show, this aspect of the competition is each judge receives a taste from all the beers and then they have a table talk discussion to narrow down to the best of show. This was fascinating to watch and listen to. Very comical as well as you can imagine that the best of show doesn’t get judge till the end of the day and many of these judges have been tasting since 9 am.