BJCP Electronic Score Sheet?

I saw someone post on Facebook regarding their effort to create a BJCP Electronic score sheet. It appeared the person had taken a few minutes and created a Google document where info could be entered. Reading between the lines it seemed as if they expected judges to run this on a smartphone.

At first this sounds interesting until you start to add a significant number of judges use the guidelines on their smartphone. That means a judge will have to switch between a browser app and the guideline app. It’s certainly not impossible, but it does take time. The other issue I seem immediately is the time required to type into a phone. Maybe it’s just me, but typing in a phone or tablet is slow going. I can type on a keyboard in a flash so a laptop makes sense, but on a phone just seems like a recipe to slow a competition to a crawl. My MO when judging is to keep the beer in my left hand and a pencil in my right and to not put down the beer until I finish the majority of the sheet. I guess I could pull that off with a smartphone in my hand, but that one-handed typing is slow and two-handed for me isn’t much better on a phone. Somewhere in the back of my mind I see that 10 min per beer average extending to 15-18 min.

Another concern is liquids and electronics. I’ve never been to a competition where a gusher or two didn’t occur. Sure you can open those off the table, but sometimes keeping the beer in the dump bucket is next to impossible. Another issue is spillage and that typically happens as well. Someone is reaching across and taps the edge of the glass and all of a sudden that iPhone 6 becomes waterlogged. A more recent item which has been happening in our area is our cup supplier is shipping cups with vertical cracks. It is at least 25% of the cups and may be as high as 40%. You pour a beer into a cup with no apparent issues, and a second later you have a dribble from the bottom. Most of the time that is minor, but at the competition I judged on Saturday a few times it was a major leak.

I’ve judged in many, many competitions in all kinds of environments. What I have found is most have little to no internet service and some have even had spotty cell service. To me this means any electronic score sheet needs to be able to operate without a web interface. I believe the gentleman on Facebook is only looking to do a Google form, not a true application or program which could be downloaded or shared. Without the internet this form is kaput and saying the internet is everywhere is short-sighted. I routinely travel to places where cell service is spotty to nonexistent and if a competition was held in one of these areas a hotspot connection would be a nonstarter. Another concern is the ability to charge devices. Does the competition have enough outlets near the judging area to handle 40-50 chargers? It sounds like a minor thing until you have everyone burning through a battery trying to complete the form.

I think an electronic sheet is a good idea, I’m just not convinced the one described on Facebook has taken all the potential scenarios into consideration.

Stone 18 Anniversary IPA

I decided to pop the top on Stone’s 18 Anniversary IPA beer last night and let me tell you it was a yawnfest. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting anything was off with the beer, it was just boring. The 8.5% ABV brew was nicely bittered, but muted and muddy in the flavor to the point of being nothing special, more of a brewpub beer. This was the second time I’ve had it and the first time I noted it wasn’t anything to write home about so I’m not surprised to find it underwhelming on my second venture. I like the fact Stone takes chances, but I find it disappointing when they don’t deliver, especially on those special releases such as this.

Looks Like Asheville Came In Third

USA Today held a reader’s poll for Best Beer Town and Asheville came in third behind winner Grand Rapids, MI and runner-up Tampa, FL. I was just in Grand Rapids and for sure it is a great beer town, but I still prefer Asheville. Tampa is a place I have not been in forever and a day, but it just doesn’t sound like a beer destination until you look at the list of breweries and brewpubs. I wonder if they have a surrounding beer community which rivals Asheville, but I seriously doubt it. Congrats to the winners, but to those USA Today readers who feel Tampa trumps Asheville, you need to get out more.

I have the solution!

The news is covering Ebola currently 24/7 and they should be. It is a very serious virus with a high rate of fatality. We have taken it for granted far too long. With that in mind, let’s solve the problem quick and easy. First step would be to pass legislation banning Ebola. That would work right? Next step would be to put up signs to stop Ebola from entering. That would certainly nip it in the bud!

Signs and laws only stop those who choose to obey them, if the Ebola virus doesn’t care what makes you think a criminal will?

Sometimes I Wonder If I Am Speaking Another Language

Last week I found myself at a Sake brewery and they had four offerings available. Their taster flight is three Sakes for nine dollars. So I asked if I could get a fourth so we could try all four. To this day I am still scratching my head over that conversation. The initial response was our board only holds three. I’m thinking then carry the other shot glass in your free hand or make a second trip. Later I pondered if she thought I was asking for a freebie, when in reality I was thinking add-on the last taster and charge me another three beans. Ultimately we settled on three and let it ride, but it made me wonder if I just don’t articulate well at times.

