WOTWXII – Aftermath

Yesterday was the War of the Worts XII homebrew competition. It is the largest local competition in the area. This year they had a record number of entries with 443 entries, over a hundred more than last year! I decided to go up and judge at this years competition again, and it was a good thing I did for they need every last judge they could get, 41 judges and 20 stewards to be precise.


The day is broken down into two sessions of judging broken-up by lunch and followed up with a Best of Show round and announcements of the winners. My morning session was quite a surprise for me, I judged Melomels and Open Category Meads. Melomels are fruit meads and the Open Category is everything that doesn’t fit into another mead category. I have never judged meads, or have never had any excess instruction on mead – so I quickly reviewed my BJCP guidelines and explained to the other judge at my table, Nate Brese, my situation. He was very comforting in saying any help I needed he was willing to give. We judged 14 different meads between 9AM and noon. That’s a lot of mead to drink that early in the morning, but it was great to really get to taste all these different kinds of meads out there. The winner was a delicious ruby red sweet still red & black currant with gooseberries mead, it was really just a joy to drink.

After lunch my afternoon session was the same thing I had judged last year at the WOTW, American, Foreign and Russian Imperial Stouts. This time I was paired up with David Houseman, again for this category. This time there was only 9 stouts to taste which is better, but unbeknowst to me there was another table judging 9 other stouts, Dry, Sweet and Oatmeal. So, after we finished and they finished we had to have a Mini-Best of Show to determine which was the over-all best stout. It came down to our initial pick of our first Foreign Extra Stout which ironically turned out to be my buddy Garrett’s Choking Sun Stout – awesome! Ithink David gave it a 41 and I gave it a 37 so it scored a final score of 39. We finished up the stouts at about 3:30. Supposedly the announcements were to be around 4:30 so I had an hour to kill.

During this time, Karen showed up and hung and drank with me which was good. Unforunetly, and not surprising, the BOS round took longer than expected and the announcements weren’t until after 6PM! Though I had already collected my score sheets and knew I had not placed, I was committed at this point to hang and watch the results. This year WOTWs pulled off some serious prizes. From what I could see there was a real nice looking counter flow chiller, a Blichmann’s Beer Gun, a hot air balloon ride, a mixed case of vintage beers, and tons of other assorted swag including shirts, ingredients, beer and gift certificates.


As far as my entries went, not so hot – but that is kind of what I expected. Two of the entries I sort of entered for shits-and-giggles because I knew they were out of category, but I wanted to see if they could be just out enough to be better then the others – didn’t happen. And the other two, my mead and cider, I was actually very interested to hear what they had to say because at that point I had never tasted another homebrewed mead or cider so I really had no idea if they sucked or ruled – looks like they were somewhere inbetween, which is what I expected. Anyway, here is a brief review of my score sheets – as always with these things I rarely take them to heart, yes the judges know what they are talking about, but I rarely brew within a style.

  • Peated MacRae ’05 – Score: 32 – Very Good – “Good beer, I like the smokiness. Malt may be a tad too sweet, tone down just a touch.”
  • Homegrown Session Ale – Score: 25 – Good – “A very nice tasting beer but needs more malt character and a lot less hop character for a mild.”
  • Linvilla Hard Cider – Score: 26 – Good – “Very delicate flavor, almost seltzer-like. Beautiful presence.”
  • Tupelo Turn Mead – Score: 32 – Very Good – “Delicate beautiful aroma, beautiful color with sweet initial flavor evolving brings out slightly acidic flavor with lingering bitterness.”

So, there you have it, WOTW XII in a nutshell. Hopefully in the next week I can “re-visit” these entries and try to evaluate (outside of BJCP guidlines) them myself, and post my opinions here for you.

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