Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: jaftak22 on January 23, 2014, 10:28:04 pm

Title: First Competition
Post by: jaftak22 on January 23, 2014, 10:28:04 pm
Entered into my first competition that is taking place here in Colorado Springs. Can't wait to see what others think about my beer. How were your experiences with your first competition?
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 23, 2014, 10:56:44 pm
I'll let you know in a few months. COHO Spring Fling will be my first
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: fmader on January 24, 2014, 04:08:56 am
Good luck to you! My first competition was the 2013 NHC. I entered my second all grain brew, which was my second recipe design ever. To my surprise, I win a blue ribbon in round one. I actually earned a higher score in the final round, but it did not place. Needless to say, my first competition experience was a surprising success.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: ynotbrusum on January 24, 2014, 05:23:10 am
I've never entered one, but is may do so this year.  I was encouraged by the results last year with Annie Johnson's lawn mower, since I tend to make lighter lagers....no hiding behind those styles!
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: theDarkSide on January 24, 2014, 06:05:51 am
My first competition entry was in American Pale Ale.  Didn't realize back then the competition in that category.  Didn't place but did get some great feedback.  I did get a gold the following year in that same category.

Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: duboman on January 24, 2014, 07:04:26 am
Good luck! Even if you don't place the feedback you get helps a lot!

My first comp was a few years back, placed 3rd in a pale and second on a specialty.

I usually enter a couple a few comps each year. Just sent entries to the KC comp, hope they don't freeze on the way, this Midwest weather is freakin' brutal!
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: Jimmy K on January 24, 2014, 07:59:28 am
I was also head steward at the first competition I entered. I was thoroughly exhausted after, but my Belgian Dubbel took 2nd place in the Belgian & French category. What did you enter?
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: chinaski on January 24, 2014, 08:16:03 am
I got a ribbon for one of my beers, some good feedback that I agreed with, some not-so-good feedback that wasn't helpful.  Keep an open mind & realize that judges are people and a score and comments are not the end-all of brewing & beer enjoyment.  Realize that your success or lack thereof has to be put in the context of what other beers were in that competition as well.  In the end, you'll have to evaluate for yourself if your agree with the assessment of your beer, good or bad, high score or low score.  Good luck! 
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: morticaixavier on January 24, 2014, 08:45:29 am
my first competition was, I think, world cup of beers 2012. I didn't place on anything. as chinaski says, some of the feedback was good some not so good. Either way it was fun, and stressful, and exciting.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: son_of_buncrana on January 24, 2014, 09:14:31 am
Hey all I have entered some comps also. My first at an Octoberfest in 2012 and got a first and best of show for a chili ale and got a free entry into the national Comp in Philly last year. didn't do as well in the one in Philly but the feed back was priceless in helping me develop my Chile ale more. Also have entered a few others with varing results but my best I think was a comp in Philly last fall for a milk stout that got me a first and best of show and is going to be brewed at Nodding Head in Philly in a few weeks.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: dsmitch19 on January 24, 2014, 09:25:14 am
I won a bronze with the first beer I ever entered. That inspired me to brew and enter more. The great feedback on my scoresheet did the same and also inspired me to get involved with judging. So, it was a great experience for me. I hope yours is similar! :)
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: udubdawg on January 24, 2014, 09:32:11 am
Hey all I have entered some comps also. My first at an Octoberfest in 2012 and got a first and best of show for a chili ale and got a free entry into the national Comp in Philly last year. didn't do as well in the one in Philly but the feed back was priceless in helping me develop my Chile ale more. Also have entered a few others with varing results but my best I think was a comp in Philly last fall for a milk stout that got me a first and best of show and is going to be brewed at Nodding Head in Philly in a few weeks.

damn!

I'm starting to feel inadequate in this thread.
Congrats to everyone!
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: Iliff Ave on January 24, 2014, 10:01:45 am
I entered an IIPA into my first and only competition up to this point. It was a little ambitious especially considering that it was one of my first all grain beers and I have not brewed an IIPA since.

I don't know where my scorecard is but I didn't due too bad considering the circumstances. I do remember that there was a slight off-flavor that one of the judges detected and one judge in particular liked it much more than the others.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: erockrph on January 24, 2014, 10:41:26 am
Signed up for my first comp not too long ago. I have a Quad that I brewed with the Unibroue strain back in the fall of 2012, and a Blackberry Melomel from summer '12 that I'm submitting. I'm not really into the competition thing, but I'm curious to see how these do.

