Monday, February 11, 2008

Results from the International Mead Competition

(I can't spell check again. Sorry! I wonder if it's me or Blogspot....) (3/1/08 - all fixed!)

The IMC sort of ate my life for a while, but it's over now. I had a good time, even if I worked way to hard to actually relax at all. Saw good friends, met lots of great people, and oh yeah, drank a bit of nice mead.

I got a chance to judge, but not very much. The way the categories shook out over the day, it ended up that that was just one flight I could work on. That made me sad. But there was always more details and work to do. So I very much kept busy.

2 Old Broads (the name my buddy and I brew our braggots under) took 3rd place in Braggots with our Old Ale Braggot. It got a score that puts in the the "World Class example of the Style" which is something that sort of amazes me. This braggot was a comedy of errors and almost impossible to rebrew. Its the one that has done the best out of the 3 braggots we made taking (IIRC) 2 firsts, 1 second, and 2 thirds.

Meads are judged with as few points a possible. Ken Schram said in a presentation at the event that he feels that judges believe they get to keep all the points they don't award and turn them in to Saint Peter. That got a big laugh.

So the Old Ale Braggot got there (world class example of the style), and the Day at the Fair also was judged there. It didn't medal, but considering I entered it in the Open Category which is a HUGE group, I am fine with that. In Open there is no real "style", it's just sort of a catch-all for what ever else doesn't fit in any other group. So mostly the points mean the judges really liked it. The Chamomile/Mint in the Methaglins didn't place either. A chili mead took a First (in the Methaglins) and the Best of Show.

The competition was fierce. It's a good event. I am very pleased with the quality of comments the judges gave me/us on our judging sheets. They were helpful and clear. That doesn't always happen, unfortunately.

There truly is no accounting for taste.

I am learning things about what I actually TASTE in comparison to what other people TASTE. I am learning that I am really aware/sensitive to certain compounds that occur. One I have yet to find out what it actually is called. But I taste and smell it a lot. I am also sensitive to phenolics - plasticy (bad) or spicy (mostly good).

Rats. I wish I had been able to judge more. There were some world class judges there. Next time I think I'll try to enter more things in fewer classes so I have more opportunities to learn and test my palate. Judges taste and record their impressions separately, you see. Then there is some time to discuss, especially if the opinions are more than a few points off.

I'm glad to have the event over. I have no carboys in action currently - all empty!!! I know I need to revisit a couple of recipes from a couple of years ago. To brew and correct based on the feedback I have gotten to see if I can do better. Not in competitions, per se, but brew based on the feedback to correct problems with the recipe so I make a better brew. I need to brew the Chamomile/Mint and also rebrew the Chai with better notes this time. A commercial brewer (Spruce Mountain Meadery - if you get a chance to try their mead - don't pass it up, it's great!) loves my Chai and I need to see if I can help her figure out if my method can be done large scale.

I only have a couple of bottles of the C/M left and only one little bottle of the chai. It's hard not to horde. But when is a good time to open such scarcity? I am tending to think towards when I can do a vertical - open bottles from multiple brewings and drink and compare. That sounds really fun.

And I have a few ideas of new things to brew. Yay! Now I just need to get things back to "normal" for a bit so I have the time to tend to the mead.


Paula said...

I am highly sensitive to the phenolics, which through repeat exposure and intuition knew are BAD... Also, I really like certain spices ;-) -- All this makes me think I might be able to determine if a mead I made was actually good or not.
Meanwhile, I am one who is coming to terms with her senses. No pun intended. My father was actually paid well for his "nose" regarding chemical compounds; but, being a "chemical engineer" his sensibility was "validated." I would love develop my sense-abilities further....

Spike said...

I think I learned most from the "reflection" of talking about what I was tasting with the beer judging class I took. It helped to have a lot of other people's palates around to compare with.

But anytime you want to do some comparing and cognitive tasting, let me know!

When you going to start blogging?! I love the name of your blog!