BUZZ Off Pt2

Yesterday was the 14th Annual BUZZ Off Competition. This years competition was once again a qualifying event for the prestigious MCAB event, well prestigious in the homebrewing world. Also, it was hosted by both Iron Hill Brewery, the West Chester location, and the Brewers Unlimited Zany Zymurgists again.


Kind of last minute I decided I was going to go up and judge. I really like to judge, but it is always a very long day and difficult to judge the way you need to. There was about 270 entries this year which broke down to each judge judging about 25 beers per person. That’s 25 little 2oz samples that you are supposed to fairly and professionally judge as quickly as possible. I try to do the best I can, but in all honesty by the end it’d more like ‘this one was better or worse than that one’ and that’s about it. In the morning I judged Maibocks, Bocks, Eisbocks, Northern German Alts, and Dusseldorfs. I have never judged these categories nor brewed any of these styles but have tasted most of them, so it wasn’t an easy table for me to judge. In the long run, unfortunately, pretty much every beer we judged in the morning was OK to worse. In the afternoon I judged Robust Porters and Baltic Porters. Again, I have never judged these styles, but I had a much better idea of what I needed to judge. I would like to mention that for the morning and afternoon I did have a set of style guidelines with me so it wasn’t as if I were shooting blindly. The Porters ranged from a little less than OK to very nice. There was actually three of us judging in the afternoon so that was different. The one guy was a Grand Master level I so he knew his stuff, but was a little intimidating to contradict if you didn’t agree with what he said or he didn’t agree with what you said. Overall, good time judging, long day Saturday.

After it was all done and said I got to pick up my results. I was lucky and scored a third place with the SAW Pale Ale in the American Pale Ale category. The funny part is I felt as though this beer was way out of balance to the hops side and used non-traditional (though not inappropriate) hops for a Pale Ale. Here’s some more:

  • SAW Pale Ale – American Pale Ale – 40/40 = 40 = 3rd Place. “Very enjoyable and drinkable.”, “Very good example of style.”
  • Witbier – Witbier – 26/26 = 26. “A fairly easy drinking Wit that is refreshing, but lacks the expected flavors of the style.”, “Sweet malt flavor overpowers spices to some degree.”
  • Hazelnut Brown – Specialty Beer – 32/35 = 33.5. “Hazelnut is a tad big for the body.”, “A nice drinkable specialty beer, overall a strong effort.”
  • Oak Aged C-Hop Pale Ale – Wood Aged Beer – 32/34 = 33. “A nice Pale Ale, hops are distinctive.”, “Interesting, like a flower bed in my mouth.”

3 Responses to “BUZZ Off Pt2”

  1. David Says:

    Sounds like a long day. Congrats on the 3rd!

  2. Garrett Says:

    Your SAW kicked my Amarillo’s butt. 😉 Congrats on the third – very cool, and a tough category too – Lots of entries into the APA category.

  3. Brian Says:

    Thanks guys!

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