They held up their tasting glasses to check out the color.

They stuck their noses deep inside the glasses to breathe in the aroma.

They tasted. Of course, they tasted.

And in the end, the judges crowned a new King of Ohio.

Yellow Springs Brewery’s Maxxdout American Stout was judged Saturday as the best Ohio-made stout at the third King of Ohio beer competition.

Three Tigers Brother Sam and Elevator Gravity 2.0 finished second and third, respectively.

The event, held at Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. in Akron, featured 80 stouts from breweries all over the Buckeye State.

"We’re super excited," Yellow Springs co-founder Nate Cornett said upon learning about the honor.

The brewery, located in Yellow Springs outside Dayton, hasn’t produced the beer in at least a year, but submitted an aged version for the competition. Maxxdout, which is 13.7 percent, has mellowed since it was first released and has developed a "wonderful chocolate, roasted, dark fruit flavor," Cornett said.

Yellow Springs is working on a special event to celebrate the win and to release a limited amount still available in kegs and 22-ounce bottles.

The King of Ohio competition — organized by myself, Tom Aguero of BrewMinds.com in Cincinnati and Patrick Woodward of PatsPints.com in Columbus — is unusual because it focuses on only one style and limits entries to Ohio breweries. All Ohio craft breweries were invited to submit one stout for the blind judging this year.

For those unfamiliar, the competition operates similar to a dog show.

The stouts were broken into sub-styles, with judges picking the best of each, just as there would be a best of breed with dogs. The winners in each category moved on to the best of show round, when the "King of Ohio" was determined.

As in the first two years, smaller breweries — some you may never have heard of — took home honors.

The winners in each category were:

• Oatmeal (eight entries): Three Tigers Brother Sam from Granville.

• Coffee/breakfast/milk (12 entries): Lockport Big Debbie from Bolivar.

• Fruit/vegetable (six entries): Flatrock Pagan Pumpkin from Napoleon.

• Barrel-aged (15 entries): FigLeaf Black Solstice from Middletown.

• Imperial (13 entries): Elevator Gravity 2.0 from Columbus.

• Specialty (15 entries): Listermann French Toast from Cincinnati.

• Normal stouts (11 entries): Yellow Springs Maxxdout.

The judges were certified beer judges from the Society of Akron Area Zymurgists and Society of Northeast Ohio Brewers homebrewing clubs; professional brewers Josh Jones of Hofbrauhaus Cleveland, Shawn Adams of the upcoming Akronym Brewing and Tom Robbins of Lager Heads Brewing; beer writers JD Malone of the Columbus Dispatch, Brian Dugger of the Toledo Blade, Dan Eaton of Columbus Business First and Karen Bujak of the Great Lakes Brewing News; and other invited guests.

The final table was judged by Jones, Bujak, professional brewer, certified beer judge and cicerone Jennifer Hermann, and certified beer judges and homebrewers Larry Reuter and Mike Ontolchik.

To be transparent, there were a couple of slips along the way. The Maxxdout should have been entered in the imperial category instead of being tasted with the normal stouts in the first round, given its high alcohol. One brewery also accidentally entered a pale ale instead of a stout.

The inaugural King of Ohio competition showcased IPAs, with Hoof Hearted Wet Musk of the Minotaur winning. The second featured session beers and Streetside Brewery took home the crown with Raspberry Beret.

We are still determining what style to judge next year and where to hold the competition.

[caption id="attachment_1697175" align="alignnone" width="300"] Jennifer Hermann of Kent smells a stout at the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1697174" align="alignnone" width="300"] Tom Robbins, brewer at Lager Heads Brewing Co. in Medina, judges a stout at the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1697173" align="alignnone" width="300"] Pretzels and stouts scatter a judging table at the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1697172" align="alignnone" width="258"] Brian Dugger, the beer writer for the Toledo Blade, sips a stout during the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1697171" align="alignnone" width="300"] Jessica Ihms of Cleveland and Todd Donnelly of Cleveland judge stouts at the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1697170" align="alignnone" width="300"] Rick Armon pours a stout for judging at the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1697169" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dan Eaton of Columbus judges stouts at the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_1697168" align="alignnone" width="300"] A volunteer pours beer at the King of Ohio contest on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio. (Leah Klafczynski/Beacon Journal/Ohio.com)[/caption]