Some of us at the Worcestershire Home Brew Club have decided to take a stab at becoming beer judges, in the hope that we can organise some sanctioned competitions in 2020 in the Midlands area. If nothing else, we should at least become better brewers by judging our own and each others beers for some constructive feedback. As we’re in a co-dependant situation – we have no judge to learn from – we’re taking things slowly over a few months, getting together once a month to do some blind taste testing, scoring and general chat over what we can (or can’t) smell, taste and feel in our beers. We’re following the plan from the official 2015 study guide, and January was class number 3.
The format we’re following is an initial discussion the technical side of brewing, followed by five commercial beers in a blind test, which we then have to figure out which was which style, finishing with a full scoresheet of a commercial beer. This month, we had:
- British Golden Ale (12A) – Purity Gold
- Best Bitter (11B) – Fullers London Pride
- American Pale Ale (18B) – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- American Amber Ale (19A) – Brewdog 5AM Saint
- Red IPA (21B) – 8 Wired India Red Ale
- American IPA (21A) – Founders Centennial
Moderate-low spicy hop aroma. Moderate bitterness. Spicy and earthy hop flavour. Gold colour. Bitterness lingered in the finish. Very easy drinking.
Fullers London Pride
Malty aroma with some fruity notes. Light caramel sweetness and some yeast flavours. Subtle strawberry fruitiness. Bitter finish builds up after a while but is moderately low.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Moderate-low citrus aroma. Citrus flavours with a slightly sweet malt backbone. Balanced, smooth bitterness. Slightly floral hop flavour. Hazy gold colour.
Brewdog 5AM Saint
Dark copper colour. Citrus hop aroma, some alcohol. Medium body. Low bitterness. ‘Cherry bakewell’ flavour. Malt sweetness and persistent head. Slight floral hop flavours.
8 Wired IRA
Dark copper. Caramel malt aroma. Medium-high bitterness. Dark caramel flavour. Low hop flavour. Long lasting off-white head.
Founders Centennial IPA
As a group we arrived at a very similar score for the Founders IPA, 39-42 points between 6 people. This was all done individually, and only discussed once all scores had been given. Pretty impressive that we were all within 3 points of each other!
Next month is off-flavour tasting, so plenty of Bud Light will be on the table. As long as people around us don’t think we’re in some kind of bad beer club, we should be alright.