Typically I get a beer and water at the same time and try to more or less consume the same amount of both when I am having a beer. On more than one occasion someone has asked me if I am asking for them mixed. I have noticed over the years that is less and less, but maybe I should just tell them yes to see what they bring me to consume. ;)

Looks Like Troxler Needs To Go

NC Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler according to ABC11 came out yesterday and said, “We want to thank Judge Stephens for upholding the longstanding policy banning weapons at the State Fair and for issuing his decision so quickly. The fair-going public will now know what to expect as they make plans to attend the fair. As it always has been, the State Fair is a place for families to come out and have fun, learn about agriculture and enjoy themselves.” I never expected the Commissioner of Agriculture to be front and center in a gun control conversation, but here he is. The law is actually quite clear on the matter and if Steve cannot uphold the law as part of his duties we need to elect someone in 2016 to take his place. It seems like Steve and Larry Wooten must be collaborating and both of them need to find something else to spend their time on. Larry can be put out to pasture just as Steve can and hopefully will be in the next election. I’m just some dude writing a blog, but if these gentlemen cannot understand what the law states then both need to find new employment. I’m not sure what it will take to show Larry the door, but Steve can certainly feel the boot in the bum on November 6, 2016. I’m long on memory and short on patience at this point so if we need a grassroots effort to make it so Number 1 show me where to sign on to the cause.

The NC Statutes are clear, concealed permit holders are permitted to legally carry on the NC State Fairgrounds. If Larry B. Wooten and Steve Troxler cannot read and comprehend the statutes perhaps neither of them is qualified to hold the positions they currently have and should be replaced!

PS: If I were Judge Donald W. Stephens I might think about retirement instead of another term when his office is up for election in 2020.

No Soup For You!

For the first time ever I was told yesterday I was not needed for a homebrew competition where I volunteered as a BJCP judge. Now I am not the best judge on the planet, nor the highest ranking judge, but I’ve been homebrewing since 1998 and a judge since 2001 and achieve the rank of National in 2004. It’s a new competition to BJCP sanctioning so I do wish them well, but to turn away someone ranked in the top 15% of the program and involved for 13 years as a judge does not seem like a recipe for success.

Larry B. Wooten Does Not Speak For Me!

Maybe it’s time for someone else to be in charge of the NC Farm Bureau. I happened today upon a letter to the editor in the News & Observer from the President of the NC Farm Bureau. Let me start by saying I have been a Farm Bureau member myself for 31 years and my family for much longer than that so I feel a bit of a personal slap in the face by Larry Wooten. I’ve met Larry before and he seems like an intelligent person and a nice guy, but I’m wondering if that is a facade and what his true agenda might turn out to be. Maybe I’m reading too much into a letter to the editor, but the fact Larry felt compelled to say something on behalf of the members of the NC Farm Bureau when he never asked my opinion only goes to show in his role as NC Farm Bureau President he’s like many of our elected officials who ignore their constituents and set out on their own agenda.

In his letter Larry discussed guns at the State Fair which starts this week. I’ve already discussed the law and the fact posting the fairgrounds is not legal. Apparently Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler feels he can do as he pleases and a lawsuit has been filed which will ultimately change his mind. I worked at the fair for many years during college and can attest it is not the safest place on earth despite being a destination for many families. It would be interesting to see crime statistics for the fair and areas surrounding it to really demonstrate how unsafe it might be for attendees. I see many people saying they won’t attend the fair if legal guns are allowed, but those ignorant individuals fail to realize there will still be illegal firearms and weapons at the event and no one other than a sparse presence of law enforcement will be there if something tragic occurs.

What Larry and others fail to realize is those who would carry at the State Fair would do so legally after obtaining a concealed handgun permit and all the steps which are required to obtain that permit. Paul Valone of GRNC wrote an excellent Opinion piece entitled, Gun-carriers at NC State Fair would be resource, not hazard which Larry would be well advised to read. What I would ask of Larry is he not represent NC Farm Bureau with his own opinion unless he details the opinion is his own and not that of the people in his organization. If he cannot figure out a way to do that in the future he should step down and find other employment.

Mills River or Chico?

Yesterday we went on the hard hat tour of Sierra Nevada in Mills River and I must say that brewery is amazing. I learned something very simple which you may find useful. On the shoulder of the bottle is a date code which begins with the date of bottling followed by a letter, M or C, and finally with some additional numbers which indicate the batch. That M or C is important because it determines if the beer was made in Mills River, NC or Chico, CA. I’m not good enough to take a photo of the bottle shoulder to show the code so enjoy a photo of the new brewery instead.

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