Introduction to the Competition
The Berlin Homebrewing Competition is taking place in 2016 for the second time. Founded in 2015 and based in Berlin/Brandenburg, this annual competition is organised by homebrewers for homebrewers and is the largest of its kind in Germany. As the interest in homebrewing has blossomed in Berlin, the competition is expanding this year. We expect more entrants; we have more categories and we will have an experienced Competition Jury from the community to judge the competition.
Beer Judging – More Than A Beauty Contest
Beer judging is a discipline that requires both deep knowledge of brewing as well as sensory abilities to be able to put this knowledge to work. Unlike many other competition forms, beer judging does not just require giving scores to entrants and selecting the ultimate category winners. In fact, this is almost of secondary important in the competition!
Far more important is that each entrant receives fair, honest and expert feedback on the beer that they have entered. All brewers can benefit from the experience of their peers to improve their brewing technique. The technical and sensory feedback recorded during the competition judging is in many ways the most important aspect of the competition itself.
For this reason, it is vital that competition judges are experienced homebrewers themselves, who can detect both how successful the beer is brewed according to style as well as the flaws that may have been introduced during the brewing process.
Requirements for Beer Judges in 2016
For the Berlin Homebrewing Competition 2016, our judges will be selected based on three requirements. These are:
- Deep Brewing Experience: Successful applicants will be experienced brewers or homebrewers. Since judges will be assigned to particular competition categories, they must be familiar with all the styles within a category and be able to give each individual brewers constructive, technical feedback on the positive and negative aspects of their brewing abilities. This is only possible with deep brewing experience.
- Proven Sensory Abilities: The selection process will involve a sensory test, in order to verify the applicant’s sensory abilities – in particular their ability to detect off-flavours / brewing flaws. Since all judges will be giving technical feedback to all entries, they must be able to prove their objective brewing knowledge in this test.
- Positive, collaborative attitude: The competition was founded for the benefit of homebrewers. Unlike many commercial competitions, this competition exists not as an opportunity for (self-)promotion, but in order to encourage brewing as a hobby. Judges must be willing to collaborate in a positive manner and provide constructive feedback for all participants.
Format of Competition Judging Sessions
In 2016, the competition judging sessions will take place on 04.06 & 18.06.2016. For each category in the competition, judges will sit together and review the style descriptions of the category that they are about to judge.
Over several hours, the beers will be judged blindly in rounds of 6-8 beers at a time: unlabelled samples will be brought out to each judge, who is expected to spend 4-5 minutes analysing each beer, taking technical notes and awarding that beer a score.
In a final discussion round in each category, judges will collaborate to select a winner for that category and discuss why the beer merits the first place. Judging sheets are collected and will be distributed to the participants during on the date of the awards ceremony.
In 2016, the competition categories are:
- Bottom Fermenting (Pils, Helles, Dunkel)
- Hefeweizen/Wheat Beer
- Pale Ale
- Brown Ale, Porter, Stout
- Special Category for 2016: Belgian Ales
Thank you for your interest in the competition!
Rory Lawton (Head Competition Judge)
Christian Glaeser (Head Organizer)
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- Twitter: @berlinbrew2016