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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tomsawyer on January 20, 2011, 04:18:48 PM

Title: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: tomsawyer on January 20, 2011, 04:18:48 PM
I'm a complete newb at comps, and I heard this term "shotgunning" ahwile back.  I gathered at the time it described someone who had multiple entries in a comp, and that it was frowned upon to some extent.

My question is, what is proper etiquette regarding number of entries for a beer comp?  Or is it really no big deal?  Any other constraints, like not entering more than one of a particular style?

I was going to enter two beers in an upcoming contest, but I have probably four or five that might be worthy (still evaluating, thats tough work).
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: Hokerer on January 20, 2011, 04:22:14 PM
I don't think anyone's ever gonna accuse you of "shotgunning" with just four or five entries so I wouldn't worry about it.  As for more than one entry in a category, each comp usually has specific rules listed for that.  Some allow it, some dont'.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: bonjour on January 20, 2011, 04:32:29 PM
"Shotgunning" will do you no good if you don't make good beers in all the styles.
Enter the beers in competition as you brew them for feedback.
"Shotgunning" is usually done to achieve higher awards.

Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: jeffy on January 20, 2011, 04:39:26 PM
I think the term "shotgunning" refers to entering the same beer in multiple categories.  Some beers are good enough to win across a couple of styles either because they are so good or because the judges aren't so trained that they can differentiate between two close styles.
Some people just like to win medals or ribbons while others like to get feedback.  
There is always somebody who enters a metric ton of entries.  I'm not sure how they can afford either the entry fees or the loss of beer.  I try to "support" all the local competitions in the state (we have a Circuit with 7 competitions) with several entries in each, but I try hard not to waste the money or the beer.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: blatz on January 20, 2011, 04:41:23 PM
shotgunning is generally used by people who are looking to win the competition circuit.  for instance, in my state, we have 6-8 competitions from which you get points for each medal, BOS, etc.  and at the end of a competition season, there is an award for Brewer of the Year for the state, as determined by the points.  There are people here who enter 30+ entries to a competition, That's $180 in entry fees alone!!

I could care less about that kind of stuff, so I don't bother entering more than a handful of whatever is on hand at the time, but a lot of guys here get into it.  I tend to look at my percentage of awarded entries as a better barometer of whether I'm doing a good job or not.

In fact, I think that would be a better way of judging for BOTY, your 'hit' rate with some weighting toward 1st, 2nd or 3rd, BOS etc., with a minimum number of entries to qualify, rather than just an absolute point total.  It would reduce shotgunning
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: ipaguy on January 20, 2011, 04:47:16 PM
I agree that you shouldn't bother entering anything that you don't consider a least 'good'.  On the other hand, you shouldn't limit yourself to entering what you consider perfect.  I see the main value of competitions not to be winning awards, but getting feedback on how to brew better beer.  If you have what you consider a great beer, don't be afraid to enter it in more than one category if you think that is appropriate.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: tomsawyer on January 20, 2011, 05:31:54 PM
Guess I didn't have much of a handle on what the term actually meant.

This would definitely not be to garner medals, I'm just new to it and as usual I tend to go overboard.  I'm most interested in seeing judging sheets.  Maybe I'll just stick with two or three.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: johnf on January 20, 2011, 05:36:30 PM

In fact, I think that would be a better way of judging for BOTY, your 'hit' rate with some weighting toward 1st, 2nd or 3rd, BOS etc., with a minimum number of entries to qualify, rather than just an absolute point total.  It would reduce shotgunning

Midwest Homebrewer of the Year does that. You get points for your highest place in a category (not subcategory) and then your points get multiplied by your win rate (medals/total entries) with some minimum requirements to win.

