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Competition Advice

I am getting ready to submit several beers for a large local competition. I have only entered one competition before and it was a “Real Ale” competition where you submitted kegs.

Any advice on how to prepare the info submitted along with the beer? I have BeerSmith and have printed the “Competition Report” but is this what they are looking for? Info about all ingredients used and the complete recipe? Or do they just want style, and OG/FG info?

Just trying to figure out exactly what to provide. This is all they say:

“Place entry forms and payment a sealed zip-top bag. Additionally, enclose your each of your bottle labels in a small zip-top bag before attaching to their respective bottles. This way it makes it possible for the organizer to identify specifically which beer has broken if there is damage during shipment.”

Any have a standard form or label they are willing to share?

Thanks

Most competitions do NOT ask you for the recipe. They’ll ask for your name and address, the club you are in, the name of the beer, the BJCP style category number and letter of the beer (e.g., 9D Irish Red, 16E Belgian Specialty, etc.), and that’s pretty much it.

Typical bottle label:

http://www.bjcp.org/docs/SCP_BottleID.pdf

Style guidelines:

http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/catdex.php

Hope this helps.

Every competition I’ve entered has provided the forms that they require via links or online entry forms. Some require full recipes, some don’t… some need recipes only if you win the comp and it’s being brewed by a brewpub.

They also should give you a bottle lable template. I can try to dig up some standand blank forms if they haven’t given you anything specific.

edit - looks like Dave has got it covered :slight_smile:

I enrolled thus far, but have not registered specific beers yet. Maybe when I do that, they provide the form.

Thanks very much

Is it online registration and are they using the brewcomp software? If so when you register your beer you can import your beersmith recipes (export as beerxml from beersmith).

Usually once you’ve registered your beers you can print your forms and labels.

[quote=“CapnJB”]Is it online registration and are they using the brewcomp software? If so when you register your beer you can import your beersmith recipes (export as beerxml from beersmith).

Usually once you’ve registered your beers you can print your forms and labels.[/quote]

Appears they are using this:

The Brew Competition Online Entry and Management (BCOE&M) system is an online application to assist homebrew competition hosts (of the beer variety) to collect, store, and manage their competition entry and scoring data.

And yes, it does all the work for you, so I jumped the gun a bit.

Thanks

You should be able to print everything once you’ve got your beers entered then. In Beersmith, right click on a recipe and click Export As and export it as a beerxml file. Then (if the competition requires recipes) you can import the xml file when you register your beer. It’s not an exact conversion so you’ll need to go back and massage the data to make sure everything ended up where it should be and as intended. But it does save a lot of data entry :slight_smile:

Every comp I’ve judged has never given judges anything but a bottle of beer with a number on it unless its a specialty or fruit/vegetable category. There is no time to review recipes in the course of a normal comp.

The only one that I am entering that may require some more info is a pumpkin ale. Weird to think of that this time of year but it came out good and I had some left over, so what the hell.

If I brewed with butternut squash, is that what I need to tell them? Plus pumpkin spices and vanilla or would they know all that?

Yep.

[quote=“560sdl”]The only one that I am entering that may require some more info is a pumpkin ale. Weird to think of that this time of year but it came out good and I had some left over, so what the hell.

If I brewed with butternut squash, is that what I need to tell them? Plus pumpkin spices and vanilla or would they know all that?[/quote]

For the description, keep it simple and just all it a “pumpkin pie beer” or maybe “pumpkin pie blonde ale” or “pumpkin pie porter” depending on color and flavor, etc. The judges will know exactly what you mean by that.

Wow - I did much worse than I expected. The only other competition I had entered I had gotten mid 30’s and was disappointed with that. 4 beers, low to high 20’s

German Alt - 28

Never really had many Alts and was not really sure. It was a good beer out of the keg, but not one I would keep on tap at all times. I entered this because I had some bottles ready to go that I had bottled at kegging time with surplus beer. I had never even tried the bottled version yet.

Amber Ale - 22

Basically this is Denny’s Waldo Lake Amber - I brewed 10 gallons for my 2 year brewing anniversary. I was really surprised how low this score was. I really like this beer from the kegs. I cannot remember if I dry hopped in the keg or not. The bottles would not have benefited from that dry hop. Maybe this beer is too strong for the Amber Ale category?

Northern English Brown Ale - I call it my Real Ale as it is my attempt at cloning Bar Harbor Real Ale - 26.5

My second attempt at this beer. First attempt I entered into a real ale competition last fall and it was way too dark and roasty and I got low 30’s. This is much better and scored lower. Again, I bottled some excess at kegging time and submitted the bottles having never tasted the bottled version. Had high hopes for this one.

Pumpkin Ale - 28

Had some extra bottles laying around and figured what the heck. I do hop mine up a little more than some might do.

I do bottle so little that I use carbonation tabs (two different kinds) and in the past thought they might add a little off flavor, but not really sure.

