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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: punatic on December 29, 2010, 08:34:43 PM

Title: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 29, 2010, 08:34:43 PM
Is brewing about competing?

I'm in the bouef column...
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: MDixon on December 29, 2010, 08:58:12 PM
For some it is, for others it's about the process, others the education involved, others...etc...what motivates each individual can be any number of factors and priorities change over time...
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: johnf on December 29, 2010, 09:06:02 PM
I don't think they spend much time and I don't think they spend any money. Interested in what efforts you are observing that make you think otherwise.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 29, 2010, 09:13:09 PM
Have you been to a NHC?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: jeffy on December 29, 2010, 09:17:25 PM
I've been to about a dozen.  I don't think they spend much money on the competition though.  It' mostly entry fees and club sponsorship.  Prizes are mostly donated.  All the hired help is volunteers from local clubs.  Medals obviously are not a big expense.
I'm also interested in what you're observing.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: kerneldustjacket on December 29, 2010, 09:29:22 PM
First off, no, brewing is not about competitions.
Yes, some homebrewers enjoy competitions, and some don't but that's really personal preference.
Just as what styles you choose to brew are your personal preferences. To each his own...so brewing is about many things.


Now, to the question asked in the poll:

You could pose the same question regarding many things that the AHA does. For example, does the AHA spend too much time and money on the forum? I'd say that by observing participation in the forum you could conclude that many members get enjoyment and utility out of the forum...therefore it is a worthwhile AHA activity. Ditto for how many members actively participate in competitions...some people must enjoy comps; you certainly see a lot of questions pop up on the forum in relation to them.

BTW...I voted "beouf," as I have no idea how much the AHA spends on competitions, or if entry fees cover everything, or if the BJCP competition registration fee covers the costs...so I lack the required information to make a sound judgement.

I'll just assume the following: for the percentage of members who enjoy and want competition related content/activities, a percentage of their AHA dues goes to help pay for any AHA competition related content/activities, and so no burden occurs to those who have no interest in competitions.

Just my own jacka$$ haole opinion, a Georgia cracker just south of the Palmetto state.

Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 29, 2010, 09:46:17 PM
It's my understanding from past discussions such as this that the competition events are self-funding (ie. the entry fees cover the cost and in some cases more than cover the cost) such that there is very little of AHA money and resources going to competitions. 

IIRC Drew Beechum or Chris Frey confirmed in the past that this was the case.

For those who care to compete, they are paying for the pleasure.

For those of us who don't care to compete, we need not care as our membership fees aren't supporting the competitions.

I don't care to compete.  But if you do, have at it and good luck.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 29, 2010, 09:55:32 PM
All of the hired help at the NHCs are not local volunteers.  There are BA/AHA employees who do a ton of work.  They do it very well or the NHCs would not be the successes that they are.  You think they donate their time and pay their own way?

If you enjoy brewing for competition I'm glad you're doing what you enjoy. 

I stopped going to homebrew club functions because the majority of the time at the functions was spent on accolades for recent winners, scheduling packing and shipping for upcoming competitions, and brewing schedules for competitions even further out.  I enjoy the camaraderie that goes with the sharing of homebrew. Training for beer olympics was not fun for me.

I've been brewing since St. Patrick's Day 1989.  For the first ten years I competed, judged, and organized.  I guess at that point I became confident enough in my brewing skills and knowledge that I no longer needed to look to others for affirnmation.

MDixon has it right, "...what motivates each individual can be any number of factors and priorities change over time..."


BTW kerneldustjacket, the word haole is a racial slur.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: markaberrant on December 29, 2010, 10:03:11 PM
You are asking multiple loaded questions in this thread and the other one.  I really don't know what your point is other than you don't like competitions...
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: kerneldustjacket on December 29, 2010, 10:13:52 PM

BTW kerneldustjacket, the word haole is a racial slur.

Yes, I know. So is "Georgia Cracker" to some.
Just making sure I don't get too full of myself... ;D
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: lonnie mac on December 29, 2010, 10:18:31 PM
I stopped going to homebrew club functions because the majority of the time at the functions was spent on accolades for recent winners, scheduling packing and shipping for upcoming competitions, and brewing schedules for competitions even further out.  I enjoy the camaraderie that goes with the sharing of homebrew.

Typically most homebrew clubs, at least the larger ones like the club I belong to, rely on competitions to stay alive. My club the Mashtronauts put on the Lunar Rendezbrew, A rather large comp (party) that is part of our Lone Star circuit here in Texas, as well as our other local clubs, the Foam Rangers, (Dixie Cup) and one of the largest comps around in Dallas, the Bluebonnet itself. These comps bring in the funds that allow most clubs to remain something more than just a few fellas sitting in someones garage drinking a few home-brews. (Which no one enjoys more than me BTW) This allows our clubs to remain for the most part a "club" throughout the year, with operational funds to do "club" things etc...

Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: johnf on December 29, 2010, 10:18:58 PM
All of the hired help at the NHCs are not local volunteers.  There are BA/AHA employees who do a ton of work.  They do it very well or the NHCs would not be the successes that they are.  You think they donate their time and pay their own way?

The NHCompetition is only part of the NHConference and most of the work done by BA and AHA staff is not related to the competition. Also most of the effort to run the competition is volunteer labor.

So it sounds like you dislike the conference as well. So you don't want the AHA to be involved in competitions or education. What are appropriate activities?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 29, 2010, 10:21:43 PM
All of the hired help at the NHCs are not local volunteers.  There are BA/AHA employees who do a ton of work.  They do it very well or the NHCs would not be the successes that they are.  You think they donate their time and pay their own way?

IIRC, there is one AHA employee involved in the NHC comp.  The others are there to support the conference in general, just like they do for GABF.  Should the BA not do GABF?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: bluesman on December 29, 2010, 10:36:35 PM
Competing takes alot of time and effort and is not for the meek minded or soft hearted.

I for one take alot of pride in competing and judging. I have been brewing for almost 20 years now and as we all know it's alot easier to go down to the local beer mart and pick up a sixer of your favorite beer than it is to produce 5 gallons of homebrew. I brew beer for the creative and rewarding aspects of it. I take much pride in the end product...and yes the ribbons and medals too, but mostly because brewing enables me to share my creations and moments with others. Although I respect your opinion, I beg to differ.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 29, 2010, 10:46:10 PM
I guess I'm sort of confused here, and I've been following both threads.

Are you against competitions altogether?

Or is your concern more along the lines that it appears that the AHA spends too much time/money/effort organizing competitions?

FTR (and I'm repeating myself) I don't compete but it doesn't bother me that they exist.  Kinda like Jerry Springer.  I don't watch, but it's fine if you do.

Also, I think it's a mis-perception that the AHA spends all this time and effort on competitions, though the visibility of the competitions can easily lead to the perception.  The AHA does many things that are not as public, particularly the legislative efforts to legalize homebrewing.  Some of these efforts could perhaps use more publicity.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Mikey on December 29, 2010, 10:46:52 PM
So, how much do they spend in competitions?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 29, 2010, 10:56:31 PM
Also, I think it's a mis-perception that the AHA spends all this time and effort on competitions, though the visibility of the competitions can easily lead to the perception.  The AHA does many things that are not as public, particularly the legislative efforts to legalize homebrewing.  Some of these efforts could perhaps use more publicity.

The only comp run by the AHA is the NHC.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 29, 2010, 11:00:01 PM
The only comp run by the AHA is the NHC.

Mis-perception confirmed.  Thank you, Denny.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: weithman5 on December 29, 2010, 11:27:48 PM
ugh
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 30, 2010, 01:17:27 AM
I guess I'm sort of confused here, and I've been following both threads.

Are you against competitions altogether?

Or is your concern more along the lines that it appears that the AHA spends too much time/money/effort organizing competitions?

FTR (and I'm repeating myself) I don't compete but it doesn't bother me that they exist.  Kinda like Jerry Springer.  I don't watch, but it's fine if you do.

Also, I think it's a mis-perception that the AHA spends all this time and effort on competitions, though the visibility of the competitions can easily lead to the perception.  The AHA does many things that are not as public, particularly the legislative efforts to legalize homebrewing.  Some of these efforts could perhaps use more publicity.

No, I'm not against beer competitions, homebrew or probrew. I said time and resources, not money and effort.  I don't participate in them any more because I don't find it enjoyable any more.  I'm wondering why homebrewing has evolved into a competitive undertaking for so many.  It seems to me that as soon as your fellow homebrew club members have showed you how to brew, they're pushing you to enter your beer in a competition.  Why?

I find it amusing that johnf say, "So it sounds like you dislike the conference as well. So you don't want the AHA to be involved in competitions or education. What are appropriate activities?"  It confirms my belief that people tend to read what they are thinking not what is written.  I really enjoy going to the NHCs for the social activities.  I just don't care to participate in the competition or judging any more.

It is a bit distressing that Denny says:

Just drink it and enjoy it. Why do you need someone else telling you it's good or bad?

Because maybe you have another reason for brewing than simply "I like it and my drunken friends like it, so it must be good".  If that's your motivation, no problem, but not everyone has the same reasons.

Am I to take this to mean that since I don't enter my beers in competitions my friends are drunks, or am I now the one reading what I am thinking, not what is actually written?

Again, if you like to participate in brewing competitions I'm happy that you have found something you enjoy.  Go for it.  I'm just trying to understand why so much emphasis is placed on competing. 

