I entered my coffee sweet stout into a AHA competition last weekend. I saw my scorecard and the judge said it could have been sweeter. FG was 1.024. How can that be?
First, I don’t think one evaluation from one judge is enough to definitively state the beer is not sweet enough. If you get that comment from several judges then they might be on to something.
Many things aside from final gravity can influence the perception of sweetness. Can you share your recipe and process? If so, we could most likely provide you with more useful ideas if you want to adjust your beer.
I agree that one judge’s comment doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem. The judge didn’t know your beer was 1.024 though, somehow he perceived it as not that sweet. Maybe the level of roast was so high it masked the sweetness. Or maybe it was fairly bitter. Its a matter of balance, and since the whole idea of a sweet stout is for it to be sweet then that balance should lie to the sweet/smooth side of the stout category. Think about it for yourself and taste your beer again, and if you don’t agree then feel free to discount the comment. He may have tasted this as number nine out of a flight of ten and his taste buds were fried.
Honestly, when you read the guidelines it says medium to high sweetness, but at the end it says something about balance being potentially moderately dry. Those two parts are kind of at odds with one another.
12 lbs Marris Otter
1 lb Crystal 60
.5 lb roasted barley
.5 lb black malt
1 oz Fuggles for 60 min
.75 oz Kent Golding for 30 min
Mash at 156 for 60 min
IBU’s calculated at 20.5
Did you include any lactose in the recipe? If not, you might want to consider replacing some base malt with a pound of lactose. That will add a bit of sweetness and help create a creamy, silky mouthfeel.