Standards used by the
Inter Kingdom Brewers Guild
Created 29 July 2006
There are a great many questions about the judging standards used by IKBG during
competitions, and what is required in each area. This page is meant to answer some of the
more common questions.
What is meant by "Documentation"?
Documentation covers what you did to create your beverage, which includes the
recipe and the process/procedure. This information helps immensely in the
judging because it allows the judges to critique and provide feedback on things
that can improve the product. This may be minor tweaks to the hops, malt,
spices, or flavorings, or may be some significant changes in the process and
procedure being used. Not every brewer can stay for the competition, and even if
they do stay and explain everything they used and did, the judges like to refer
back to the information as they are evaluating various aspects of the product.
Why don't I have to create documentation like the type that is normally used in SCA
IKBG competitions are NOT and have NOT EVER tried to be an "A&S" competition. The IKBG is not interested in trying to match, replace, or supplant any
kingdom's A&S competition. The IKBG is primarily about whether the brewer can
make a quality beverage.
The SCA, in all the various A&S competitions, is focused on "period" stuff.
However, this also means that a brewer who "experiments" or is "creative" with
the ingredients and/or processes is usually penalized in their score. The IKBG,
being focused on the product's "drinkability", provides a place for a brewer to
have their beverages evaluated by other brewers that are focused on the product,
rather than the documentation and "authenticity" of the beverage. This provides
a complementary aspect to the normal judging that happens in an A&S competition.
Again, it is not intended to replace, supplant, or even match any A&S
A&S competitions are primarily interested in the authenticity of recipes,
processes, tools & techniques, and ingredients. The IKBG isn't. Not really. Yes, it can make the final difference between an 8 or 9
in documentation and a 10, but it doesn't make up the bulk of the documentation
score. Additionally, documentation doesn't make up truly significant portion of
the overall score for the beverage.
So you are telling me that I don't have to create a "period" beverage?
The simple answer to this
very astute question is "Yes, you are correct. It is possible (however
unlikely) to get 98 or 99 out of 100
for a completely non-period beverage."
- Would we like it to be a
period recipe and brewed in a period manner? Yes!
- Does it have to be a period
recipe? No, although that is certainly nice. As long as you did all the work
yourself and didn't just get one of those "add water and stick in the
kits, we are pretty happy.
What is meant by "Presentation"?
exactly that... how is the products "presented" at the competition. Presentation has several
aspects to it.
- Information on the label
- Proper fill
- Appropriate bottle
- Appropriate cap
Maybe it is too easy to get 10 points for presentation and we might consider
changing the percentages, but it has worked pretty well so far. We have seen the
- Information on the Label: Because the competition lasts several hours (in PA in August) some bottles
are cooled/iced because you don't know when in the competition a particular
entry will be judged, so your beer/wine/cordial may sit around for 3 or 4 hours
in the afternoon heat. Labels that either fall off the bottle (in a cooler of
several bottles) or have the ink run/smear make it very hard to identify what
the heck is being judged. Sometimes the writing on the entry form isn't clear,
or there is a stack of forms that have been left with a cooler (because the
person has other conflicts in their schedule and can't hang around). Even labels
with names like "Lord Brewsalot's Ale" or "Dementer's Kiss Cordial" don't
tell the judges anything about what is inside the bottle. Are we
judging a nut brown ale or an IPA? Is it a pilsener or a kölsch? what kind of
wine/mead/cordial is it? Labels don't have to be fancy graphics or snazzy
designs, but they do need to include information on specifically what is
inside (meaning a description of the beverage in common terms rather than a
fancy/irrelevant 'name') and who brewed it.
- Proper fill: Sometimes bottles have no carbonation/head because they are over filled or
under filled. There is a proper amount of liquid in the bottle and this reduces
oxidization, and yet provides the right amount of space for carbonation to
develop (for beers or sparkling wines/meads). There is also a proper amount of
liquid in a bottle, even if it is just a cordial. We really don't want to be
the last quarter bottle of the cordial your friends were drinking last night. We
prefer the simple common courtesy that you think the IKBG competition is
important enough to bring a "good bottle" (just as you would do if gifting a
friend or the local baron or baroness with it).
- Appropriate bottle: We gotten all sorts of bottles for all sorts of entries. Yes, a keg would
be ideal, and if you want to bring the keg to the competition then we are happy
with that. But, since we realize it is a competition and you only need to bring
one bottle's worth of liquid, a bottle is fine. We aren't trying to get picky
about medieval containers, but we don't want wine or cordial in a Grolsch
bottle, or mead in a cordial bottle, or beer in a plastic soda bottle. There are
beer bottles for beer (and they should be brown glass to prevent becoming
sunstruck). There are appropriate bottles for wine or mead. Various colours of
cool for wines and meads, but most any glass bottle that gets a cork is appropriate. Cordials should
also come in an appropriate bottle. Quart or liter size bottles for
cordials really aren't right.
- Appropriate cap: We have also seen a wide variety of caps. Twist off beer caps don't make
it. Screw off soda bottle caps don't make it. Screw off caps of any kind don't
make it. Pull out corks on beer bottles don't make it. (wired down mushroom
shaped corks in appropriate bottles for the appropriate type of beer/wine/mead
are fine.) Just like there are appropriate bottles, there are appropriate caps.
We aren't trying to be overly hard or nit-picky, but if you aren't proud
enough of your beverage to present it appropriately, then you will lose a few
I have a question that isn't answered here. How do I find out
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