How Many Comps?

For some reason, I’ve found myself entering more comps than usual this year. I’ve already submitted entries into 7 comps so far. Just curious what everyone else is doing.

I entered my first (and last) competition last year. Never again.


What was the issue?

The judges’ comments were insulting and didn’t help me learn anything at all. I figured that if my friends love my beer and I really like it, I don’t need to go any further. I was encouraged to submit so that I could get some helpful feedback from some experts, in hopes to improve my brew. I’ve learned more from just doing it, and reading forums such as this. I don’t need an “expert” to tell me my beer sucks.

My biggest reward is hearing “Man, that is the best beer I’ve ever tasted”.

I judged five comps last year and entered each one just to support the contest. Every time they had almost more entries than they could handle, so this year I’m not going to enter every contest I judge. I didn’t enter the KCBM, I think I’ll enter the Champion of the Pint just because I can drive the entires down there. I really hate packing and shipping beer.

We have a local competition around here that gets about 150 entries. My wife talked me into entering two years ago and I’ve enjoyed the feedback. I like the local-ness of it as I can attend the BOS judging (it’s at the Montgomery County AgFair). They normally have a panel of master/national judges and last year also had head brewer from Victory Brewery and a local Gordon Biersch head brewer. Since everything is judged blind, you never really know until after the judging if it was actually your beer up there, but its fun to pretend if the sub-category matches your entry. I’ve had one beer advance to BOS each year and for whatever reason, they both scored a 42 and they both got bumped at 8th place. It’s funny that they scored so similarly because they couldn’t have been more different if I tried. One was a boh pils, and one was a barley wine. Heh.

I don’t really care for bottling so when I hear about other competitions it’s usually too late to do anything. Last year I tried to get too fancy and filtered my beer, forced carbed and bought a beer gun to bottle from the keg. Big PITA and a big mess. I probably should had a test run or two before bottling for a competition. :oops:

This year I’m saying screw it and I’m going to bottle about six batches. If they turn out well I think I’d like to enter them in a much larger competition. The feedback has been very helpful thus far :slight_smile:

Just entered my first “real” comp. this week. Done a few local “bring your homebrew” - People’s choice award type comps.

Mainly just doing it because I want some totally unbiased feedback on my beer. Hoping the feed back is decent (regardless of whether they like/dislike my beer.)

Just got my results back for my Sierra Nevada PA clone that I entered, scored 34. One judge found the hop flavor “pleasant and and enjoyable”, the other found it “odd and off putting” Like that helps me!

[quote=“paultuttle”]The judges’ comments were insulting and didn’t help me learn anything at all.[/quote]Don’t give up on comps until you’ve entered one of the big national events - Upper Mississippi, Bluebonnet, Dixie Cup, NHA, etc. - you’ll get consistently decent, if not great, comments because they usually have BJCP judges. But if you like the beer, that’s what’s really important.

I enter every single one I can, ESPECIALLY if they only require a few bottles. Stone’s AHA rally and the San Diego County fair both want 5 gallons… ouch.

As a new judge I have noticd some of my comments were diametrically opposed to to my partner’s. Not much to do about it. We all have our sensory perceptions and they are colored by our likes/dislikes. I’d just look at any criticism and decide for myself if it is legit.

On the SNPA comments, the dank character of some of the citrusy American hops like Summit or Simcoe can be offputting to some people, while others who have experienced them might like them (like me). Descriptors like cat pee or green onion are characteristic of these hops, and its no surprise that some might find these off-putting.

Just entered the Bluebonnet and Drunk Monk last month. Same as everyone else, want someone other than friends saying “great beer” I usually enter the 2 Sam Adams contests every year and scored a 41 from both judges on an all chinook extract IPA last year.

I entered a North German Alt into Bluebonnet and Drunk Monk, along with an American Amber and APA. The Alt is not really a beer that I care for but made for a buddy and it came out perfect according to 2008 BJCP specs, the APA is just fricking good according to me :smiley: Just curious to see if the one that I think tastes better scores better than the one that is spot on spec wise.

i enter one a year and I don’t know why. Lots of poorly filled out scoresheets. Last one I entered was the WEB (World Expo of Beers) with 1034 entries. It was yesterday. I took Gold with my Denny’s Old Stoner american barlleywine at 17.5%abv. Also, our homebrew club CRAFT won club of the year.

I usually only enter a few each year, typically entering just 1 or 2 beers per a competition. The standard ones I enter are:

MN State Fair

  • 1 or 2 other local comps

The reason I enter these comps is because I can drop my entries off at the LHBS, no need to ship. Plus sometimes there are great prizes for winning.

Well, maybe after seeing the replies, I’ll enter another one, and give the process a chance. The last one I entered was “8 Seconds of Froth”, here in Cheyenne. I believe the judges were local too, which may have accounted for the unprofessional remarks. I’ve heard they have a pretty big one down in Ft. Collins, maybe I’ll check it out. I’m sure I’m not big enough for the one in Denver later this year.


I got one a couple years ago from a novice judge (female) judging my Robust Porter 9% and she said something like “This is really yummy but I am so wasted I can hardly …” and the handwriting was sloppy at first and illegible at the …

I was going to frame it and put it on the wall of my bar but decided against it mostly due to the sloppy writing.

[quote=“paultuttle”]I’m sure I’m not big enough for the one in Denver later this year.[/quote]FWIW, I won a BOS in an MCAB qualifier my first ever comp in my first year of brewing, so don’t underestimate your abilities simply because you don’t have a lot of competition experience.

+1 I just packed up 22 bottles yesterday. Augh!

Yeah, don’t give up on them. There are some really great prizes to be won and some judges give very informative feedback.

I entered one contest about 5 years ago not long before I moved to Europe, and got some very useful feedback. Just this past week I found the notice for the Finland national homebrew contest, so I’ll put some entries into that later this spring. Of course, it is unlikely I’ll get much useful feedback on the score sheets for this one… I’ve really got to learn Finnish at some point :lol:

Here’s the link for anyone else who wants to check it out: ... u-2012.php

I entered my first comp last April. Since then I have gotten scores back from 7 separate competitions. I also studied for and hopefully passed the BJCP test back in December? (Waiting for the results is killing me!) While I have been fortunate enough to get at least one medal in every comp I have entered so far, I agree that the judging can seem capricious or even random at times. I have had the same beer score from the low 20’s to the mid 40’s in different competitions. I’ve gotten medals for my best beers and for some of my not so great beers!

My conclusion, judging beer is a very subjective thing! No different than say, Olympic sports that are “judged,” My wife watches gymnastics and she is often surprised with the scores some judges give. (IE,that wasn’t a 10 it was a 5!) My favorite beer is English Bitter and if I judge that category I try to objectively read the BJCP description and apply it to my judging. None the less, it is hard to not give a great score to a beer that is closer to my favorite example of the style. I think the more experienced a judge the more objective they become. I put the most trust in judges who hold at least BJCP National rank or above. Those of us who judge are doing our best but there is a learning curve.

Ultimately, I hope entering comps helps me brew better beer. I am very proud when I enter a great beer and it gets a medal. I’m not so proud when I enter a marginal beer that gets a medal. Nor am I really upset when a great beer I entered fails to get a medal. Kind of like the NFL… “On any given Sunday”…