My wife and I won High Plains (or officially will next month) Brewer of the Year for 2010. We entered 15 in one competition (all different beers) but probably averaged 8. 30 seems like a lot, I would only go that high for Nationals (and I only had 8 there last year, but we started competing last January, shooting for 25 this year). That said at the end of the day if the competition doesn't limit or penalize (some increase the fee for more entries) entries then I have nothing against someone entering a ton whether they want the feedback, the hardware or the groupies. I do like the idea of a winning percentage factor in circuits though. I would be very proud to win MHotY both because of the quality of competition and the fact that you can't win it with a low win rate by simply entering more than other people are willing to.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: bonjour on January 20, 2011, 05:41:08 PM
If you have beers that you want feedback on, do not hesitate to enter them.
What category to enter them as, enter them in the style they taste like, NOT the style that you brewed.
Another way to get feedback is to ask club members.  Be sure to ask them for a critical analysis, so they don't just say things to please you, and ask, ahead of time, what you can do to improve the beer.

I can give much better feedback this way because I can see what your grain bill, and process was.

Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: rbclay on January 21, 2011, 02:59:16 AM
Quote
enter them in the style they taste like, NOT the style that you brewed.
This is where being a member of a local club can really help. I brewed for a number of years before I entered any comps. I also joined a club at about the same time. One of the first things they helped with was how to enter my beers in the "proper" category. I should say, the category that beer would do best in. If this intrigues you at all and you become interested in the process I highly recommend getting involved in helping out at competitions. They usually put out a call for judges and stewards. It takes a lot of people to pull off a competition. You will learn a lot.
Quote
Another way to get feedback is to ask club members.  Be sure to ask them for a critical analysis, so they don't just say things to please you
And have your recipes at hand when asking for advice. I joined a local club that has a reputation  ;D for giving "critical" feedback. This club is not so interested in giving pats on the back and saying keep up the good work! We like to make eachother better brewers. I like it because it has made me a better brewer. And because I am from the East Coast. This club is definitely "east coast", even though we are in Minnesota...
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: MDixon on January 21, 2011, 03:07:15 AM
It was stated by someone else, but shotgunning is generally sending as many beers as you can to garner as many awards as you can. Often it is what many feel is required to win in a particular "circuit". If your categories are well chosen (meaning ones without too many entries), then one can generally grab ribbons in the lesser contested areas.

We are one of the competitions who penalize those who decide to shotgun by raising entry fees as the number of entries from an individual increases. It is not a popular stance, but is effective...
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: tomsawyer on January 21, 2011, 11:56:03 AM
It was stated by someone else, but shotgunning is generally sending as many beers as you can to garner as many awards as you can. Often it is what many feel is required to win in a particular "circuit". If your categories are well chosen (meaning ones without too many entries), then one can generally grab ribbons in the lesser contested areas.

We are one of the competitions who penalize those who decide to shotgun by raising entry fees as the number of entries from an individual increases. It is not a popular stance, but is effective...

At what number of entries do the fees go up in your system?
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: MDixon on January 21, 2011, 12:13:47 PM
5 or 6...and it goes up dramatically...we haven't fully decided our pricing this year, but are leaning toward 1-6 = $5, 7-10 = $8, 11 and up =$12 (I wanted to take it to $15 above 6)
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: stlaleman on January 21, 2011, 01:16:43 PM
5 or 6...and it goes up dramatically...we haven't fully decided our pricing this year, but are leaning toward 1-6 = $5, 7-10 = $8, 11 and up =$12 (I wanted to take it to $15 above 6)
I don't follow the logic here. For my home club, our yearly competition is a major fund raiser, anything we did to limit entries would be detrimental to the club. Why do you penalize folks who want to enter multiple entries?
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: blatz on January 21, 2011, 02:18:03 PM
5 or 6...and it goes up dramatically...we haven't fully decided our pricing this year, but are leaning toward 1-6 = $5, 7-10 = $8, 11 and up =$12 (I wanted to take it to $15 above 6)
I don't follow the logic here. For my home club, our yearly competition is a major fund raiser, anything we did to limit entries would be detrimental to the club. Why do you penalize folks who want to enter multiple entries?

how many entries does your club get?  we often get over 350, Orlando and Tampa are usually in the 5-600 range.  that's a LOT of beer for us to judge.  and its not penalizing entering multiple entries - 5 or 6 is fine, its penalizing flooding or shotgunning by people who are gaming the system to claim the circuit prize.  we had 60 entries by one brewer at our comp a few years back, that's just ridiculous. 
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: dirtyjerzey on January 21, 2011, 02:30:40 PM
60 entries?!?!  :o


Not to derail the thread, but I wanted to ask a question since this thread has the attention of some competition guys....then back to the shotgunning....

Do competition entries have to be original recipes?  If you copy a recipe or use a kit, do you have to keep the name or credit the original brewer, or can you make up your own name since you brewed it?  I guess what I'm asking is....does such a thing as 'beer plagiarizim' (sp?) exist?

Thanks

Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: Hokerer on January 21, 2011, 02:35:13 PM
I don't follow the logic here. For my home club, our yearly competition is a major fund raiser, anything we did to limit entries would be detrimental to the club. Why do you penalize folks who want to enter multiple entries?

Might be detrimental short term but long term, it would be a benefit.  If all you're concerned about is fundraising then yes, the more the merrier.  Seems to me, though, you'd run into a problem getting more entries than you can reasonably handle (number of judges/stewards, storage space, etc.). From a competition entrants point of view, this would turn me off from entering a comp a second time.  I know most comps promise at least two feedback per but a comp that gives more than two stands out.  Likewise the quality/ranking of the judges giving the feedback.  Basically, I prefer quality over quantity so limiting shotgunning would be a win/win for me in deciding whether to enter a comp.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: blatz on January 21, 2011, 02:37:05 PM

Do competition entries have to be original recipes?  If you copy a recipe or use a kit, do you have to keep the name or credit the original brewer, or can you make up your own name since you brewed it?  I guess what I'm asking is....does such a thing as 'beer plagiarizim' (sp?) exist?

you brewed it, its your beer.

think about how many styles out there use very simple recipes: Bo Pils - 100% pils malt, Saaz hops.  Hefeweiss: 50/50 pils/wheat to 1.050, noble hop to 12-15ibus at 60.  I could go on - point is its more about the outcome than the plans  ;)

back to our regularly scheduled programming.  

yes 60 entries.  that was just our comp, he entered many others that year.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: dirtyjerzey on January 21, 2011, 02:41:14 PM
Thx blatz

It might be due time to unleash my creations to the world!! 


Do judges get a barf bucket??  (http://www.stripersonline.com/surftalk/images/smilies/graemlins/upck.gif)

They might want to start bringing them.....   ;D
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: tomsawyer on January 21, 2011, 02:53:04 PM
Do judges get a barf bucket??  They might want to start bringing them.....

Dump buckets are standard equipment for judging according to the BJCP Manual.  So they have us covered!
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: MDixon on January 21, 2011, 03:01:35 PM
I can remember when we got less than 100 entries in our comp, we were pushing 450 and it's too much for our club to handle. Think about the logistics of 900 bottles of beer on a two bottle comp...38 cases of beer!!! 19 cases have to be kept at serving temp for the first round of judging. Our comfort level is 300 and I'd really like to see 250. While this is our major fundraiser, we generally make as much or more on the raffle than the comp. Our break even point is $4-5 per...

Our "circuit" will currently not allow us to limit entries, so we put $ restraints which limit entries. As I mentioned, not popular, but effective! Some even boycotted us last year...do you really think that made me sad  ;D

- -

As far as the question about kits, large equipment and team brews, it's up to each individual comp to allow or exclude.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: ipaguy on January 21, 2011, 03:30:25 PM
60 entries?!?!  :o

Do competition entries have to be original recipes?  If you copy a recipe or use a kit, do you have to keep the name or credit the original brewer, or can you make up your own name since you brewed it?  I guess what I'm asking is....does such a thing as 'beer plagiarizim' (sp?) exist?

I wouldn't worry about it too much. imo brewing good beer is maybe 20% recipe and 80% having a good process.  I don't think you need to retain the name, but when listing a recipe I think you should give credit if it's an exact copy.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: alikocho on January 21, 2011, 05:06:13 PM
Do competition entries have to be original recipes?  If you copy a recipe or use a kit, do you have to keep the name or credit the original brewer, or can you make up your own name since you brewed it?  I guess what I'm asking is....does such a thing as 'beer plagiarizim' (sp?) exist?

Thanks



No. It's impossible to hold the copyright on a recipe (although you can hold it on the description of what to do), and even then that only applies to the replication of a recipe in print or online without credit.

It's also worth mentioning that anyone can follow a recipe, but it is the attention to detail that often sets a brewer apart from another. Thus, just because you have a book of JZ's award winning recipes, it does not follow that you will win awards with them. Brewing great beers means not just having a good recipe, but good processes.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: rbclay on January 21, 2011, 07:14:35 PM
I guess I don't understand why penalize someone for entering lots of beers? If their beers suck, they won't win. If their beer is good, they will win. Granted there is a bit of the luck of the draw involved in placing in competitions, but you definitely stand no chance if your beer sucks. If someone has the dough for entry fees, more power to them. I don't have the resources to enter and ship that many entries to a wide number of contests. I would love to, but just can't do it.

If you are running a contest and can only handle a limited number of entries, which is understandable, then you may want to consider having a limited entry window or a cut-off of entries at a given number, no?

Again, I don't get how by entering tons of beers you stand a better chance of winning? Winning should depend on the quality of the entries, not quantity. Granted, if you are going for the Ninkasi at Nationals you need to have that combination of lots of entries and high quality ones at that. We don't bash those brewers who have won Ninkasi, right? Are they "shotgunning"? I think not.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: johnf on January 21, 2011, 09:40:29 PM
I guess I don't understand why penalize someone for entering lots of beers? If their beers suck, they won't win. If their beer is good, they will win. Granted there is a bit of the luck of the draw involved in placing in competitions, but you definitely stand no chance if your beer sucks. If someone has the dough for entry fees, more power to them. I don't have the resources to enter and ship that many entries to a wide number of contests. I would love to, but just can't do it.

If you are running a contest and can only handle a limited number of entries, which is understandable, then you may want to consider having a limited entry window or a cut-off of entries at a given number, no?

Again, I don't get how by entering tons of beers you stand a better chance of winning? Winning should depend on the quality of the entries, not quantity. Granted, if you are going for the Ninkasi at Nationals you need to have that combination of lots of entries and high quality ones at that. We don't bash those brewers who have won Ninkasi, right? Are they "shotgunning"? I think not.

In Mike's case the rules of the circuit his clubs comp is part of require no entry limits. Let's say that a circuit has 5 competitions and you and I are trying to win the circuit. You are an excellent brewer and win a medal 50% of the time you enter. I am not quite as good and I win 20% of the time. You enter 10 beers per competition and I enter 50 per. I will beat you very badly in the circuit but by most measures you are the better brewer (you have won 25 medals with 50 beers).

Mike's club would rather not judge my 50 beers and the 20 you have to enter to compete with me.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: blatz on January 21, 2011, 10:07:04 PM
well said John - exactly what I was thinking, but couldn't articulate it as well.

rbclay, if you've ever run or judged at a competition that involved some participants that shotgunned, you'd understand why it sucks.

and believe me, the guys who enter 30,40,50+ beers aren't usually looking for feedback, and they don't usually read the sheets unless it didn't win and they want to know what the putz who didn't award it a medal wrote down.

and finally yes, some of the people entering the Ninkasi are shotgunning. there are plenty of brewers out there that brew as good or better than Gordon or Jamil but they just don't have the time, space or resources or all 3 to be able to generate the quantity needed to bully out the others.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: rbclay on January 21, 2011, 11:45:58 PM
I have helped at a couple of competitions, but not enough to be "in the know" if there were "shotgunned" entrants. That's too bad people do that. I hadn't looked at winning a circuit like that. Probably because the only circuit I have considered entering is the Midwest HBOTY. Their scoring is weighted so shotgunning would have no effect. Brewing good beers across the board are awarded.
Title: Re: Shotgunning a Competition?
Post by: MDixon on January 22, 2011, 02:29:48 AM
Well said...I "gunned" for a circuit season back in the day...I sent 24 to a single comp once...ended up at the end of the year in 3rd place for all of NC, not bad when the second place winner took Ninkasi and the first place winner's beers were all amazing.