Probrewers competing for market share makes sense to me.  Homebrewers competing seems like... ?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: dbeechum on December 30, 2010, 01:41:34 AM
I'm not a competition guy (although I organize several). I've won medals, but truthfully, I'm so busy and lazy that I can't be bothered to bottle anything. :)

The AHA does spend time and energy on the competitions like the NHC, the Club Only Comps and the Pro-Am (with the BA in general). Most of that work is done by volunteers with Janis keeping an supervisory eye over it.  It's time well spent because competition keeps a sizable audience engaged and energized. It also provides the group a convenient lever to build contests and rewards around. Put a group of people together in something that takes skill to pull off and at some point, someone will want to prove they can do it better.

Does someone winning tons of medals mean they're a better brewer? Not really. It means they have a tight process and know how to make beer that judges find appealing. There is a lot to learn from that, but it doesn't really mean that they enjoy the beer more than you or your friends do.

And all those folks you see running around at the conference working for the AHA? All but 3.5 of them really are BA employees. (The exceptions being Gary, Kate, Janis and half of Jill)

If you don't like to compete, then do what I do and don't.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 30, 2010, 01:44:42 AM
Nicely said dbeechum.  Just out of curiosity, which half of Jill belongs to which association?   ;D
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 30, 2010, 01:54:11 AM
We go to the NHC and have a great time - that is why we keep going back.  I would be glad to talk to any of you at the next NHC - especially those I have already met at previous ones.

I enter in some competitions, but not that many.  One thing at the NHC, is that if you have a beer in the second round, you tend to pay more attention during the banquet.  I have found this to work for me.

Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: markaberrant on December 30, 2010, 02:40:12 AM
No, I'm not against beer competitions, homebrew or probrew. I said time and resources, not money and effort.  I don't participate in them any more because I don't find it enjoyable any more.  I'm wondering why homebrewing has evolved into a competitive undertaking for so many.  It seems to me that as soon as your fellow homebrew club members have showed you how to brew, they're pushing you to enter your beer in a competition.  Why?

I enter a lot of comps, but I certainly don't take winning/losing seriously.  It is a fun thing, I enter beers, my friends enter beers, we judge the beers, we see where the chips may fall, then we congratulate the winners, have a few a laughs and drink a few more beers.  Good times, and we all become better brewers, judges and friends as a result.

Our club "gently" encourages members to enter comps, but we respect those that do not, and comps are certainly not the focus of our club.  I have probably won more than my fair share of medals, but I get most excited when a new member wins something, I'm usually the first to congratulate them and ask them more about the beer they brewed.

I am not painting you with the same brush as some people I know, but I do know some people that frankly can't handle comps.  They take it too serious; they rub it in when they win, strut around showing off their medals, but then call shenanigans when they lose.  We used to have several of these types in our club, and fortunately they have all dropped out.  I ran into one of them recently, and they flat out told me they could never go back because their personality is just too competitive.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Mikey on December 30, 2010, 02:42:30 AM
Denny, you asked me what is too much when it comes to money being spent on competitions, That implies that money is spent. So, I'll ask you again, how much is spent on competitions?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: lonnie mac on December 30, 2010, 03:02:05 AM
Denny, you asked me what is too much when it comes to money being spent on competitions, That implies that money is spent. So, I'll ask you again, how much is spent on competitions?

Apparently, you do actually have quite a competitive spirit with this question over and over.

Like markaberrant before you, I too have lot's of competitive friends. Most of the ones who are disgruntled against comps had a very LONG loosing streak. :)

Or they are like another friend of mine, who went ballistically haywire on a forum that I run for my club because the very first entry he ever made in his very first comp ever, didn't even pass the first table, and he refused to actually believe someone out there was better. Tell ya what. I usually put in a max of two entries to a comp. I am not sad if I loose. But when I beat someone who put in 75, well, there is a certain gratification of course. But who cares really.

Does the NRA sponsor and participate in shooting event's? If so, is that wrong?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: euge on December 30, 2010, 03:10:32 AM
I'm considering entering into some local comps just for the feedback. Not that a club couldn't do the same- I'm likely to miss the meets.  
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: kerneldustjacket on December 30, 2010, 03:21:56 AM
I stopped going to homebrew club functions because the majority of the time at the functions was spent on accolades for recent winners, scheduling packing and shipping for upcoming competitions, and brewing schedules for competitions even further out.  I enjoy the camaraderie that goes with the sharing of homebrew. Training for beer olympics was not fun for me.

I can see your point...if I were placed in the same situation I likely would grow tired of it as well...so no hard feelings from me regarding your attitude towards comps as your personal decision. And obviously, you can respect that others enjoy it and pursue it, as that is their personal choice.
So then, if I read you right, you're really just wondering out loud why there is the appearance, at least in your eyes, that more homebrewers are focused on competitions alone as a pursuit. If true, then yes, that is disturbing...because there is more to homebrewing than winning competitions. I find it hard to imagine how someone would have competitions as their only focus...but maybe some do. Is this closer to what you're getting at?

