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General Category => Events => Homebrew Competitions => Topic started by: rauschuber on September 29, 2013, 10:34:21 PM

Title: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: rauschuber on September 29, 2013, 10:34:21 PM
Anyone heard if the entry limit will remain at 15 for the 2014 NHC? Given how quickly entry registration filled up for 2013, I could see them wanting to lower it even more.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: klickitat jim on September 30, 2013, 12:17:55 AM
I can't imagine coming up with 15 comp ready beers. But that's just me.

When are the first round entries accepted usually?
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on September 30, 2013, 12:22:58 PM
I have no inside information on this but I wouldn't be surprised to see it drop to the 5-10 range on limit.  Even with the 15 entry limit, the whole thing filled up in no time.

I am also curious about this since I have a very tight brew schedule for the next 5 months to get beers ready for the first round.  Right now I am at 12 entries I'm planning, but may change that depending on how a couple do in upcoming competitions.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on September 30, 2013, 02:43:25 PM
if we include mead and cider I had at least 40 things to pick from last year.  Getting it down to 8 (as much $ as I was willing to spend) took weeks of intensive taste testing.   ;D 

Even if they don't have the information now, it would be great if the AHA could give us some dates on when certain decisions would be made/information would be released.  limits, costs, first round locations, 2015 NHC site, etc.  Or even just release some results of the various surveys they've taken.

...just my two cents.

cheers--
--Michael

Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on September 30, 2013, 03:10:05 PM
2015 NHC site, etc

I'm surprised the location hasn't been rumored yet.  I hope Asheville is on the list soon...
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 30, 2013, 03:27:56 PM
2015 NHC site, etc

I'm surprised the location hasn't been rumored yet.  I hope Asheville is on the list soon...
Yeah, pretty quiet, some searching shows that the contract has probably not been signed. If you filed out the question survey, potential cities were on that list.

Pure speculation is back to the West Coast, or the South. Rumors a few years back was that Austin was working on it, but ran into some roadblocks. Would like to go there for personal selfish reasons.

At 4000+ in future years, the conference becomes attractive to big convention hotels and conference centers. The downside is that many places will not have an NHC again, due to the size of the conference.

Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: denny on September 30, 2013, 04:03:50 PM
I believe in the next couple days, Jake Keeler intends to post reports from the AHA GC subcommittees about what they're working on.  I think the comp subcommittee will outline some of the ideas they're considering.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on September 30, 2013, 04:57:44 PM
One thing I worry about is the entry fee.  I know some want it to be $30 so people limit their entries.  I was fine with the increase last year but much higher and I'll  just not bother sending entries.

I know they were working on NHC last year, but I hope Philly is a 1st round site this year.  Two years ago, they did an excellent job!!
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: AmandaK on September 30, 2013, 05:14:27 PM
Getting it down to 8 (as much $ as I was willing to spend) took weeks of intensive taste testing.   ;D 

IMHO, that's how it should be. You advanced 4 out of 8, right? I entered 4, advanced 2. But I'm also not crazy enough to just enter as many beers as possible to "increase my chances". If you have 15 EXCELLENT beers, then great - enter them. But I cannot tell you how many entrant envelops I stuffed from our regional that had 12-15 entries with not only none advancing, but also some pretty low scores for most of the beers (mid 20s). I can't imagine paying $15 per entry on a beer I didn't think was world class.

Even if the cap was 5-10, I'd still maybe enter 4-5 beers a year.

Okay, soap box rant over.  8) Carry on!  ;D
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: bbkf on September 30, 2013, 05:20:39 PM
One thing I worry about is the entry fee.  I know some want it to be $30 so people limit their entries.  I was fine with the increase last year but much higher and I'll  just not bother sending entries.

I know they were working on NHC last year, but I hope Philly is a 1st round site this year.  Two years ago, they did an excellent job!!

In 2009, the fine folks in the Philly region didn't even judge my first round beers.  I was pissed at first but then was given a pass to the second round for their mistake.  I won two medals that year and got to go to beer camp at Sierra Nevada.  This is why I enter a lot of beer to NHC.  That beer camp trip was probably the coolest thing I've ever done in my life.

I entered KC last year and got my scoresheets back in about a week.  I'll likely enter there again if they host a first round site.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on September 30, 2013, 05:29:09 PM
I believe I responded to the survey that I thought a modest decrease in max entries to about 12 was OK.  One of the questions they've asked in the last year was how important Ninkasi is.  I think I responded that it was fairly important right now.  But it is only important when meaningful, and I don't think low limits on entries make Ninkasi very meaningful.  No one wants a 23-way tie.

I guess we'll see how important the rest of the membership thinks Ninkasi is.

Janis acknowledged in the latest Zymurgy that there was now room to grow the Final Round from a judge standpoint, and thus add more First Round regions.  Ignoring for the moment whether she can find more crazy dedicated clubs to organize a region, I think competition growth coupled with no more than a modest decrease in max entries/person would do for at least one year.

cheers--
--Michael

P.S. - thanks for the info Denny.  There's some very passionate people here and we really appreciate any updates.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: AmandaK on September 30, 2013, 06:12:29 PM
...more crazy dedicated clubs to organize a region...

HEY! Who you callin' crazy?   Oh... wait...  ;)
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: mabrungard on September 30, 2013, 08:52:30 PM
One thing I worry about is the entry fee.  I know some want it to be $30 so people limit their entries.  I was fine with the increase last year but much higher and I'll  just not bother sending entries.

I know they were working on NHC last year, but I hope Philly is a 1st round site this year.  Two years ago, they did an excellent job!!

Wow! Would someone actually send in entries if it cost $30 each?  That is steep, but clearly the demand is high and the amount of support the AHA can provide to the judges is limited.  $15 may be a little low, but $30 is really pushing it.  I do think that pricing should be increased to help moderate the demand and allow the AHA to better support the judges that otherwise donate everything to do this 'service' to their fellow homebrewers. 

Another thing that I would like to see are incentives for judges to participate in the first round competitions.  Incentives such as: reserved entries in next year's competition or reservations to this year's convention (you would still have to pay for them) might be more prized by the judges given the difficulty in getting those slots.  These are NO-COST incentives for AHA and they could have an effect on getting more and better qualified judges to the competition sites. 
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: morticaixavier on September 30, 2013, 11:00:13 PM
One thing I worry about is the entry fee.  I know some want it to be $30 so people limit their entries.  I was fine with the increase last year but much higher and I'll  just not bother sending entries.

I know they were working on NHC last year, but I hope Philly is a 1st round site this year.  Two years ago, they did an excellent job!!

Wow! Would someone actually send in entries if it cost $30 each?  That is steep, but clearly the demand is high and the amount of support the AHA can provide to the judges is limited.  $15 may be a little low, but $30 is really pushing it.  I do think that pricing should be increased to help moderate the demand and allow the AHA to better support the judges that otherwise donate everything to do this 'service' to their fellow homebrewers. 

Another thing that I would like to see are incentives for judges to participate in the first round competitions.  Incentives such as: reserved entries in next year's competition or reservations to this year's convention (you would still have to pay for them) might be more prized by the judges given the difficulty in getting those slots.  These are NO-COST incentives for AHA and they could have an effect on getting more and better qualified judges to the competition sites.

