Monday, April 11, 2011

Club-Only Competition - The Results

Back in the beginning of March, Lug Wrench reported on a unique situation, one that would test the metal of the two Lug Wrench Brothers' brews.  Both Jeff and Tom were selected by their respective clubs (the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale and the Rhode Island Fermentation Technicians) to represent their clubs in the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Club-Only Competition (CoC) for British pale ales - The Battle of the Bitters.  Jeff brewed an ordinary bitter, Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Category 8a, while Tom brewed a special bitter, Category 8b.  Jeff and Tom sent samples into the competition and eagerly awaited feedback.

The results are in, and the bragging rights go to:  neither of us.

Amazingly, both of us scored almost exactly the same score - 33 points for Tom and 32.5 points for Jeff.  The score is really the icing on the cake of coincidence.  It is relatively rare to score almost exactly the same number of points for two beers (scores are out of 50 points).  Combine that with the fact we each, independently, decided to brew a beer for the CoC and then we were each selected to represent our clubs.  Now, to score the same number of points.  It is in a word . . . strange.

As for feedback, the score sheets were relatively detailed in both cases.  We have, in the past, complained about the lack of helpful feedback from homebrewing competition judges.  These score sheets were descriptive in what the judges observed and tasted in our beers and provided recommendations to improve the beer in the future.  Tom's sheets stated that the beer tasted more like an ordinary bitter because of its clean and smooth body and lack of hop edge.  Jeff's sheets recommended some more age to smooth out the hop character and to increase the yeast flavor contribution slightly.

Overall, it was a neat, if strange, experience to have our beers compete against each other.  If you have ever hesitated to enter a CoC or other homebrewing competition, give it a shot.  You never know what opportunities might present themselves.



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