Any real judges be willing to review my score sheets and offer some constructive advice? I am finding some comments to seem really out of wack to me regarding “off flavors from fermenting too high” and “possible infection” - when I have a dedicated fermentation fridge and NEVER ferment higher than low 60’s for my ales. I am also very careful about sanitation and have never seen anything resembling an infection.

My best advice: Don’t ever take 1 or 2 judges’ word for anything. Based on my experiences entering dozens of competitions, and being a judge myself (I am a BJCP Recognized judge), I’d say there’s roughly a 20-25% chance that any 1 judge is way way way off base. Happens all the time. Probably even happens when I am judging every once in a while. To help manage the unfortunate reality of occasional bad scoresheets, I always say you really need results from at least 3 different competitions (or perhaps 6 different judges) before you know the real story of how good or bad your beer truly is.

Sure, send me your scoresheets and I’ll review them for questionable judgments. I have PM’d you my email address.

Also to anyone who asks real nice and wants to send me free beer, I promise to drink it and send my own feedback in a prompt manner. Just let me know the style and I’m happy to judge for you, anytime, free of charge except for the shipping to my house of course.

Matter of fact, we used to do homebrew swaps on a monthly basis around some of the forums, maybe not NB but on some of the others. I used to dish out scoresheets left and right for those. I don’t judge a lot of competitions anymore but I still enjoy the opportunities when anyone asks. The only real problem, and probably the main reason that the swaps kind of died off, is that shipping is expensive, and occasionally UPS and FedEx get cranky if they find out you’ve shipped beer. They shouldn’t be asking what you are shipping anyway. Don’t ask, don’t tell. If they ask, just tell them you are sending yeast samples for evaluation. It’s not a lie and they’ll have no idea what you are talking about. However it is illegal to send beer via U.S. Postal Service, so stick with the others and you’re good. But anyway…

:cheers:

Thanks, I am going to send you my sheets via email.

Apparently they thought your beer was really fruity for the style. Are you pitching enough yeast? That’d be another way to get something that tastes fuselly.

You can email your sheets to me as well, although honestly without tasting the beers theres no good way to tell if they are right. There were two judges tasting your beer, and apparently they agreed on the issues right? So I’d taste your beer with a critical tongue again, and try and see what they were perceiving. Sometimes we are blinded by our own biases and perceptions.

As for the numbers I wouldn’t worry about those a whole lot. Different judges have different numerical predispositions. Its entirely possible they sent a beer to mini-BOS that was in the low 30’s. Its why things are set up like they are.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]Apparently they thought your beer was really fruity for the style. Are you pitching enough yeast? That’d be another way to get something that tastes fuselly.

You can email your sheets to me as well, although honestly without tasting the beers theres no good way to tell if they are right. There were two judges tasting your beer, and apparently they agreed on the issues right? So I’d taste your beer with a critical tongue again, and try and see what they were perceiving. Sometimes we are blinded by our own biases and perceptions.

As for the numbers I wouldn’t worry about those a whole lot. Different judges have different numerical predispositions. Its entirely possible they sent a beer to mini-BOS that was in the low 30’s. Its why things are set up like they are.[/quote]

Lennie,

The numbers from the judges were similar, but I felt like there was not agreement on the issues. I sent you the sheets and a summary of my process. In both competitions I have entered, there have been comments about maintaining proper fermentation temps and I almost laugh, because I cool and pitch at under 60* and ferment at very low 60’s for at least two weeks and give one or two more weeks at room temp to clean up. I make big starters for every beer I brew.

Thanks

I wonder if it is possible to ferment ales too cold!? I’ve never had a problem with fermenting ales at 60 F myself, but I suppose it might be possible?? I really don’t think this is your issue, I really don’t, since you say you are pitching good big starters. Unless it’s a thermometer calibration issue. Maybe your thermometer is way off and you are actually trying to ferment those ales at 55 F, and it’s stressing out the yeast too much because they prefer 65 F?? I guess I’ve never really heard of anyone fermenting every ale at 60 F before. Personally I shoot for 65 F for most ales, occasionally lower for alts and kolsches, maybe Scottish ales and whatnot, but that’s about it.

I agree that there’s no real patterns from what I’ve seen so far. I will take some time tonight to go over your scoresheets with a fine toothed comb. It’s not so easy to argue with National rank judges, especially when I’m not gulping the same beer to form my own opinions and try to prove them wrong. I ain’t afraid of Nationals, but man… you’ve got some well ranked judges evaluating all of these beers.

Dave,

I use a Thermapen which I am fairly certain is pretty darn accurate. I guess I could try raising the temps a little bit.

My comments have been emailed back. I had more ideas than I thought I would. Some might not apply and that’s okay. I’m hoping you’ll find a few gold nuggets in there someplace.

:cheers:

Thanks Dave, I am scrambling this am but will be able to look this afternoon

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