I recently found out that this is how the Iron Man competitions are handled. If you volunteer one year you get early registration the next.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on September 30, 2013, 11:10:02 PM

Wow! Would someone actually send in entries if it cost $30 each?  That is steep, but clearly the demand is high and the amount of support the AHA can provide to the judges is limited. $15 may be a little low, but $30 is really pushing it.   I do think that pricing should be increased to help moderate the demand and allow the AHA to better support the judges that otherwise donate everything to do this 'service' to their fellow homebrewers. 

man I hope not.  It was $12 this year and I think $15 is about as high as I'll go.  $20? - yeah I'm out.  Maybe $20+ makes sense to me if we ever have to go to three rounds.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: morticaixavier on October 01, 2013, 03:09:52 PM

Wow! Would someone actually send in entries if it cost $30 each?  That is steep, but clearly the demand is high and the amount of support the AHA can provide to the judges is limited. $15 may be a little low, but $30 is really pushing it.   I do think that pricing should be increased to help moderate the demand and allow the AHA to better support the judges that otherwise donate everything to do this 'service' to their fellow homebrewers. 

man I hope not.  It was $12 this year and I think $15 is about as high as I'll go.  $20? - yeah I'm out.  Maybe $20+ makes sense to me if we ever have to go to three rounds.

I totally agree. the problem with using price to marrow entry is that you narrow your entries with no regard to general quality of the entry. Unless there is solid evidence that the quality of beer goes up with the income of the brewer.

actually sure, make it 30 bucks but limit to 1 entry per person.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: denny on October 01, 2013, 03:43:06 PM
Subcommittee reports, including one from the comp subcommittee, are posted here....

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0001/6518/AHAGC_subcom_report_2013.pdf
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on October 01, 2013, 04:04:08 PM
"Due to the overwhelming demand for the competition, drastic changes will be required for the next year."

well that seems rather ominous, but I guess we'll see. 
I'll wait until we've been given at least, say, 35% of the new information before I freak out.   ;D

good luck guys; keep up updated!

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: bluesman on October 01, 2013, 04:37:50 PM
Subcommittee reports, including one from the comp subcommittee, are posted here....

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0001/6518/AHAGC_subcom_report_2013.pdf

You beat me to it Denny.

We are working on several options to enhance the competition for next year and the years to come. The committee has been hashing out details for many months now. We believe we have some viable modifications to help improve the ever increasing demand for the competition.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: macbrews on October 01, 2013, 06:11:36 PM
While I don't know the financial state of the AHA, it seems to me that the NHC is a cash cow.  If this is true, I would think that a limit of the total entries per participant would be a fairer method.  Significantly increasing the cost of entries would hurt those with less monetary resources.

The opportunity to compete in the NHC should be open to as many as possible. 

Mac
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 01, 2013, 06:27:10 PM
While I don't know the financial state of the AHA, it seems to me that the NHC is a cash cow. 
I doubt that. Competitions rarely make money. Even with the high entry costs of NHC, remember that there are two rounds to pay for with tons of logistics, refridgerated storage, competition space (final round in Philly was at the Convention Center), etc. And though judges aren't paid, judging isn't free. You have to pay for food for judges, competition supplies, thank you gifts, - at the convention center I'm sure they even paid to rent the tables and chairs.

Though I do agree that raising the entry fee would not work. It would cut people based on ability to pay rather than ability to brew. I think more people should get a chance to enter, but not unlimited beers. Only those who've performed well should get to compete for Ninkasi. Essentially, I'd like a mechanism where you must prove your skills to get higher numbers of entries. Perhaps those who medal one year would get more entries (and guaranteed entrance) the next.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on October 01, 2013, 06:38:21 PM
I'm sure like everything else in the craft/homebrew beer business, the words cash cow rarely come up.  Although I've seen interviews at Charlie's house, which looks really nice  ;)

One of the things I'd like to see with this year's competition is more consistent handling/understanding of releasing the scroresheets.  Some sheets last year went out right after the comp, some were held until the final release of the results.  Also, marking the place on the cover sheet would be handy.  I know in the past, I almost drank the rest of my beer that made it through because no place was marked and other in different regions said theirs were.

Whatever is decided, I would at least like to see it consistent among all the regions.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: macbrews on October 01, 2013, 07:16:29 PM
Cash cow is probably a bit strong but it seems that it should be revenue positive.  What is the bottom line?  Is it self-supporting?  Is it a yearly fund raiser for other much needed but less revenue generating projects of the AHA?  Just doing some quick math - at ~$200+ a pop to attend the conference for 3-4K people, $12 per each of the 7.5K+ entrants and the revenue generated from the retailers - it would seem to be approaching a cool mill in total revenues.  Without knowing the finances I can only guess.

If it is indeed self-supporting, then don't raise the fees.  If it is in the red, then do what it takes.  Just don't borrow any money from China.......
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: AmandaK on October 01, 2013, 07:47:12 PM

Whatever is decided, I would at least like to see it consistent among all the regions.

Whoever was running those later competitions didn't read the site organizers handbook, it clearly stated that you could send score sheets out as soon as you could.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 01, 2013, 08:14:24 PM
Cash cow is probably a bit strong but it seems that it should be revenue positive.  What is the bottom line?  Is it self-supporting?  Is it a yearly fund raiser for other much needed but less revenue generating projects of the AHA?  Just doing some quick math - at ~$200+ a pop to attend the conference for 3-4K people, $12 per each of the 7.5K+ entrants and the revenue generated from the retailers - it would seem to be approaching a cool mill in total revenues.  Without knowing the finances I can only guess.

If it is indeed self-supporting, then don't raise the fees.  If it is in the red, then do what it takes.  Just don't borrow any money from China.......

From the GC report, the Conference has been profitable since 2007. Before that, you can infer some years were not.

There are many costs that have to be taken care of, Security, cleaning of carpets (beer you know), the BA and AHA staff that make it happen, the cellar crew, the refrigerated space, the hotel staff that sets the conf rooms up and turns it around for the banquet, the list has to be long.

If the Conf. and competition make some money, then that would fund other activities and more AHA staff to concentrate on the AHA members. The Research and Education Fund would be an example (see the GC report).
Remember that the AHA is a nonprofit.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: phunhog on October 01, 2013, 08:15:20 PM
2013 was my first NHC and I hate to say it but I was disappointed on many levels.  It just seemed like everything from registering, to getting results, to getting actual scoresheets was a cluster.  Even the judging, at least in my case was ho-hum.  I had one beer advance all the way to Philly and made the mini bos in category.  In all that judging I only had one judge ranked National or higher evaluate my beer. The rest were either Provisional, Recognized, or Certified.  I can enter just about any BJCP and receive the same level of judging.  I entered my beers in the NHC because I thought it would get before the "best" judges out there....ideally at least National level in the 2nd round.  In my case it didn't happen
As far as entry limits. Two ways to go about it.  Keep the entry fee the same and just put a cap of 5-7 entries...everyone gets a chance to enter their best beers. The second way is keep the entry cap at 15 beers but up the entry fee to 20-25 dollars per entry. Again if you REALLY want to enter the NHC you will find a way and enter your best beers. Either way will solve the problem.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on October 01, 2013, 09:27:30 PM
It would be nice to know any entry limits or significant changes a bit earlier for 2014.  I believe we found out on January 24th this year?  I had been preparing for months by that point.  If the entry limit is going to be 3, I can probably stop now.   ;)
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: gmac on October 01, 2013, 09:49:32 PM
I'm going to enter at least 40 beers to the Canadian entry site...Oh, wait. There isn't one.  Glad I didn't spend the money on an AHA membership this year.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: morticaixavier on October 01, 2013, 10:42:26 PM
I'm going to enter at least 40 beers to the Canadian entry site...Oh, wait. There isn't one.  Glad I didn't spend the money on an AHA membership this year.

hell hath no snark like a Canadian scorned.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: gmac on October 01, 2013, 10:49:12 PM
I'm going to enter at least 40 beers to the Canadian entry site...Oh, wait. There isn't one.  Glad I didn't spend the money on an AHA membership this year.

hell hath no snark like a Canadian scorned.
Nope, no snark.  This goes back a bit.  I'd be happy to really let loose if you want but I actually like and respect most of the AHA members so I've been very polite (as we always are) for a long time now. 
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on October 02, 2013, 12:18:23 PM
It would be nice to know any entry limits or significant changes a bit earlier for 2014.  I believe we found out on January 24th this year?  I had been preparing for months by that point.  If the entry limit is going to be 3, I can probably stop now.   ;)

I too would find this useful.  I have rearranged a lot of things to schedule brew days to prepare beers for NHC, but if the limit is going to be significantly lower, it would help to know this sooner.

