Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Speed Judging Tips

There are certain situations where judging and relaying that information as quickly as possible are a good thing. For example, in the National Homebrew Competition, you are trying to get through hundreds of beers in the matter of a single day. Another case is an event at the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference held yearly.

The event is a speed blogging session where you are served 10 beers. You can choose to type up a single lengthy post later or at the conclusion, but for a pro-level experience, try typing up the reviews as individual posts on the fly. That's basically a beer review every 6 minutes.  Here are some pointers...

Aroma - The second the pour has hit your tasting glass, give it a whiff. Remember the first aromas that hit your senses and give it a second whiff. Type in those things, i.e. High coffee and chocolate (in a stout) or Medium-high pine and grapefruit (in a traditional IPA). Move on.

Appearance - Here you can put a quick take on visuals. Color, clarity, head color and retention, and carbonation level are the typical things that a BJCP judge would look for. Next

Flavor - If you're going to linger on anything, spend a little more time here, but not too much. You just want to get the overall character of the beer and relay it succinctly. In many cases, this is going to be similar to the aroma, but in others, you might get toffee notes or tropical fruit notes which were overwhelmed in the aroma, but shine in the flavor. Don't take too much time, though.

Mouthfeel - Another quick take. How does the beer feel in your mouth? Full-bodied, high carbonation, silky, dry, etc. are the qualities you're looking for. Jot them all down quickly.

Overall Impression - Finally, this is just your general impression of the beer. Is it a very good or excellent example of the style? What could be improved? Since these are commercial beers in the Speed Blogging session, there hopefully won't be any major flaws, but sometimes age or other factors may make it not the best example it could have been.

Now that you've got that one under your belt, hit submit and get ready for the next pour.