These are two of the brews that I like the best from what I've brewed. I'm interested to hear whether there are some suggestions to make them even better. I'm also curious to see if my assessment of them is in line with what the judges think. Sort of like the "Commercial Calibration" column in Zymurgy, but using my own homebrew. For example, I love my Quad right where it is, but I suspect a judge may be looking for a bit more yeast character. In the end, the next time I brew I will still brew it to my palate, but this will be a nice doublecheck to see if I'm on with my assessment.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: dkfick on January 24, 2014, 10:59:39 am
My first competition was the Michigan Beer Cup in 2010.  The price of your first 3 entries was the same rather you entered 1 or 3 entries so I entered 3.  I ended up with 2 third places.  One for a double IPA and one for a cinnamon vanilla mead.  That was the point at which I was hooked lol
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: jweiss206 on January 24, 2014, 11:44:46 am
My buddy and I entered our first competition a few months back. We just entered beers we happened to have in unlabeled bottles, none brewed with a comp in mind. He finished 3rd in the other category with a wheat based stout. Mine was rated good, a 26 I think, with some flaws, which I knew going in. It was an ESB that I just kinda whipped out without a fine attention to detail. It's great getting feedback from non-partisan reviews. It reinforced what I already knew (mash temps, oxidation etc.) I now put greater focus in controlling temps and making sure I introduce as little oxygen as possible when transferring from the carboy to bottling bucket.

Good luck!
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: jaftak22 on January 25, 2014, 09:10:04 pm
Pretty excited about it. But I am nervous as hell. Only had close friends and family try my beer. Everyone says they really like it. It's different to have complete strangers try your beer
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: fmader on January 26, 2014, 06:45:11 am
Pretty excited about it. But I am nervous as hell. Only had close friends and family try my beer. Everyone says they really like it. It's different to have complete strangers try your beer

This was actually the main reason for me to enter. My beer is great to everybody I know. I just wanted somebody else to taste it and get some unbiased feedback.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 26, 2014, 06:56:09 am
Family and friends are not critical judges, typically.

My first competition was back in the 90s. The one beer entered got a 28 or 29. 
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 26, 2014, 07:47:07 am
29 isn't horrible for a first, right? I just hope I don't get a 12
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: philm63 on January 26, 2014, 08:01:44 am
My first competition entry was in American Pale Ale.  Didn't realize back then the competition in that category.  Didn't place but did get some great feedback.  I did get a gold the following year in that same category.

Same exact experience here - got good comments with the first one, took gold with the next one. Even if I don't think a beer is a great example, if I can enter it in a comp and get comments, it's always worth it.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 26, 2014, 08:12:44 am
Similar to hopfenundmalz, I entered my first ~ 1994 or so (?) . It was an APA that scored 29. I took all the feedback to heart and, a couple comps later, bumped it to 39. I kind of got burned out with the comp thing after the first few years since I was working a ton of hours then, but i'd like to enter a couple comps this year to get tuned up and enter a couple beers in NHC next year maybe.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: darwin18 on January 26, 2014, 08:22:46 am
Pretty excited about it. But I am nervous as hell. Only had close friends and family try my beer. Everyone says they really like it. It's different to have complete strangers try your beer

Most first-time competition brewers, especially new brewers, don't score very well at first due to a number of reasons.  Without ever trying your beer, my recommendation would be to take the judge's comments constructively and don't take it too harshly.  In my first competition, I submitted a pale ale that scored a 21.  I was disheartened and my first impulse was to trash the scoresheet, but my wife talked me down.  Going through the scoresheet where all the flaws were pointed out wasn't very fun, but they were right and it made me a better brewer.  Regardless of how you score or place, try to apply the comments constructively.  That's the whole point of the competition, otherwise the judges wouldn't have to bother filling out scoresheets!  I have a wall full of ribbons now and I'm an active judge, but none of that would have happened if I had trashed the scoresheet. 
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: denny on January 26, 2014, 10:18:57 am
29 isn't horrible for a first, right? I just hope I don't get a 12

I wouldn't worry about it...they usually set 13 as the lowest score judges can give!  ;)
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 26, 2014, 10:28:01 am
Pretty excited about it. But I am nervous as hell. Only had close friends and family try my beer. Everyone says they really like it. It's different to have complete strangers try your beer