I do not envy the task the AHA and the GC have to tackle regarding the comp.  I'm sure whatever is decided is going to be unpopular with some, and they take the hit for it.
We believe we have some viable modifications to help improve the ever increasing demand for the competition.
Like every box received will be dropped from a 3rd story window onto pavement and only the unbroken bottles will be entered  ;D
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 02, 2013, 02:15:29 PM
I'm going to enter at least 40 beers to the Canadian entry site...Oh, wait. There isn't one.  Glad I didn't spend the money on an AHA membership this year.

Do I understand correctly that you are taking issue with an organization in this country not having an entry site in other countries?
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: gmac on October 02, 2013, 02:38:32 PM
I'm going to enter at least 40 beers to the Canadian entry site...Oh, wait. There isn't one.  Glad I didn't spend the money on an AHA membership this year.

Do I understand correctly that you are taking issue with an organization in this country not having an entry site in other countries?

The NHC had a Canadian qualifier up until last year. I am just disappointed that this was abruptly canceled. Particularly after spending a significant amount of time planning and brewing towards it only to find out it had been removed. If the NHC wants to remove it, that's the right of the AHA to do so but I have chosen to remove my support for at least this year.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: morticaixavier on October 02, 2013, 03:02:38 PM
I'm going to enter at least 40 beers to the Canadian entry site...Oh, wait. There isn't one.  Glad I didn't spend the money on an AHA membership this year.

Do I understand correctly that you are taking issue with an organization in this country not having an entry site in other countries?

The NHC had a Canadian qualifier up until last year. I am just disappointed that this was abruptly canceled. Particularly after spending a significant amount of time planning and brewing towards it only to find out it had been removed. If the NHC wants to remove it, that's the right of the AHA to do so but I have chosen to remove my support for at least this year.

additionally it is the American Homebrewers Association, NOT the United States of America Homebrew Association. Last I checked Canada was still on America. Now granted the National Homebrew Competition but...
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: gmac on October 02, 2013, 03:12:11 PM
I will apologize that my initial comment was also somewhat homebrew fuelled.
I don't mean to hijack the thread as I know this is a legitimate question. I still have several concerns related to AHA policy as it pertains to both international and domestic members and I have brought those forward to various board members and am awaiting a response.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: klickitat jim on October 02, 2013, 07:48:34 PM
I'm going to enter one beer this year and would pay $50 if needed. Anyone know approximately when the first round sign ups are?
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on October 02, 2013, 07:59:45 PM
I'm going to enter one beer this year and would pay $50 if needed. Anyone know approximately when the first round sign ups are?

Most likely in February.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: klickitat jim on October 02, 2013, 09:32:06 PM
Thanks! By the way, if it's $25 I might enter two.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 10, 2013, 05:37:25 PM
In all that judging I only had one judge ranked National or higher evaluate my beer. The rest were either Provisional, Recognized, or Certified.  I can enter just about any BJCP and receive the same level of judging.  I entered my beers in the NHC because I thought it would get before the "best" judges out there....ideally at least National level in the 2nd round.
I don't know about regionals, but the BJCP says that 54% of judges in the final round were National or higher. That's pretty impressive. There are only 850 National and higher judges, so about 1 in 8 was at the competition.  That's also enough for 1 or 2 National or higher judges on each flight. Local competitions can't match that.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: redbeerman on October 10, 2013, 08:14:38 PM
In all that judging I only had one judge ranked National or higher evaluate my beer. The rest were either Provisional, Recognized, or Certified.  I can enter just about any BJCP and receive the same level of judging.  I entered my beers in the NHC because I thought it would get before the "best" judges out there....ideally at least National level in the 2nd round.
I don't know about regionals, but the BJCP says that 54% of judges in the final round were National or higher. That's pretty impressive. There are only 850 National and higher judges, so about 1 in 8 was at the competition.  That's also enough for 1 or 2 National or higher judges on each flight. Local competitions can't match that.

The group I stewarded had at least two I believe.  And most had many years of experience.  It was very cool to say the least.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: AmandaK on October 10, 2013, 08:28:34 PM
In all that judging I only had one judge ranked National or higher evaluate my beer. The rest were either Provisional, Recognized, or Certified.  I can enter just about any BJCP and receive the same level of judging.  I entered my beers in the NHC because I thought it would get before the "best" judges out there....ideally at least National level in the 2nd round.
I don't know about regionals, but the BJCP says that 54% of judges in the final round were National or higher. That's pretty impressive. There are only 850 National and higher judges, so about 1 in 8 was at the competition.  That's also enough for 1 or 2 National or higher judges on each flight. Local competitions can't match that.

There are actually less than that (as far as active judges go), running an =COUNTIF() function on the National/Master databases on the BJCP website yields 682 National or higher judges (584 National, 98 Master or higher). So it's a bit more impressive that 54% were National or higher, 13% were Master or higher.

That means that 18.4% of National level judges in the country and 26.5% of the Master+ judges were there to help out!  8)
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on October 18, 2013, 07:14:29 PM
I just saw this on the NHC competition page on the AHA site:

Please check back in January 2014 for information about how to enter the competition.  Registration will be done lottery-style, allowing entrants to register themselves and a specified number of entries (TBD) at their leisure.  After the registration period, entrants will be notified regarding the actual allowed number of entries per entrant (TBD).

I'm sure when they release the details it will be more clear, but the last line has me wondering.  I'm curious if you submit your entries, and they "pull from a hat" which ones can go in.

Either way, there's sure to be some complaining  ;)
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 18, 2013, 07:53:26 PM
I just saw this on the NHC competition page on the AHA site:

Please check back in January 2014 for information about how to enter the competition.  Registration will be done lottery-style, allowing entrants to register themselves and a specified number of entries (TBD) at their leisure.  After the registration period, entrants will be notified regarding the actual allowed number of entries per entrant (TBD).

I'm sure when they release the details it will be more clear, but the last line has me wondering.  I'm curious if you submit your entries, and they "pull from a hat" which ones can go in.

Either way, there's sure to be some complaining  ;)
That is going to be interesting. It looks like you will register online, and then if those are picked in the lottery, and you send to the first round. Right?

With the general dissatisfaction last year, this will be a change that will let everyone have time to register, but many will still get left out. The AHA will get a look at the potential demand for entry slots if there were no limits.

Should be a fun ride.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: klickitat jim on October 18, 2013, 08:29:12 PM
It adds a new level of luck. I was planning on entering a beer this year. I guess if I win the lottery it will be a sign that I should go for it.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: gsandel on October 18, 2013, 10:06:29 PM
I am also planning on bringing one....whichever is my best beer (IMO) avaliable at the time....no, I am not brewing special for it.  That makes it far more interesting.  Ninkaski (or whatever it is) is a bad idea now that this hobby is popular.

Bring your best, expect to win, and if you don't, you get important feedback to try again next year.  Too many entries dilutes the ability of even good judges (of whatever rank) to provide good feedback.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: klickitat jim on October 18, 2013, 10:44:25 PM
Pretty much how I look at it. Ideally every AHA member sends their best and we measure lol
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on October 18, 2013, 10:57:08 PM
to me it would appear that the AHA is interested in answering one of the questions we know they have asked:  "What is the interest level?"  I don't disagree with wanting this information, I just fear the number is really large...

we know they have filled up.  We don't know exactly how many people have missed out.
So open "registration" and find out the interest level.  Maybe it is 27K entries among 6K entrants.  Then announce that the limit (that I suspect they know, or will soon) is 11.25K, or whatever the real number is.  They'll try to please as many people as possible and truncate entries/person above that point.

just my guess.   :-\
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: klickitat jim on October 18, 2013, 11:03:11 PM
Maybe forum post count will be considered lol
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 21, 2013, 12:24:13 PM
I'm sure when they release the details it will be more clear, but the last line has me wondering.  I'm curious if you submit your entries, and they "pull from a hat" which ones can go in.

Either way, there's sure to be some complaining  ;)
They've always allowed you to change categories. Hopefully they just tell you how many you get and you pick which ones you want - or you specify preference when signing up. Actually, that would be better. Getting people to log back in will be tough.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 21, 2013, 02:22:36 PM
If the lottery results in some people having more opportunities to enter beers then that has a big impact on who can win ninkasi. I have to imagine few people really enter with the expectation of competing for the ninkasi but if you were one with that goal it would really suck to pull a low number in the lottery.

Why not treat the NHC as sort of the playoffs of homebrewing competitions? Rather than make it an open competition, set a requirement that beers can only be entered if they have scored a minimum score in one or more AHA-sanctioned competitions. It shouldn't be that hard to coordinate a database of results from sanctioned local competitions. The cutoffs could be set to allow the maximum number of beers the AHA can support appearing at the NHC. In the alternative you could require a beer to pick up a designated number of points to qualify where points are earned based on scores at sanctioned competitions. If necessary, the local clubs could be required to pay back a flat amount or portion of entry fees in exchange for becoming a qualifying event.

It's win-win. It focuses entries towards local competitions where brewers are more likely to get detailed notes. It also cuts out low scoring beers from the NHC infrastructure, which opens more spots for quality beers. Honestly, there is no reason for beers below 35 points being judged at the NHC.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 21, 2013, 02:34:53 PM
It shouldn't be that hard to ...
Famous last words. Right up there with 'I would have thought that ...' and 'The obvious solution is ...'
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: brewmanator on October 21, 2013, 02:50:00 PM
If the lottery results in some people having more opportunities to enter beers then that has a big impact on who can win ninkasi. I have to imagine few people really enter with the expectation of competing for the ninkasi but if you were one with that goal it would really suck to pull a low number in the lottery.

Why not treat the NHC as sort of the playoffs of homebrewing competitions? Rather than make it an open competition, set a requirement that beers can only be entered if they have scored a minimum score in one or more AHA-sanctioned competitions. It shouldn't be that hard to coordinate a database of results from sanctioned local competitions. The cutoffs could be set to allow the maximum number of beers the AHA can support appearing at the NHC. In the alternative you could require a beer to pick up a designated number of points to qualify where points are earned based on scores at sanctioned competitions. If necessary, the local clubs could be required to pay back a flat amount or portion of entry fees in exchange for becoming a qualifying event.

It's win-win. It focuses entries towards local competitions where brewers are more likely to get detailed notes. It also cuts out low scoring beers from the NHC infrastructure, which opens more spots for quality beers. Honestly, there is no reason for beers below 35 points being judged at the NHC.

I disagree wholeheartedly with having to pre-qualify for this competition.  NHC should be about inclusion.  There is perfectly fine competition called MCAB, Master Championship of Amatuer Brewing, that does just what you describe above.  If this is what you strive for then target your entries toward that competition.  Any AHA member should have an equal chance to enter at least one beer into NHC.  After that every member should have an equal chance to enter a second beer.  I am glad that they have instituted this sort of "pre-registration" that 1) gauges the interest of all the members and 2) eliminates the need to register at one particular time during the middle of a workday.  If there are more entrants than entries then good luck with the lottery.  I hope they do the lottery the right way, and only institute it if it is needed (more entrants than entries).

Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 21, 2013, 03:43:20 PM

NHC should be about inclusion.

I agree in principle but at some point the competition is going to become larger than what the AHA can organize, particularly when you are talking about amassing judges to accurately judge that much beer. Lines will have to be drawn somewhere. Some people will always feel left out, whether it is because they couldn't get any beers entered or because they didn't get several highly regarded beers into the competition.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Pinski on October 21, 2013, 03:47:24 PM
If the lottery results in some people having more opportunities to enter beers then that has a big impact on who can win ninkasi. I have to imagine few people really enter with the expectation of competing for the ninkasi but if you were one with that goal it would really suck to pull a low number in the lottery.

Why not treat the NHC as sort of the playoffs of homebrewing competitions? Rather than make it an open competition, set a requirement that beers can only be entered if they have scored a minimum score in one or more AHA-sanctioned competitions. It shouldn't be that hard to coordinate a database of results from sanctioned local competitions. The cutoffs could be set to allow the maximum number of beers the AHA can support appearing at the NHC. In the alternative you could require a beer to pick up a designated number of points to qualify where points are earned based on scores at sanctioned competitions. If necessary, the local clubs could be required to pay back a flat amount or portion of entry fees in exchange for becoming a qualifying event.

It's win-win. It focuses entries towards local competitions where brewers are more likely to get detailed notes. It also cuts out low scoring beers from the NHC infrastructure, which opens more spots for quality beers. Honestly, there is no reason for beers below 35 points being judged at the NHC.

+1
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: denny on October 21, 2013, 03:53:58 PM
It shouldn't be that hard to ...
Famous last words. Right up there with 'I would have thought that ...' and 'The obvious solution is ...'

No to mention "Here, hold my beer and watch this..."
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on October 21, 2013, 04:05:04 PM
I just hope some clarification of the word "lottery" is forthcoming.

as long as less people register for the contest than they have entry slots, we can't really be mad, right?  I mean, I'd like to enter a bunch, but I recognize the inclusion and fairness of giving everyone possible a shot.  if 8-10K people register, we've got enough spots to give everyone one.  But maybe I'm underestimating the interest level, and as said previously it will be good to find out what it is.

contrast with finding out that your name wasn't picked from a lottery and you don't get to enter at all while others get multiple entries? - I think that would just change the uproar we experienced this year, not actually reduce it.   

I guess we'll find out...
cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 21, 2013, 04:33:55 PM
If the lottery results in some people having more opportunities to enter beers then that has a big impact on who can win ninkasi. I have to imagine few people really enter with the expectation of competing for the ninkasi but if you were one with that goal it would really suck to pull a low number in the lottery.

Why not treat the NHC as sort of the playoffs of homebrewing competitions? Rather than make it an open competition, set a requirement that beers can only be entered if they have scored a minimum score in one or more AHA-sanctioned competitions. It shouldn't be that hard to coordinate a database of results from sanctioned local competitions. The cutoffs could be set to allow the maximum number of beers the AHA can support appearing at the NHC. In the alternative you could require a beer to pick up a designated number of points to qualify where points are earned based on scores at sanctioned competitions. If necessary, the local clubs could be required to pay back a flat amount or portion of entry fees in exchange for becoming a qualifying event.

It's win-win. It focuses entries towards local competitions where brewers are more likely to get detailed notes. It also cuts out low scoring beers from the NHC infrastructure, which opens more spots for quality beers. Honestly, there is no reason for beers below 35 points being judged at the NHC.

I will point out again that I had a beer score 42 at a 1000 entry competition here in MI, then it got a 32 a month later first round of NHC (Octoberfest, First round judge knocked it cause it was not a Maerzen). There are many beers that peak quickly and one would have to rebrew for first round. So is that rebrew qualified, as it is a different batch? I know that many rebrew for the second round, want your viewpoint.






Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: courtneyt on October 21, 2013, 04:41:21 PM
It sure seems like a lottery is overly complicated.  As an AHA member in good standing the thought of not being able to enter the competition is disturbing.  I would like to know that I'll have a reasonably assured chance to get at least a beer or two entered without having to jump though flaming hoops or rely on pure luck.  I've not followed a lot of the NHC competition limit posts very closely so this may have already been suggested but why not divide registration to the competition into three phases?

Phase I - Open to current AHA members only and limit entries to a small number like maybe just two or three at a reasonable price (let's say $12).  This should almost certainly guarantee each AHA member that wants to enter the competition the opportunity to do so. 

Phase II - Still open only to current AHA members and allows more active brewers the chance to enter additional beers but still in a limited quantity of perhaps four to six more entries at a slightly higher price ($17?).

Phase III - If there are any spots still available then open registration to anyone at a still higher price ($22?) but perhaps still with a limit or implement the lottery at this point. 

I think this approach would address the needs of the base membership by virtually guaranteeing ease of entry at a nominal level. It would also provide a better chance of allowing more competition intense members the likelihood of a greater level of participation.  Then finally, the open free-for-all or lottery could provide opportunities to outsiders so long as the appetite of current members does not meet or exceed the max number of entries.  This last part might also encourage nonmembers to join if they value the NHC.

I know this is still not perfect but I think that, above all else, it would provide protection to AHA members and eliminate some of the feeding frenzy that was experienced last year.

Just my two cents worth...

Cheers,
Courtney
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: realbeerguy on October 21, 2013, 04:47:21 PM
It sure seems like a lottery is overly complicated.  As an AHA member in good standing the thought of not being able to enter the competition is disturbing.  I would like to know that I'll have a reasonably assured chance to get at least a beer or two entered without having to jump though flaming hoops or rely on pure luck.  I've not followed a lot of the NHC competition limit posts very closely so this may have already been suggested but why not divide registration to the competition into three phases?

Phase I - Open to current AHA members only and limit entries to a small number like maybe just two or three at a reasonable price (let's say $12).  This should almost certainly guarantee each AHA member that wants to enter the competition the opportunity to do so. 

Phase II - Still open only to current AHA members and allows more active brewers the chance to enter additional beers but still in a limited quantity of perhaps four to six more entries at a slightly higher price ($17?).

Phase III - If there are any spots still available then open registration to anyone at a still higher price ($22?) but perhaps still with a limit or implement the lottery at this point. 

I think this approach would address the needs of the base membership by virtually guaranteeing ease of entry at a nominal level. It would also provide a better chance of allowing more competition intense members the likelihood of a greater level of participation.  Then finally, the open free-for-all or lottery could provide opportunities to outsiders so long as the appetite of current members does not meet or exceed the max number of entries.  This last part might also encourage nonmembers to join if they value the NHC.

I know this is still not perfect but I think that, above all else, it would provide protection to AHA members and eliminate some of the feeding frenzy that was experienced last year.

Just my two cents worth...

Cheers,
Courtney

+1 on the initally limiting to AHA members.  If you are that interested in brewing, you SHOULD be an AHA member
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: bluesman on October 21, 2013, 04:54:34 PM
I just hope some clarification of the word "lottery" is forthcoming.

as long as less people register for the contest than they have entry slots, we can't really be mad, right?  I mean, I'd like to enter a bunch, but I recognize the inclusion and fairness of giving everyone possible a shot.  if 8-10K people register, we've got enough spots to give everyone one.  But maybe I'm underestimating the interest level, and as said previously it will be good to find out what it is.

contrast with finding out that your name wasn't picked from a lottery and you don't get to enter at all while others get multiple entries? - I think that would just change the uproar we experienced this year, not actually reduce it.   

I guess we'll find out...
cheers--
--Michael

This great hobby has become ever so popular. We've reached the point where change is inevitable. The demand for NHC registrations has become more and more difficult to manage. We must change our strategy in an effort to overcome this ever increasing demand for entries. A lottery sytem will allow for everyone to have the same odds of participation. All AHA members will have an opportunity to compete. More details on the lottery will be forthcoming.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: theDarkSide on October 21, 2013, 05:11:50 PM
Why not treat the NHC as sort of the playoffs of homebrewing competitions? Rather than make it an open competition, set a requirement that beers can only be entered if they have scored a minimum score in one or more AHA-sanctioned competitions.
I already do this on my own.  I just got scoresheets back from a comp for a beer I planned to enter into NHC.  Based on the comments, I may either rebrew it or most likely not submit it to NHC.

And as Jeff said, judging from comp to comp is variable. 

I will point out again that I had a beer score 42 at a 1000 entry competition here in MI, then it got a 32 a month later first round of NHC (Octoberfest, First round judge knocked it cause it was not a Maerzen).
Sad...
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: AmandaK on October 21, 2013, 05:22:38 PM
I just hope some clarification of the word "lottery" is forthcoming.

as long as less people register for the contest than they have entry slots, we can't really be mad, right?  I mean, I'd like to enter a bunch, but I recognize the inclusion and fairness of giving everyone possible a shot.  if 8-10K people register, we've got enough spots to give everyone one.  But maybe I'm underestimating the interest level, and as said previously it will be good to find out what it is.

contrast with finding out that your name wasn't picked from a lottery and you don't get to enter at all while others get multiple entries? - I think that would just change the uproar we experienced this year, not actually reduce it.   

I guess we'll find out...
cheers--
--Michael

This great hobby has become ever so popular. We've reached the point where change is inevitable. The demand for NHC registrations has become more and more difficult to manage. We must change our strategy in an effort to overcome this ever increasing demand for entries. A lottery sytem will allow for everyone to have the same odds of participation. All AHA members will have an opportunity to compete. More details on the lottery will be forthcoming.

Like Michael, I am also concerned about this "lottery". I do not like the idea of possibly being shut out of a competition I spend much of the year preparing for and donating a lot of my time to each year judging, stewarding and organizing. I have advanced at least one beer each year out of my usual four entries in my NHC competing career.

Stuffing envelopes for our regional last year helped me see the vast amount of subpar beer that is being entered into the NHC. I cannot tell you how many envelopes I stuffed with 12-15 entries, none advancing and all fairly low scores (19-25 average). It was really disappointing to know that with all of the registration issues, people still managed to take up 12-15 entries for themselves with a ton of 25 point beers. I'm not necessarily advocating for a 'pre-qualifier', it's just a data point.

