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Troubleshooter's Corner - The Video

Troubleshooter's Corner - Drew Tastes and Talks About Craig's Beer

Troubleshooters in Action!

For the first time ever we recorded a session of Troubleshooter's Corner - arguably one of my favorite things we do as a club since it's a direct service to the members.

If you've never attended a Maltose Falcons meeting, here's what happens. The Grand Hydrometer [currently me] gives a talk and tasting based on some general "theme". After the talk which can be, based on questions and samples being poured, between 45-90 minutes long, the club does some business and drinks some homebrew.

When the club breaks for lunch, the GH [me] and a few experienced members of the club go into the shop to lead a troubleshooting session. Everyone is welcome to bring beer that they want our opinion on. Sometimes it's a matter of brewer's seeking reassurance, sometimes a matter of something deeply off or a little tweak. Regardless, we're there to provide a close, interactive tasting to provide honest, yet friendly feedback.

As a bonus, they're pouring their beer for a small crew instead of the extremely intimidating group of folks (60-80+) in the main meeting.

Some months, there's one or two beers at Troubleshooter's - we finish quickly and head back into the main club meeting. Some months, like this month, there's a ton of beer and it takes us a while to get through.

It's a really great feature of the club and I think it's had incredible results for a number of our brewers. I highly encourage clubs to provide that sort of forum if you're not already!

Watch here to see what Troubleshooter's is like and if you have a beer for Troubleshooting - just bring it to the next club meeting and find us!


Running A Troubleshooter's Corner Session

  1. Make sure to have at least a pair of experienced brewers. Better to have different "expert" opinions to give brewers a better chance at getting useful feedback.
  2. All beers and brewers are welcome - no matter level of experience, brewing style, etc.
  3. As a participant, bring enough for everyone! (Also bring notes or remember what you did)
  4. As tasters give every beer a fair evaluation.
    1. Ask the brewer what's their goal - an evaluation? deciphering a particular problem? 
    2. Be honest - this isn't a session where you tell someone that their beer is fantastic if it has issues. That's a disservice. 
    3. Having said that - Be kind. There are plenty of ways to get critiques and feedback across without being a jerk.
    4. No matter how many times you've seen the same problem (straight use of chlorinated water is a common problem for instance with participants), a new brewer hasn't. Be humble in the face of the many things you don't know and explain things again.
    5. Ask questions - a big problem with BJCP judging is the lack of iteration. An off-flavor/flaw/issue can be caused by many of the same things. Iteratively ask questions to try and narrow it down.
    6. Ultimately, give your best guess to things you're seeing, but if it's a guess - be honest about it. Your ego can take saying "I don't know!"
    7. Remember to point out the positive aspects of the beer. It's good for your fellow brewer to know that their beer isn't a complete disaster and that there's room to build on. The positivity also helps any other messages to stick. (Keep in mind #2, don't blow smoke, but there's almost always something positive to find)
  5. Have fun with it.  It is beer after all.


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