Thinking of entering a brewing competition? Congratulations! Good for you! It takes a bit of courage and preparation. We are always excited to meet more folks interested in the medieval ways of making alcoholic beverages.
For most of us, competitions are for getting feedback and learning.
Presentation You MUST mark your bottle – a label or well-attached tag – with your name and a list of ALL the ingredients, or it won’t be considered. we favor good bottling methods – leaning toward the modern – but if you present in a period-appropriate way that’s good too – more points for explaining why you chose what you did in your documentation (1 paragraph will do).
Categories Our customary categories are beer/ale, mead/wine, cordials, and sometimes non-alcoholic beverages. Note that the categories may change, and should be declared well ahead in the event notice or host’s webpage. Certainly as soon as we get word we’ll add it to this website in the calendar notes for that event. (For example, at one Sapphire Joust there was a prize for Best Period Blue Drink (documentation required). The winner made a cabbage cordial that was nearly navy blue at the bottom of the bottle. )
Cordials There are particular issues presenting a period cordial, which are discussed in this post.
Documentation We want documentation, but we don’t want a lot. Two or three pages will do. This is one of the big differences between the Guild and an A&S competition. For the Guild, we want to know what historical recipe you’re using, your redaction (what you actually did; there are always compromises), and what you’d do differently the next time you make it.
Bibliography We want a bibliography – you got that recipe somewhere, so tell us where. We’d rather you went to the original source. These days a lot of our best sources are on Google Books, Google Scholar, Project Gutenberg, or a similar website. Your friendly local SCAdian brewer may have a copy of the book. Sometimes you have to use three or four historical sources to figure out what the original author was talking about – show them. If you also referred to modern sources, include them.
Judging At Atlantian Guild competitions, we always try to have three judges present. Scores are usually an average of the three individual scores.
We encourage brewers to be present when their entries are discussed so they can hear what the judges are looking for, receive feedback, or possibly answer questions. A competitor generally doesn’t offer up conversation or information unless the judges ask. For one thing, it distracts the judges, who are always on a time schedule (even if they’re glad to see you and forget that schedule for a moment).
One of the features of judging an SCA brewers’ competition is that you never know what entries are going to show up. Judges may adjust their scoring according to what entries they have. That’s considered to be fine, as long as the same adjustment applies to everyone and is fair to all entries, and all the judges agree to it.
A certain amount of subjectiveness is part of any judging process. While most of our judges are pretty experienced, and try hard to be both fair and consistent, there can be judges who, that day, really care what kind of cork you used. It happens.
Judging Forms When these were created, circa 2008, they were meant to be working drafts. These were never meant to the be the permanent forms, we just never got back to amending them. There’s a project, if you’re looking for one…
The competition form is not always used with the guidelines rubric.