Most first-time competition brewers, especially new brewers, don't score very well at first due to a number of reasons.  Without ever trying your beer, my recommendation would be to take the judge's comments constructively and don't take it too harshly.  In my first competition, I submitted a pale ale that scored a 21.  I was disheartened and my first impulse was to trash the scoresheet, but my wife talked me down.  Going through the scoresheet where all the flaws were pointed out wasn't very fun, but they were right and it made me a better brewer.  Regardless of how you score or place, try to apply the comments constructively.  That's the whole point of the competition, otherwise the judges wouldn't have to bother filling out scoresheets!  I have a wall full of ribbons now and I'm an active judge, but none of that would have happened if I had trashed the scoresheet.

I will agree and reinforce that for jaftak22.

Be objective and try not to take it personally. You may like the beer, but may be cellar blind to some of its short comings. Set down with a glass of that beer when you have time and really go through the comments. Do you pick out flaws, if mentioned? Did the beer miss some style guidelines? Then think about how to improve ingredients and process to brew a better beer the next time.

Competing, and judging, have made me a better brewer, and able to recognize defects.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: Steve L on January 26, 2014, 10:31:42 am
I've only entered 2 competitions thus far but It was great to get some unbiased opinions. my scores ranged between 29 and 35 on 3 different brews. I was happy that what I thought was pretty good beers, others seemed to think so too. I'm hoping to get some beers entered into this years AHA. Do all who register make it in for judging for the first round? I've never submitted to the AHA before and was curious.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: jaftak22 on January 26, 2014, 01:21:54 pm
Totally looking forward to the unbiased feedback. That is pretty much the whole reason I have entered into this competition. Not knowing anyone else that home brews, I am self taught. I am sure that everyone else on here is to. So as a home brewer I feel that competing is invaluable because we have others taste our brew and help us with our short comings.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: morticaixavier on January 26, 2014, 03:47:48 pm
I've only entered 2 competitions thus far but It was great to get some unbiased opinions. my scores ranged between 29 and 35 on 3 different brews. I was happy that what I thought was pretty good beers, others seemed to think so too. I'm hoping to get some beers entered into this years AHA. Do all who register make it in for judging for the first round? I've never submitted to the AHA before and was curious.

If you get to enter your beer will be judged during the first round. if you place in your category in the first round you will advance to the second round. Now there are two different things to register for. there is the NHC = National Homebrewers Conference and the NHC = National Homebrew Contest, the final round of which is held during the Conference.

There will likely be a lottery for entry into the contest, likely not for the conference.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: Steve L on January 26, 2014, 04:34:14 pm
I've only entered 2 competitions thus far but It was great to get some unbiased opinions. my scores ranged between 29 and 35 on 3 different brews. I was happy that what I thought was pretty good beers, others seemed to think so too. I'm hoping to get some beers entered into this years AHA. Do all who register make it in for judging for the first round? I've never submitted to the AHA before and was curious.

If you get to enter your beer will be judged during the first round. if you place in your category in the first round you will advance to the second round. Now there are two different things to register for. there is the NHC = National Homebrewers Conference and the NHC = National Homebrew Contest, the final round of which is held during the Conference.

There will likely be a lottery for entry into the contest, likely not for the conference.
The lottery makes sense since they announced it doesn't matter if you register early or not. The cool thing is I should brew as though I'm expecting to get to send beer and if I don't get to compete, I get to drink some hopefully good beers! ;)
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: dkfick on January 26, 2014, 05:09:22 pm
Totally looking forward to the unbiased feedback. That is pretty much the whole reason I have entered into this competition. Not knowing anyone else that home brews, I am self taught. I am sure that everyone else on here is to. So as a home brewer I feel that competing is invaluable because we have others taste our brew and help us with our short comings.
I would note the NHC 1st and 2nd rounds this year will be using the quick evaluation sheets. You may not get as detailed of feedback from it as you are looking for.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 26, 2014, 05:36:02 pm
29 isn't horrible for a first, right? I just hope I don't get a 12

I wouldn't worry about it...they usually set 13 as the lowest score judges can give!  ;)

Right, usually LOL! You haven't tried my bottle conditioned wiener quad.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 26, 2014, 05:41:00 pm
29 isn't horrible for a first, right? I just hope I don't get a 12

I wouldn't worry about it...they usually set 13 as the lowest score judges can give!  ;)

Right, usually LOL! You haven't tried my bottle conditioned wiener quad.