PS..I certainly meant no offense when I used the word "Haole," I just have no qualms about using self-depreciating humor; if anything just to be clear that I'm no one special....just your run-of-the-mill homebrewer.
And I'm glad you're here.  :)
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Kaiser on December 30, 2010, 03:26:46 AM
I entered a comp only once and then decided that it is aditional work and money I'm not willing to spend. However, I think that competitions are a great incentive for brewers to work on their process and recipes. Because the judging is done by people there is a subjective side to the results and in order to win on a regular basis it takes more than brewing a really great beer.

The AHA should be involved in competitions as long as this involvement is balanced with other activities.

Kai
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: kgs on December 30, 2010, 03:41:45 AM
I appreciate the effort AHA puts into competitions even though I don't plan to enter one anytime soon (if ever).  I like to read the stories, read the recipes, etc., and I consider the recipes that come out of these competitions to be a great insight into current interpretations of beer styles. As these recipes accrue, they become historical records of styles "back in the day," as well as a snapshot of the evolving face of homebrewing.

So for me, to the question "how much time/resources does AHA put into competitions," the response would be "just enough." In addition, the AHA advocates for homebrewing, provides this forum, has an excellent magazine, and otherwise gives me a lot of bang for the cost of membership.

I don't care about the dollar amount (not even as a percentage) because it wouldn't make sense out of context of understanding the entire AHA budget, which would take more than numbers on a page.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: lonnie mac on December 30, 2010, 03:45:14 AM
I appreciate the effort AHA puts into competitions even though I don't plan to enter one anytime soon (if ever).  I like to read the stories, read the recipes, etc., and I consider the recipes that come out of these competitions to be a great insight into current interpretations of beer styles. As these recipes accrue, they become historical records of styles "back in the day," as well as a snapshot of the evolving face of homebrewing.

So for me, to the question "how much time/resources does AHA put into competitions," the response would be "just enough." In addition, the AHA advocates for homebrewing, provides this forum, has an excellent magazine, and otherwise gives me a lot of bang for the cost of membership.

I don't care about the dollar amount (not even as a percentage) because it wouldn't make sense out of context of understanding the entire AHA budget, which would take more than numbers on a page.

Jebus H. This is well said!
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 30, 2010, 07:07:02 AM
...the AHA advocates for homebrewing, provides this forum, has an excellent magazine, and otherwise gives me a lot of bang for the cost of membership...

I'm with you there kgs.  I enjoy my AHA membership and consider it to have excellent value.  Usually, within a day or two of my current issue of Zymurgy arriving I am inspired to fire the kettle.  I really enjoy my interaction with other brewers via this forum too.

I hope that all understand my questioning the reasons people pursue beer competition is curiosity, and is certainly not meant as criticism of the BA or AHA.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: phillamb168 on December 30, 2010, 10:37:18 AM
Sorry if this has been said before, but I think competitions serve as an excellent learning tool. There's nobody out here to sample my beer and tell me what I could be doing better, and I see that as being a function of competitions. You can, of course, have your local club do the same sorts of things with tastings, but with a competition you're getting opinions from people who have been trained to know the styles and can identify exactly what the off flavors might be.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 30, 2010, 10:57:38 AM
...with a competition you're getting opinions from people who have been trained to know the styles and can identify exactly what the off flavors might be.

Sounds good, and that's the way it's supposed to work, but quite often it is not.  Many times I had the exact same beer judged by 6 or 8 different judges and got 6 or 8 different opinions.  Which is correct?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: bluesman on December 30, 2010, 11:18:19 AM
...the AHA advocates for homebrewing, provides this forum, has an excellent magazine, and otherwise gives me a lot of bang for the cost of membership...

I'm with you there kgs.  I enjoy my AHA membership and consider it to have excellent value.  Usually, within a day or two of my current issue of Zymurgy arriving I am inspired to fire the kettle.  I really enjoy my interaction with other brewers via this forum too.

I hope that all understand my questioning the reasons people pursue beer competition is curiosity, and is certainly not meant as criticism of the BA or AHA.

I can certainly respect that punatic.  :)
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: phillamb168 on December 30, 2010, 11:43:21 AM
...with a competition you're getting opinions from people who have been trained to know the styles and can identify exactly what the off flavors might be.

Sounds good, and that's the way it's supposed to work, but quite often it is not.  Many times I had the exact same beer judged by 6 or 8 different judges and got 6 or 8 different opinions.  Which is correct?

I should add that I've never entered a comp before - in my mind it should work that way, but if it's not the case... :-(
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: theDarkSide on December 30, 2010, 01:19:42 PM
the reasons people pursue beer competition is curiosity,

The reason:  To win!!  :D Can't believe no one has said it yet.  It's not the reason I brew ( my midsection can attest to that ) but I don't enter a competition just for feedback.  Although that is invaluable too.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: joeysmokedporter on December 30, 2010, 01:20:21 PM
I voted "right amount of time and resources".  I am getting the impression from this thread that the poll question was an indirect way of probing why people enter competitions (and maybe would have been better posed that way).  So I'll address both.