IMHO, volunteers at the NHC events should be given preference in this 'lottery'. Volunteers are the life blood of this organization and competition and they should not be treated as if they do nothing to help out.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on October 21, 2013, 05:28:11 PM

This great hobby has become ever so popular. We've reached the point where change is inevitable. The demand for NHC registrations has become more and more difficult to manage. We must change our strategy in an effort to overcome this ever increasing demand for entries. A lottery sytem will allow for everyone to have the same odds of participation. All AHA members will have an opportunity to compete. More details on the lottery will be forthcoming.

Thank you for the reply Ron.

I'll say this:  I brew FOR NHC, yet I'll be done brewing for 2014 before the AHA tells me whether I even get to compete.
...Therefore I have no real incentive to brew for NHC.  With this information I'm cancelling at least half of my Nov/Dec brew days.  If I enter anything it won't be my best, but whatever I've got sitting around.  But hey I guess if that's what we've gotta do...

If there's going to be a lottery for access, at least make it early enough that people have time to actually brew in response to getting in. 

*shrug* - just my two cents.  Again, I appreciate the response.

cheers--
--Michael
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: tschmidlin on October 21, 2013, 06:12:32 PM
Like Ron said, details will be forthcoming.  A few things though . . .

It sure seems like a lottery is overly complicated.  As an AHA member in good standing the thought of not being able to enter the competition is disturbing.  I would like to know that I'll have a reasonably assured chance to get at least a beer or two entered without having to jump though flaming hoops or rely on pure luck.  I've not followed a lot of the NHC competition limit posts very closely so this may have already been suggested but why not divide registration to the competition into three phases?

Phase I - Open to current AHA members only and limit entries to a small number like maybe just two or three at a reasonable price (let's say $12).  This should almost certainly guarantee each AHA member that wants to enter the competition the opportunity to do so. 
[...]

We have nearly 40,000 members in the AHA.  Last year we were able to handle 8,250 entries in the first round.  Depending on demand, and we don't know where that tops out other than more than 8,250, there is no way to even complete Phase I of this plan without a lottery.  We used to do it first come first served, but that is not a good solution here obviously.

IMHO, volunteers at the NHC events should be given preference in this 'lottery'. Volunteers are the life blood of this organization and competition and they should not be treated as if they do nothing to help out.
I agree, and this would serve as further incentive for more volunteers to come out and help which would let us actually judge more entries.  Increasing entry limits will not all happen overnight though, we need to take a cautious approach to make sure they can all be properly judged.  We're going through growing pains right now, but we're heading where we need to be.

If there's going to be a lottery for access, at least make it early enough that people have time to actually brew in response to getting in.
This is a really good idea Michael, thanks, I'll see what we can do.  As long as we can get everything in place in time I see no reason not to do it as early as possible.

+1 on the initally limiting to AHA members.  If you are that interested in brewing, you SHOULD be an AHA member
Being an AHA member will be a requirement.  I don't expect there to be any spots left for non-AHA members even if we could double the size of the competition (which we can't so don't get your hopes up).
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 21, 2013, 07:40:58 PM
+1 on the initally limiting to AHA members.  If you are that interested in brewing, you SHOULD be an AHA member
Many agree, and it's been brought up before. But I think someone researched it and the number of non-AHA members entering is so small that although it's a fine idea, it will be a negligable difference. There is overwhelming demand from members alone.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: tschmidlin on October 22, 2013, 07:10:56 AM
+1 on the initally limiting to AHA members.  If you are that interested in brewing, you SHOULD be an AHA member
Many agree, and it's been brought up before. But I think someone researched it and the number of non-AHA members entering is so small that although it's a fine idea, it will be a negligable difference. There is overwhelming demand from members alone.
Yes, there are very few non-AHA members who enter.  Still, we'll save those spots for AHA members.  Maybe in the future we can meet the demand and include non-AHA members again.  Ah, for the days when the competition never sold out . . .
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 22, 2013, 11:44:38 AM
+1 on the initally limiting to AHA members.  If you are that interested in brewing, you SHOULD be an AHA member
Many agree, and it's been brought up before. But I think someone researched it and the number of non-AHA members entering is so small that although it's a fine idea, it will be a negligable difference. There is overwhelming demand from members alone.
Yes, there are very few non-AHA members who enter.  Still, we'll save those spots for AHA members.  Maybe in the future we can meet the demand and include non-AHA members again.  Ah, for the days when the competition never sold out . . .
That was not so long ago.

Tom, has anyone plotted the entries vs. year? That would have a nice trajectory, flattened by the limit being reached the last 2 years.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 22, 2013, 02:11:33 PM
I will point out again that I had a beer score 42 at a 1000 entry competition here in MI, then it got a 32 a month later first round of NHC (Octoberfest, First round judge knocked it cause it was not a Maerzen). There are many beers that peak quickly and one would have to rebrew for first round. So is that rebrew qualified, as it is a different batch? I know that many rebrew for the second round, want your viewpoint.

It could be approached the same as the difference between rounds of the NHC. People often rebrew between rounds of the NHC so they should be allowed to rebrew between qualifying and the first round of the NHC. Seems to me for many categories you would want rebrews. For example, it's doubtful many people would want to put six month old IPA in a competition.

I should also point out that I do not brew for competitions and I've never entered any competition. I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm just looking at what would make the best use of the limited resources available to judge the competition. It seems Amanda's experience strongly suggests there are a lot of beers going into the NHC that should receive detailed feedback and improvement before getting into the NHC. Pushing those beers into club-run competition where the brewers would have to improve the recipe before it could go into the NHC would benefit the brewer and the NHC.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 22, 2013, 02:31:10 PM
I will point out again that I had a beer score 42 at a 1000 entry competition here in MI, then it got a 32 a month later first round of NHC (Octoberfest, First round judge knocked it cause it was not a Maerzen). There are many beers that peak quickly and one would have to rebrew for first round. So is that rebrew qualified, as it is a different batch? I know that many rebrew for the second round, want your viewpoint.

It could be approached the same as the difference between rounds of the NHC. People often rebrew between rounds of the NHC so they should be allowed to rebrew between qualifying and the first round of the NHC. Seems to me for many categories you would want rebrews. For example, it's doubtful many people would want to put six month old IPA in a competition.

I should also point out that I do not brew for competitions and I've never entered any competition. I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm just looking at what would make the best use of the limited resources available to judge the competition. It seems Amanda's experience strongly suggests there are a lot of beers going into the NHC that should receive detailed feedback and improvement before getting into the NHC. Pushing those beers into club-run competition where the brewers would have to improve the recipe before it could go into the NHC would benefit the brewer and the NHC.

Having competed a lot over the last dozen years, there are a couple of things that are true.
1a. There is a lot of variability in the judges that your beer will get.
1b. The same 'beer' will place differently in several competitions. A guy I know who was cider maker of the year entered the same cider into our state fair competition, he said it did nothing. I had a beer that did real well in the NHC second round, and it did nothing in the state fair. You think those should have done better?
2. There are beers that are wonderful in the keg, but are not so good once bottled without high attention to detail in bottling. This has happened to me. A beer gun and being anal about O2 and sanitation are things that have helped.
3. Many, myself included, will have some "cellar blindness" when it is time to enter. This is where running the beers past other judges would help, but then again that worked for one beer this year but not another.

Even Gordon Strong had a rule of thumb that 1/3 of the beers will place in a competition. You would think he would do better.  ;)


Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on October 22, 2013, 04:51:17 PM
Again, as long as the number of registrants is less than the number of entry slots this year, I see no reason to not give everyone a shot with the remaining spots by lottery.  But that's a short-term solution at best and maybe not even possible this year depending on interest level.  Really curious to see just how popular this hobby/contest is!

Amanda's statement on mediocre scores plus my own experience judging in NHC makes me wonder about equal access for everyone.  On one hand it is the most fair, but on the other hand I want the best competition with the highest level beers possible.  I know he's not competing, but imagine if Gordon Strong's name wasn't picked out of the proverbial hat - sorry, you don't get to enter.  The competition loses some luster without people like that IMO.

I would give an entry spot to everyone that volunteered in each region the previous year.  I'd give another one to each medal winner.  And I'd give another one to each of the major individual award winners.  So by helping in the finals, winning two medals, and Ninkasi, dbarber would get at least 4 entry spots held for him, more if he helped out on the first round anywhere.  Maybe it isn't "equal" but at least the spots would have been EARNED, volunteerism would have been encouraged, and there will still be leftover spots to give out by lottery.

just my two (more) cents.
cheers--
--Michael

Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: bluesman on October 22, 2013, 04:52:18 PM
During this transition I anticipate/encourage further discussion on the changes being made to the process. We will be here to help answer those questions to the best of our ability. Tom and the competition subcommittee are on the case, and we'll try to help get your questions answered. It's an evolution that's deemed necessary. I believe that we'll all adjust accordingly...in a positive fashion.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: macbrews on October 26, 2013, 05:06:34 PM
There are some real problems and some good ideas, but so far no viable solutions to the problem presented.  The biggest problem is who gets in and who doesn’t and how many beers do they get in.  I know of a lot of people who tried to get in and couldn’t.  As we all know it is a crapshoot.  I was fortunate enough to win the light hybrid category this year, but what if all the top brewers got in?  The competition field would have changed.  Undoubtedly I would have still won ;), but it would have changed the level of the competition.  If I was limited to one or two beers to enter in the first round, I doubt if my wheat beer would have been one of them.  It just hit its prime – right beer, right judge, right time.

Earlier someone suggested a pre-qualification like the MCAB.  For several reasons, I think this is the direction to go.

Currently there are 16 qualifying events for the MCAB.  Out of these there are the potential for 352 entries (22 categories X 16).  Over the last 4 years they have averaged around 210 entries, which computes to about 60% of the qualifying spots.  I would think some of this is due to multiple wins in the same category but some is just the lack of interest or information about the MCAB.

Maybe the AHA should look at taking a hybrid approach to the solution by setting aside a certain percentage of the entries into the NHC based upon the results of the AHA sanctioned events through the year. 

If we were to reserve qualifying spots for the medal winners of say….100 of the sanctioned events, at the MCAB ratio we have the following:

Each event gives 84 medals and potential spots (3 X 28)
100 competitions would give us 8,400 potential spots
At the 60% rate of the MCAB, that would be 5040 entries that are pre-qualified.  Open the rest to non-qualifiers - based upon last years entries that would be 8250 - 5040 = 3,210 open spots at a minimum.

Rules would have to be established – One entry per Sub-category won (this way if you make a great English IPA and medal 5 times, you only get one slot for that sub-category but could qualify for an additional spot with an American IPA), Max the pre-qual at 10  or so – as well as other rules that would keep the reserved spots at or less than 5000.  The rest are up for grabs once the initial slots are filled.

This would achieve several significant things.  Any good, interested brewer can be assured that he/she will have the opportunity to enter the NHC by medaling in one the sanctioned events.  Face it, if you can’t medal over the course of a year, should your beer take up a space?  It will spark additional interest in the smaller events by increasing the number of entries and promoting homebrewing.  Most importantly it really would allow the best brewers to compete against each other while still allowing others to join the field.  Everybody’s happy………

Well probably not, but I do think that this is a viable solution for the problem.

Thanks for listening.  I know this was kind of long.

Mac
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 28, 2013, 12:58:11 PM
The problem I have with pre-qualifying is that MCAB is a two stage competition (Qualifier and MCAB). NHC is already a two stage competition (First round and final). Adding a qualifier would make it 3 stages. It would allow NHC to weed out poor entries, but it would probably turn off some great brewers who would be frustrated by the effort required to get to the final round.
 
My other concern is that there already is an MCAB. If NHC becomes 'another MCAB' why have the competition at all? That may not be a completely valid concern, but I think it has some merit.
 
That said, I do think NHC should have some way to guarantee entries to the best brewers (and those who volunteer at the competition). I just don't think a 3rd round qualifer is the way. I've suggested before that NHC could give the previous year's medalers guaranteed entrance for the next year (and a higher number of entries too). That way it might take a few years to get in through the lotter, but once you do, if you place one year you can keep competing the next. After a few years you'd have a pool of excellent brewers competing.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: dkfick on October 28, 2013, 02:44:14 PM
I suppose it would technically be 3 stages... but really... who only enters the NHC each year?  I think that has to be a minority.  If you make the prequalifier competitions that are already established and existing it will not put much more (if any) strain on the judges in those areas.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: AmandaK on October 28, 2013, 05:00:51 PM
I suppose it would technically be 3 stages... but really... who only enters the NHC each year?  I think that has to be a minority.  If you make the prequalifier competitions that are already established and existing it will not put much more (if any) strain on the judges in those areas.

I think your assumption that entries would not increase in these pre-qualifier competitions is not a good assumption. For example, we run a competition circuit here in the Midwest called the High Plains. If you (or your club) wins in one of those designated competitions you get points towards brewer of the year or club of the year. You better believe that A LOT of the entries in those competitions are because of the circuit it is attached to.

Let's say that my club's annual competition is already at 500+ entries. Imagine how many more entries we would have if it was one of only a certain number of comps to be part of the 'pre-qulaifying round' for the NHC. 100? 300? Yikes. There just isn't enough support/volunteers to run that big of a competition.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: dkfick on October 28, 2013, 05:57:03 PM
That is exactly why there needs to be quite a few of these prequalifying competitions.  I mean there are only 84 medal positions at a competition (28*3).  So it would take quite a few different comps.  I think if it's spead out there shouldn't really be a 'jump' for any of the competitions... Except I could see a bit of a bump on the competitions that would be towards the end of the schedule getting closer to the first round.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: macbrews on October 28, 2013, 06:24:09 PM


I think your assumption that entries would not increase in these pre-qualifier competitions is not a good assumption. For example, we run a competition circuit here in the Midwest called the High Plains. If you (or your club) wins in one of those designated competitions you get points towards brewer of the year or club of the year. You better believe that A LOT of the entries in those competitions are because of the circuit it is attached to.

Let's say that my club's annual competition is already at 500+ entries. Imagine how many more entries we would have if it was one of only a certain number of comps to be part of the 'pre-qulaifying round' for the NHC. 100? 300? Yikes. There just isn't enough support/volunteers to run that big of a competition.

Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 28, 2013, 06:57:49 PM
Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
It wouldn't be right to have a qualifier that gave members of one club (or any other group) preferencial registration. It would provide them with an easier route to qualification than other brewers get.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: macbrews on October 28, 2013, 11:59:16 PM
Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
It wouldn't be right to have a qualifier that gave members of one club (or any other group) preferencial registration. It would provide them with an easier route to qualification than other brewers get.

If you have a 100 qualifiers, I don't think it would be an issue.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: AmandaK on October 29, 2013, 12:04:37 AM
Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
It wouldn't be right to have a qualifier that gave members of one club (or any other group) preferencial registration. It would provide them with an easier route to qualification than other brewers get.

Exactly. Exclusivity is not the goal here. Increasing the volunteer base is the only long term solution I see. More volunteers, more first round sites, more entries can be judged at both the regionals and the nationals, more people are happy.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: macbrews on October 29, 2013, 02:34:39 AM
Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
It wouldn't be right to have a qualifier that gave members of one club (or any other group) preferencial registration. It would provide them with an easier route to qualification than other brewers get.

Exactly. Exclusivity is not the goal here. Increasing the volunteer base is the only long term solution I see. More volunteers, more first round sites, more entries can be judged at both the regionals and the nationals, more people are happy.

I agree that increasing the numbers and quality of the volunteer base is critical.  I am not sure that I think that there is a need to open up the total number of entries.  Is 8250 enough?  How many bad beers did you taste in the 1st round?  I tasted a lot.  The answer involves a method to increase the quality of the first round entrants.  Having 5000, ...or whatever, pre-qualifying spots based upon that brewers performance during the year and still allowing 3000+ spots for those who either got robbed and didn't medal, didn't have time during the rest of the brewing season or just want an opportunity to compete is pretty fair.  I don't think that there is any exclusivity to such a system.  In fact, I think it is very inclusive.  It gives all those who are interested, several options to get an opportunity.  It also gives them the entire year to secure a spot.  The quality of the competition will increase.  Everyone will be happy....

Well maybe not......

Compare that to a lottery

Mac
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: dkfick on October 29, 2013, 12:53:39 PM
Unquestionably it would potentially increase the number of entries, especially in the final quarter of the year.  Since the FOAM cup has been a MCAB qualifier, it has seen an increase of around 350 or so to 750.  Part of the reason is that it is the second to the last qualifier of the year and people are trying to get in to the MCAB.  Each competition would just need to cap their entries at a level that they could handle.  If they were concerned that too many "outsiders" would flood the available slots, then have two entry periods.  One for club members and then open it up to all.

Mac
It wouldn't be right to have a qualifier that gave members of one club (or any other group) preferencial registration. It would provide them with an easier route to qualification than other brewers get.

Exactly. Exclusivity is not the goal here. Increasing the volunteer base is the only long term solution I see. More volunteers, more first round sites, more entries can be judged at both the regionals and the nationals, more people are happy.

I agree that increasing the numbers and quality of the volunteer base is critical.  I am not sure that I think that there is a need to open up the total number of entries.  Is 8250 enough?  How many bad beers did you taste in the 1st round?  I tasted a lot.  The answer involves a method to increase the quality of the first round entrants.  Having 5000, ...or whatever, pre-qualifying spots based upon that brewers performance during the year and still allowing 3000+ spots for those who either got robbed and didn't medal, didn't have time during the rest of the brewing season or just want an opportunity to compete is pretty fair.  I don't think that there is any exclusivity to such a system.  In fact, I think it is very inclusive.  It gives all those who are interested, several options to get an opportunity.  It also gives them the entire year to secure a spot.  The quality of the competition will increase.  Everyone will be happy....

Well maybe not......

Compare that to a lottery

Mac

Agree 100%
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: Jimmy K on October 29, 2013, 12:59:35 PM
Well maybe not......
You've made the right decision if nobody is complete happy right?
 

Compare that to a lottery
You're proposing a lottery for the 'open' 3000 slots right? I agree that a simple lottery for all slots would be stupid. There needs to be a way for great brewers to compete without relying on luck. To be fair though, we don't know what the plan is and what you've described could still be quickly descibed as a lottery.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 29, 2013, 01:51:46 PM
I suppose it would technically be 3 stages... but really... who only enters the NHC each year?  I think that has to be a minority.  If you make the prequalifier competitions that are already established and existing it will not put much more (if any) strain on the judges in those areas.

I think your assumption that entries would not increase in these pre-qualifier competitions is not a good assumption. For example, we run a competition circuit here in the Midwest called the High Plains. If you (or your club) wins in one of those designated competitions you get points towards brewer of the year or club of the year. You better believe that A LOT of the entries in those competitions are because of the circuit it is attached to.

Let's say that my club's annual competition is already at 500+ entries. Imagine how many more entries we would have if it was one of only a certain number of comps to be part of the 'pre-qulaifying round' for the NHC. 100? 300? Yikes. There just isn't enough support/volunteers to run that big of a competition.

When I pitched this idea I pitched it with the assumption that more entries would be a good thing. I don't think that requires existing competitions to expand beyond their abilities. If we could easily do that then we could just expand the NHC's volunteer/judge pool and be done. I know my club sometimes struggles to get enough judges together to judge our smaller events (although part of that could be fixed by better planning). So it's definitely a legitimate concern.

I'm not sure we'd see 100-300 more entries at a competition, outside of maybe some of the very large competitions. It might justify running more small competitions or competitions attached to other local events. Maybe the NHC could provide resources to help facilitate competition operations/judging to ease the burden (e.g. setting up a system to locate and request judges for competitions). Maybe a set of entries should be set aside for BJCP-registered judges who accumulate a designated number of points in the year to help encourage people to judge. On the other hand, maybe the answer is much easier. With increased demand on club-run competitions, the clubs will give preference to members of homebrew clubs (or the AHA), which will entice people to join clubs, provide more financial resources to the clubs and make more potential volunteers available to help run the competitions.
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: macbrews on October 29, 2013, 02:15:19 PM
Well maybe not......
You've made the right decision if nobody is complete happy right?
 

Compare that to a lottery
You're proposing a lottery for the 'open' 3000 slots right? I agree that a simple lottery for all slots would be stupid. There needs to be a way for great brewers to compete without relying on luck. To be fair though, we don't know what the plan is and what you've described could still be quickly descibed as a lottery.

I am against a lottery.  My comment was meant to compare my suggested method with a lottery for the entire process which has been suggested.  I don't know how many AHA sanctioned competitions there are a year, but there appear to be well over a 100.  Some of them are not full, 28 category comps, some are.  There are obviously of lot of details that would need to be worked out.  There is no magic number of pre-quals vs at large entries.  I just think it gives the NHC a structure to build upon.

Mac
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: bbkf on October 29, 2013, 02:39:37 PM

Last year the final round was judged in a single session, for beer anyway.  There is already room there so long as that many good judges keep attending the conference. 

If they go with a lottery system and I get shut out, this National judge will be staying home.  I likely won't volunteer my time to judge at a first round judging site either. Don't piss off your judges and volunteers by excluding them or the whole thing will collapse quickly.


There are hundreds of competitions around the country for people that "just want quality feedback".  NHC should not be one of those competitions because the demand to enter is to high. 
Title: Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
Post by: udubdawg on October 29, 2013, 02:47:22 PM

Last year the final round was judged in a single session, for beer anyway.  There is already room there so long as that many good judges keep attending the conference. 

If they go with a lottery system and I get shut out, this National judge will be staying home.  I likely won't volunteer my time to judge at a first round judging site either. Don't piss off your judges and volunteers by excluding them or the whole thing will collapse quickly.


There are hundreds of competitions around the country for people that "just want quality feedback".  NHC should not be one of those competitions because the demand to enter is to high.

I tend to agree with your bolded statement, though I'll still show up to NHC/Final Round judging if I'm not picked. Wait, unless threatening not to show up will get me on the list?  ;D

I think there are reasonably fair ways to give preferential treatment to winners/volunteers and give everyone else an equal chance.  Lots of them have been mentioned here, and I think all have some merit.

lottery of 100% of spots will lead to different uproar, not less uproar than last year, IMO.  Taking quality of the average competition beer into account I don't consider 100% lottery an improvement at all.

cheers--
--Michael