War of the Worts XIV

Yesterday, February 21, 2009, was the War of the Worts XIV homebrew competition in North Wales, PA.


I was able to judge this event yesterday but not able to participate. I’m a slacker when it comes time to signing up for these things so I always seem to miss the deadlines of when the entries are due. Typically they will allow judges to bring their entries day of the event, but the trick to that is that all of their paperwork has to be received prior to the deadline, oh well.

So in the morning I judged Spice/Herb/Vegetable beers which a lot of people do not like to do. I actually prefer to judge the S/H/V, Fruit, or Specialty categories because there is so much diversity in each category and I never know when I’ll try a beer that may inspire. For example, last competition I tried a great Chocolate Mint beer that I was absolutely surprised that it worked and this time I tried a beer labeled as a Sweet Habanero beer which is a total contradiction – but somehow he made it work. We had 27 beers and 7 judges in the morning, so we broke it out that each pair of judges (actually 2/2/3) would do about 9 beers. After that each pair picked their top 3 beers and they moved on to a mini-best of show round for that category, you can see the results in the picture above. I’d say we roughly had 3 coffee type beers, 3 pumpkin type beers, 2 chocolate type beers, and a spicy one. The winners were a Chocolate Hazelnut for first, and two different coffee beers for second and third.

Later in the afternoon I judged Strong Beers Table 1. What the hell is that? Basically there were so many entries (over 500) that some of the table groupings weren’t BJCP categories per se but groups of beers that could be judged for what they are (ie an Imperial Stout is still judged as an Imperial Stout) but would still make sense to be grouped together. We had 20 beers and 4 judges in the afternoon, so roughly 10 beers per pair. Fortunately the table had 10 Imperial Stouts, 7 Imperial IPAs, and 3 American Barelywines. I was on the IIPA and B-wines. Right out of the gate we had like 3 great IIPAs so I was stoked, it’s a category with a wide range that a lot of people just kind of muddy up. When we finished our 10 the other 2 judges still had 4 beers left so we hopped in and did 2 Imp Stouts too. Afterward there was another mini-best of show with 4 Imp Stouts and 3 IIPAs moving on. The winners were an IIPA for first (the first beer we drank that afternoon), an Imp Stout for second (one of the two we judged), and another Imp Stout for third.

All in all it was a good afternoon that ran smoothly, but started to run a little long. The awards ceremony was supposed to be at 5PM, they were just starting the official Best of Show judging at 5PM which can take up to an hour easily. Oh, this year they had it in a new location too. Previously it was at the Iron Hill in North Wales, this year it was in an empty store in the same location with the awards at IH. This worked out really well – we had all the space we needed and there were not any interruptions. On the down side (nothing major) the heat was very weak in the store we were in and lunch wasn’t as “nice” as when we are actually at a restaurant location, but we all lived. You can check out all the results here.

Leave a Reply