12 might be a little ambitious for a weiner quad  :D    At least you'd know what food to pair it with. Or maybe blend it with a mustard and relish wit !  I needed a good laugh
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 26, 2014, 05:47:40 pm
Would that go in spice beer for the mustard, or smoked beer for the wiener?
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: Jimmy K on January 26, 2014, 05:50:40 pm
Specialty for smoke and spice.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 26, 2014, 05:52:05 pm
Specialty for smoke and spice.

+1  ;)
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 26, 2014, 06:11:41 pm
Good to know. The trouble is that the DMS and oxidation combine to make it more of a corndog on a stick.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 26, 2014, 06:18:35 pm
Nice.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: Jimmy K on January 26, 2014, 08:16:45 pm
Don't forget to ferment for max diacetyl

- Sent by Tapatalk TARDIS Edition

Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 26, 2014, 09:47:49 pm
No, not appropriate for the wiener quad. I save diacetyl boost for my Orville Roggenbocker
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: ranchovillabrew on January 26, 2014, 10:19:43 pm
My first competition was the 2013 aha nhc.  I got a 41 in round 1 for my irish red.  Did not advance to round 2. But I was very happy with the score.  Then I entered the orange county fair. Didn't do too hot there because I entered by what was ready not by my best.  Then I entered the oc fest of ales. Took first in English ale with my ESB. Looking forward to the nhc.  I'm hoping to enter an irish red,  esb, agave wheat, strawberry blonde,  and a sage IPA.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: erockrph on January 26, 2014, 10:59:46 pm
No, not appropriate for the wiener quad. I save diacetyl boost for my Orville Roggenbocker

I don't always shoot beer out my nose, but when I do I prefer homebrew.

That was a good one, Jim :)
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 26, 2014, 11:45:28 pm
Stay thirsty my friends
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 27, 2014, 01:44:30 am
At 1 minute after midnight I got my application for NHC in. I'll bet about 200 people beat me to it in that minute...

I put in for 3 entries at Seattle.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: theDarkSide on January 27, 2014, 06:38:20 am
At 1 minute after midnight I got my application for NHC in. I'll bet about 200 people beat me to it in that minute...

I put in for 3 entries at Seattle.

Geez...at least I waited until 8am.  ;D

Listed for the max 6 entries...all of them award winners (including 2 this last weekend at the Upper Mississippi Mashout).
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: dzlater on January 27, 2014, 04:32:44 pm
I just entered my first contest.
I placed third in the Porter catagory.
There were only nine entries in the catagory, but I figure at least I'm in the top third. I'm feeling pretty good about it, it was the first time I brewed the recipe, so it's not something I have been trying to perfect.
Looking forward to seeing the score sheet.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 27, 2014, 04:46:32 pm
I just entered my first contest.
I placed third in the Porter catagory.
There were only nine entries in the catagory, but I figure at least I'm in the top third. I'm feeling pretty good about it, it was the first time I brewed the recipe, so it's not something I have been trying to perfect.
Looking forward to seeing the score sheet.

Nice job !  It's a good feeling. Use the criticism(s) constructively and it'll make your beer even better.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on January 27, 2014, 05:17:05 pm
At 1 minute after midnight I got my application for NHC in. I'll bet about 200 people beat me to it in that minute...

I put in for 3 entries at Seattle.

Geez...at least I waited until 8am.  ;D

Listed for the max 6 entries...all of them award winners (including 2 this last weekend at the Upper Mississippi Mashout).

Midnight is my lunch time. 8 is my 10pm
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: theDarkSide on January 28, 2014, 08:48:53 am
I just entered my first contest.
I placed third in the Porter catagory.
There were only nine entries in the catagory, but I figure at least I'm in the top third. I'm feeling pretty good about it, it was the first time I brewed the recipe, so it's not something I have been trying to perfect.
Looking forward to seeing the score sheet.
Congrats...now you're hooked!  ;)
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 10, 2014, 12:23:20 pm
I've never entered one, but is may do so this year.  I was encouraged by the results last year with Annie Johnson's lawn mower, since I tend to make lighter lagers....no hiding behind those styles!