Time and resources - I don't see anything out of line here.  It has been adequately explained by those in the know that the time and resources are relatively limited at the NHC.  Lots of artisanal crafts have competitions - for example, cheesemaking, baking, farm animals, big pumpkin contests...it is not unusual for at least some segment of the people involved to want some way of measuring where their handle of the craft stands against others.  So I have no problem with the AHA's relatively limited application of resources toward the NHC.  It sounds like in some cases, homebrew clubs put a lot of resources into competitions, but this should be separated from the AHA's investment of resources.

Why are people interested? Speaking for myself I enter foremost to get feedback on how to improve my brewing and my process, and I have definitely succeeded here.  Yes, some competitions have provided better feedback than others, but I have found more often than not the remarks from judges to be very thoughtful and in the spirit of helping me improve my brewing. I admit that I also have a competitive side, but to me any ribbons I have won are validation of research, experimentation, and work to improve and control my process.

If there are others like me who have these interests (and given the responses, I know at least the feedback part is shared by others who enter competitions), then what is the problem with devotion of a limited amount of resources, if it seems to be something that promotes (good) brewing at large?  
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: MDixon on December 30, 2010, 04:19:21 PM
Sounds good, and that's the way it's supposed to work, but quite often it is not.  Many times I had the exact same beer judged by 6 or 8 different judges and got 6 or 8 different opinions.  Which is correct?

It could be all are correct or at least some. I remember a beer I had I was entering, but hadn't tasted in awhile got a slight acetadehyde comment at one comp, a moderate at the next and at a third a strong (one of the judges was the same as the first comp). I tasted it an quickly went to watering trees with the brew. So all were correct at any given time.

Sorry you have soured on comps in your area, perhaps you should move  ;D
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: hike20 on December 30, 2010, 05:37:18 PM
There is no right answer when it comes to judging beers. It's a qualitative process, so of course feedback is going to differ. If you are looking for an absolute, then the only recourse I can offer is to submit your beer to whatever god you worship, if any. You may have to wait a while for feedback, however.

As for why people enter competitions? That's like asking why people do anything at all. Everyone's motivations are different. But in general, people tend to be competitive. Pretty much every hobby or activity I can think of has some sort of opportunity for competition. Some would argue it's human nature. If the AHA didn't offer to run a national competition, I'd bet they would be strongly pressured by the membership to do so.

I can respect that someone who has been brewing and competing for many years might get burnt out of competitions. I don't think of myself as having a strongly competitive disposition. I am a new brewer, however, and am starting to enter competitions because I want feedback. I'm not expecting it to provide me anything other that another person's (hopefully) objective perspective.

As for clubs: My club picks four styles a year randomly for informal competition. I wouldn't say it's the driving focus of our club at all. We have a diverse group and we have diverse activities. If you are not satisfied with how you club is run you are free to start your own club with a different set of goals.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Mikey on December 30, 2010, 06:25:13 PM
Obviously, I don't enter beer competitions. I have to wonder about the people that do. If you started baking would you submit your bread to competitions? How about other styles of cooking? If you are a woodworker do you enter your projects into competitions?

If you do cook, do you stay within a particular style? I make lasagna and I add a little cayenne pepper, but that's probably not done in Italy. In fact, much of my cooking is not traditional. Where does your adherence to "rules" and "styles" stop?

I know what I like and I brew to that style. I'd probably get slammed in a competition.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: bluesman on December 30, 2010, 06:43:56 PM
I know what I like and I brew to that style. I'd probably get slammed in a competition.

You're probably right. That's a good reason to avoid competitions.

I know many homebrewers that don't compete that are fantastic homebrewers IMO.

Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 30, 2010, 06:44:58 PM
Obviously, I don't enter beer competitions. I have to wonder about the people that do. If you started baking would you submit your bread to competitions? How about other styles of cooking? If you are a woodworker do you enter your projects into competitions?


Guess you've never been to a state or county fair...they do those things and more!

And it sounds like you've got valid reasons why you don't compete.  But surely you wouldn't want to deny that right to others. 
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Mikey on December 30, 2010, 06:54:36 PM
Obviously, I don't enter beer competitions. I have to wonder about the people that do. If you started baking would you submit your bread to competitions? How about other styles of cooking? If you are a woodworker do you enter your projects into competitions?


Guess you've never been to a state or county fair...they do those things and more!

And it sounds like you've got valid reasons why you don't compete.  But surely you wouldn't want to deny that right to others. 

Nope, not at all, but I truly don't get why it is so important to some people. I guess braggin' rights means more to some people.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: tygo on December 30, 2010, 06:56:43 PM
Obviously, I don't enter beer competitions. I have to wonder about the people that do. If you started baking would you submit your bread to competitions?

My cousin is a chef.  He entered an apple pie into a pastry combination.  Won some money too as I recall.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 30, 2010, 07:12:54 PM
Nope, not at all, but I truly don't get why it is so important to some people. I guess braggin' rights means more to some people.

Or maybe they want to have their beer evaluated by people trained in tasting.  Beer judges may not be perfect, but they are generally experienced and have had their senses "certified" by others.  Again, that may not be important to you, but everybody should decide for themselves what's important.  What you or I think about it shouldn't matter to someone else.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 30, 2010, 07:14:16 PM
Obviously, I don't enter beer competitions. I have to wonder about the people that do. If you started baking would you submit your bread to competitions?

My cousin is a chef.  He entered an apple pie into a pastry combination.  Won some money too as I recall.

Yeah, there's a woman around here who won (IIRC) $100K in the Pillsbury Bakeoff.  I think competitions for homemade products have been around at least as long as homebrewing has.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 30, 2010, 07:35:26 PM
Sorry you have soured on comps in your area, perhaps you should move  ;D

I did six years ago.  (not due to homebrew competitions though).  :D


I am getting the impression from this thread that the poll question was an indirect way of probing why people enter competitions (and maybe would have been better posed that way).

The discussion got started on the Competition Ethics (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=5236.0) thread.  We kind of hijacked stlaleman's question about how to enter a melomel in a competition.

Then there was this exchange and it got me thinking that it would be better to take it to a new thread and pose it as a poll question.

If you are defensive about your experience with competitions, why not just avoid the threads discussing them?

Perhaps there are members of the Brewers' Association who feel that the association spends too much time and resources promoting competition instead of just promoting brewing?

I didn't see that opinion voiced.

I was just wondering about how the homebrew club paradigm has come to look so much like a bowling league.  From the results so far, 2/3 of the respondants like it that way. 

I am enjoying the discussion very much.

And Denny, you are a stand up guy!
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 30, 2010, 07:53:56 PM
And Denny, you are a stand up guy!

Thanks.  When you make mistakes as often as I do, you learn the virtue of apology!
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: johnf on December 30, 2010, 08:02:42 PM


I know what I like and I brew to that style. I'd probably get slammed in a competition.

This "I don't brew to style" objection doesn't hold much water. As I judge, I have marked beers down for not being to style (although beers that score low are far more likely to have process flaws than style flaws). In most cases there is a better style to have entered it in. The problem isn't brewing to style it is knowing how to enter the beer you have and not the one you thought you made.

I've got just about enough points to be National, nearly all of them judging, and I can't think of one time I had an outstanding beer that wouldn't have scored high in any of the categories. It just doesn't happen.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: bluesman on December 30, 2010, 08:11:07 PM
I guess braggin' rights means more to some people.

Winning a competition is something to be proud of...

I for one take alot of pride in my beer and would like to believe every homebrewer does as well.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: theDarkSide on December 30, 2010, 08:20:39 PM
I guess braggin' rights means more to some people.

Has anyone ever heard someone like Gordon Strong brag about winning?  I hear he's won a few medals in the past :)
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: dbeechum on December 30, 2010, 10:25:51 PM
Has anyone ever heard someone like Gordon Strong brag about winning?  I hear he's won a few medals in the past :)

Christ, you can't get him to shut up about it!  :o

 ;D
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: lonnie mac on December 30, 2010, 10:37:57 PM
I know I don't really care about winning. So I changed my avatar to prove it!
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: markaberrant on December 30, 2010, 10:42:50 PM
This "I don't brew to style" objection doesn't hold much water. As I judge, I have marked beers down for not being to style (although beers that score low are far more likely to have process flaws than style flaws). In most cases there is a better style to have entered it in. The problem isn't brewing to style it is knowing how to enter the beer you have and not the one you thought you made.

I've got just about enough points to be National, nearly all of them judging, and I can't think of one time I had an outstanding beer that wouldn't have scored high in any of the categories. It just doesn't happen.

Just wanted to say I agree wholeheartedly with this (I'm also .5 pts shy of National).  Can't say I have ever come across a great beer that would not have scored well if entered in the proper category.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on December 30, 2010, 11:24:08 PM
Has anyone ever heard someone like Gordon Strong brag about winning?  I hear he's won a few medals in the past :)

Christ, you can't get him to shut up about it!  :o

 ;D

Strong beers?
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: tubercle on December 31, 2010, 01:08:49 AM
Hopefully anyone that ever wants to enter in a completion gets to and is judged fairly and best wishes to them.

 Tubercle hasn't and has no plans to. No need to judge my beer because it is already to my liking; if not, it would already have been changed.
 
 Besides, as I have said before, I'll mail the judge 3 of my beers when they mail me 3 of theirs. Fair enough.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Mikey on December 31, 2010, 03:58:15 AM


I know what I like and I brew to that style. I'd probably get slammed in a competition.

This "I don't brew to style" objection doesn't hold much water. As I judge, I have marked beers down for not being to style (although beers that score low are far more likely to have process flaws than style flaws). In most cases there is a better style to have entered it in. The problem isn't brewing to style it is knowing how to enter the beer you have and not the one you thought you made.

I've got just about enough points to be National, nearly all of them judging, and I can't think of one time I had an outstanding beer that wouldn't have scored high in any of the categories. It just doesn't happen.

My point is, that I don't care to get anal about a particular style. I taste a beer that I like and then make adjustments to my particular  tastes and to what I have in my inventory. If making a beer just to satisfy a judge or to an exact style is important, then go for it. It's just not my thing.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: johnf on December 31, 2010, 04:43:50 AM


I know what I like and I brew to that style. I'd probably get slammed in a competition.

This "I don't brew to style" objection doesn't hold much water. As I judge, I have marked beers down for not being to style (although beers that score low are far more likely to have process flaws than style flaws). In most cases there is a better style to have entered it in. The problem isn't brewing to style it is knowing how to enter the beer you have and not the one you thought you made.

I've got just about enough points to be National, nearly all of them judging, and I can't think of one time I had an outstanding beer that wouldn't have scored high in any of the categories. It just doesn't happen.

My point is, that I don't care to get anal about a particular style. I taste a beer that I like and then make adjustments to my particular  tastes and to what I have in my inventory. If making a beer just to satisfy a judge or to an exact style is important, then go for it. It's just not my thing.

Thats fine and I don't know any homebrewers that brew to satisfy judges (though I know some that enter and win a lot, which does not imply that competitions rule how they brew, they just make good beer and win a lot). I certainly wouldn't recommend it. I'm just saying that if you brew a technically great beer that "works", there is a category in which it will medal so people shouldn't feel like competitions have no value if they aren't some sort of mythical style nazi.

Competitions are always optional though. I don't try to talk people in or out of doing them.

I agree that the feedback can be of variable quality. My recommendations to people with this concern are typically to enter the best judged competitions (which are the hardest to win, in general) and learn how to parse the feedback. If you like a lot of crystal malt in an IPA and a judge says that it is too much crystal you can recognize this as a difference in opinion or interpretation and ignore it as you know what you like. If the judge says it has diacetyl you should think about whether or not they are right (did other judges pick it up, do you, do you know how your diacetyl threshold compares to others).

I think QA is important in any brewery and competitions are one of the many ways for a homebrewer to engage others in the QA process for their beers.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: markaberrant on December 31, 2010, 02:02:07 PM
I agree that the feedback can be of variable quality. My recommendations to people with this concern are typically to enter the best judged competitions (which are the hardest to win, in general) and learn how to parse the feedback. If you like a lot of crystal malt in an IPA and a judge says that it is too much crystal you can recognize this as a difference in opinion or interpretation and ignore it as you know what you like. If the judge says it has diacetyl you should think about whether or not they are right (did other judges pick it up, do you, do you know how your diacetyl threshold compares to others).

I hear this complaint a lot on message boards - the judges suck, they don't know what they are doing, the feedback is poor, etc.  While there should be at least one qualified judge at a table to ensure you get one decent scoresheet and that the consensus score is at least in the ballpark, this isn't always the case either.  So yeah, this bugs me.  HOWEVER, I also recognize that judges need to learn how to be good judges, so I always take poor scoresheets with a grain of salt (except for the one I got from a National judge that had less than 10 words on the whole page... I keep meaning to frame that one).  As long as I feel the competition/organizing club is trying to do the best they can to improve, I will continue to support them.  I suppose things may be different in the US, but in Canada, we just don't have that many competitions (or strong craft beer/homebrewing scenes ), so I try to look at things a little more altruistically, and do my part, so to speak.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Kaiser on December 31, 2010, 03:31:32 PM
You guys also need to keep in mind that judges tend to be in short supply. I do remember that my club is always looking for judges to staff the big competition we run. To my knowledge Judges don't get paid to judge competitions.

Kai
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 31, 2010, 03:35:56 PM
To my knowledge Judges don't get paid to judge competitions.

Quite the opposite.  When I go judge somewhere, it costs me money to pay my own expenses.  I do it becasue I enjoy it and enjoy helping people out by judging their beer.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: bluesman on December 31, 2010, 03:36:36 PM
You guys also need to keep in mind that judges tend to be in short supply. I do remember that my club is always looking for judges to staff the big competition we run. To my knowledge Judges don't get paid to judge competitions.

Kai

I think you are right Kai. Experienced judges seem to be the hardest to find, at least in my experiences.

BJCP Judges do not get paid...that's a correct statement.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: Kaiser on December 31, 2010, 03:55:54 PM
To my knowledge Judges don't get paid to judge competitions.

Quite the opposite.  When I go judge somewhere, it costs me money to pay my own expenses.  I do it becasue I enjoy it and enjoy helping people out by judging their beer.

While there is an entry fee, people entering competitions need to keep in mind that this doesn't pay the judges and that judges invest their own time and money to judge your beer.

If someone constantly dislikes the results from competitions I suggest to that brewer to become a BJCP judge himself/herself. This way he/she can train his/her own palate and learn how competitions work. I for myself would go that route if I had the time to spend on this. But because I don't I don't enter comps and am not a certified judge.

I'm still my worst critic, though.

Kai
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: denny on December 31, 2010, 04:18:24 PM
I'm still my wort critic, though.

Now THAT'S a Freudian slip!   ;D
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: brewfun on January 01, 2011, 08:33:50 PM
... I also recognize that judges need to learn how to be good judges, so I always take poor scoresheets with a grain of salt (except for the one I got from a National judge that had less than 10 words on the whole page... I keep meaning to frame that one). 

Poor score sheets for the rank should be brought to the attention of the Competition Organizer and the Competition Director of the BJCP. I know that on theBJCP level, the judge will likely get contacted to give a response.

There are a few senior judges (myself included) that stress that the description of the beer is the most important aspect. I have yet to find an informative score sheet that didn't just describe the beer in the glass BEFORE relating it to style or calling out flaws. Or, to restate it, the best judges simply describe the beer in front of them. 

It is a slow change, though. I takes informative feedback on exams and constant reminders at the local level to change peoples' habits. I have framed an exam cover page where the person stated a purpose of the BJCP is to "promote beer illiteracy." It's a steep hill, I'm afraid.

Still, every year I seem to say that beers are "better than ever" in competition because of the improved quality of ingredients and the incredibly detailed and comprehensive brewing information that is available.  So, yes, I think the brewer skills have evolved farther than many judges.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: punatic on January 01, 2011, 09:01:08 PM
The long hard climb to the shining beer city on the hill...
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: chumley on January 03, 2011, 08:44:51 PM
I used to enter competitions until about 5-6 years ago when I gave them up for the reasons that Drew mentioned....I, too, am too lazy to bottle anything anymore.  Plus, when a couple of my bottles broke and my name was placed on UPS's and FedEx's MOST WANTED lists....the illegal shipping part of the competition process I really don't care about. (I do greatly appreciate the AHA's efforts to make shipping beer legal).

That said, I did enjoy entering competitions when I did....especially when I was starting out back in the 1990s, the feedback was great.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: skyler on January 06, 2011, 08:23:14 AM
I frequently fail to enter competitions because I will drink down the keg before I have a chance to bottle any of the beers... I am working on always bottling 3-6 when I like a beer a lot, though, and expect to enter a bunch in 2011. Recently I entered a comp (NCHC) to see what went wrong with one of my beers. I just wasn't sure if it was a yeast issue, an ingredient issue, some kind of infection, or an issue with storage... I just didn't know why I didn't like that beer. And then neither of the judges were BJCP certified and neither wrote anything coherent or constructive about the beer. One guy noted "extreme hopping" (the OG was 1.085 with about 35 IBUs), the other judge noted "rye spice" (there was no rye). I guess that it is hard to get enough good, experienced judges to meet the demand. I know I wish I had the time to get certified and help the cause...
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: phillamb168 on January 06, 2011, 09:53:06 AM
Sorry for the n00b question, but how do you bottle beer that's in a keg? Pour a pint into a bottle and add priming sugar? This is relevant to my interests because I like the idea of putting some bottles aside as aging experiments.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: jeffy on January 06, 2011, 12:31:39 PM
Sorry for the n00b question, but how do you bottle beer that's in a keg? Pour a pint into a bottle and add priming sugar? This is relevant to my interests because I like the idea of putting some bottles aside as aging experiments.

Get the bottles cold, turn the pressure down and slowly fill the bottles, then cap on foam.  You can fit a plastic bottling "wand" right into the end of a picnic tap for this or you can get all fancy pants and buy a beer gun from Blichman.  I love mine.
Title: Re: The AHA and Homebrew Competitions
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 06, 2011, 02:48:43 PM
Sorry for the n00b question, but how do you bottle beer that's in a keg? Pour a pint into a bottle and add priming sugar? This is relevant to my interests because I like the idea of putting some bottles aside as aging experiments.

Get the bottles cold, turn the pressure down and slowly fill the bottles, then cap on foam.  You can fit a plastic bottling "wand" right into the end of a picnic tap for this or you can get all fancy pants and buy a beer gun from Blichman.  I love mine.

In addition to Jeff's advice, you can put a #2 drilled stopper on the bottleing wand, and it fills the bottle neck, which will build pressure as you fill.  You will need to "burp" the bottle when the flow slows.  This keeps excessive foaming down.  Right at the end you can tap the bottle to cause foam in the neck, or squirt a little beer into the bottle to cause enough foam to cap on.  If you have a CO2 tank set up, you can also add CO2 to the bottle to displace the air when you start.