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I have tried adding bitterness by making a 1-gal batch of beer to add to a 5-gal batch of beer and that was helpful. If you just want to add some hopped water, it'll be difficult to get a big IBU increase without dilution becoming a concern. You can play around with some brewing software to see what I mean.Blending has turned several of my ho hums to really nice beers.
The gypsum or the isomerized extract sound like better plans.
It's going to feel thin, watery, lifeless... and it will probably be clear as crystal instead of cloudy.
Sounds like you had some very insightful knowledge to share. Like I said, get involved, or stay involved. You can help make the competitions in your area better.you said some other stuff, but that's what I took from your post.
No, it gets worse. The BCJP judges at my table could not tell the difference between acetaldehyde and ethyl heptanoate (the condensation ethanol and heptanoic acid). They flagged a really nice sweet smelling beer as suffering from acetaldehyde. I said, "are you sure that you do not grape?" That's when everyone at the table noticed it. One said,"I smell Concord grape." I said, "Bingo! You just smelled ethyl heptanoate." Silence fell over the room because no one had heard of that ester. Ethyl heptonaote is the ester that is used in artificial grape flavoring. Ethyl heptanoate smells like Concord grape or grape lollipop. Many heirloom British yeast strains produce this ester.
With that said, the major problem that I have with this situation is that inexperienced brewers tend to take contest remarks as gospel. Flagging ethyl heptanoate as acetaldehyde is a major faux pas that only confuses the entrant.