My first and only competition thus far occurred in 1998.   I entered an all-grain cream ale that ended up placing in category 6.  I was amazed that the beer did that well because I filled the bottles directly from a picnic tap.  The beer was shipped during the hottest month of the year to the judging location where it sat for several weeks.  The beer had to be oxidized, and oxidation stands out like a sore thumb in delicately flavored beers.

With that said, I am entering two beers in a local contest.   While I have received positive feedback on the beers from local brewers whose palates I trust, both beers are borderline with respect to gravity and bitterness.  I am not a fan of extremely bitter beer.   I like to keep my BU:GU ratio between 0.5 and 0.6, which has me worried because hopping rates appear to be climbing across the board.  Luckily, neither of the beers that I am entering falls into categories 10a, 14b, or 14c.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: jaftak22 on February 22, 2014, 03:20:13 pm
It's over, and the results are in. So pumped I got to enter and attend my first competition. I entered my beer in the American Brown Ale category. Took Silver with a final score of 37. Felt pretty good to win although I wasn't expecting it. There was 14 people that entered the same category as me. I am hooked and I have the competition bug now.
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: flbrewer on February 22, 2014, 03:23:15 pm
My first competition entry was in American Pale Ale.  Didn't realize back then the competition in that category.  Didn't place but did get some great feedback.  I did get a gold the following year in that same category.
Care to share that gold-winning PA recipe?
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: klickitat jim on February 22, 2014, 07:21:43 pm
It's over, and the results are in. So pumped I got to enter and attend my first competition. I entered my beer in the American Brown Ale category. Took Silver with a final score of 37. Felt pretty good to win although I wasn't expecting it. There was 14 people that entered the same category as me. I am hooked and I have the competition bug now.
Totally cool! Good for you!
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: fmader on February 22, 2014, 07:29:37 pm
It's over, and the results are in. So pumped I got to enter and attend my first competition. I entered my beer in the American Brown Ale category. Took Silver with a final score of 37. Felt pretty good to win although I wasn't expecting it. There was 14 people that entered the same category as me. I am hooked and I have the competition bug now.

Sweet! Great job!
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: dkfick on February 22, 2014, 08:30:34 pm
It's over, and the results are in. So pumped I got to enter and attend my first competition. I entered my beer in the American Brown Ale category. Took Silver with a final score of 37. Felt pretty good to win although I wasn't expecting it. There was 14 people that entered the same category as me. I am hooked and I have the competition bug now.
Yep that's how it goes... Got some medals my first time as well.  Haven't stopped entering since. Congrats
Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: theDarkSide on February 24, 2014, 01:37:10 pm
Care to share that gold-winning PA recipe?
It was the CYBI recipe for Mirror Pond (see below).  The only change I made is I added a bunch of home grown cascade to a hop bag and hung it in the keg.  I think it may have been a couple ounces wet, then dried before I added them.

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Brewer: Stephen A. Mayo
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Pale Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 9.00 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.90 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 6.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 10.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 35.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
12 lbs 2.0 oz         Pale Ale (Crisp) (4.0 SRM)               Grain         2        91.5 %       
14.8 oz               Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)    Grain         3        7.0 %         
3.2 oz                Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)             Grain         4        1.5 %         
1.00 oz               Cascade [6.00 %] - Boil 85.0 min         Hop           5        21.1 IBUs     
1.00 oz               Cascade [6.00 %] - Boil 30.0 min         Hop           6        10.8 IBUs     
1.00 Items            Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 5.0 mins)         Fining        7        -             
1.00 oz               Cascade [6.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min          Hop           8        3.5 IBUs     
1.00 oz               Cascade [6.00 %] - Boil 0.0 min          Hop           9        0.0 IBUs     
1.0 pkg               English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) [1500.0 Yeast         10       -             
0.75 oz               Cascade [6.00 %] - Dry Hop 7.0 Days      Hop           11       0.0 IBUs     


Mash Schedule: 5 Gallon Strike - Single Infusion, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 13 lbs 4.0 oz
----------------------------
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
5 Gallon          Add 19.87 qt of water at 161.5 F        149.0 F       60 min       

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 5.97gal) of 185.0 F water
Notes:
------

Title: Re: First Competition
Post by: jeremy0209 on February 24, 2014, 05:08:29 pm
I've entered 5 competitions: two firsts and two thirds....in my flight, that is.  I've never gotten close to BOS.  The one comp in which I didn't place, I had a stout score a 41...my highest score to date.  I'm working on three entries for this year's NHC.....fingers crossed.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk