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Messages - tmsnyder

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Beer Travel / Myakka State Park, Florida
« on: July 02, 2013, 07:26:19 PM »
Unexpected excellent beer place, the Outpost at Myakka State Park.  When I was there they had Bell's Two Hearted Ale on tap and two other excellent big beers.  I just called, no Bells but they did have Cigar City Cracker Wit, Swamp Ale Double IPA, Sam Adams Summer, and Crispin Cider.  Not bad for a state park. (941) 923 - 1120 and ask for the kitchen

The Pub / Re: Fresh Pliny
« on: July 02, 2013, 07:23:46 PM »
I just called, no Pliny but they did have Cigar City Cracker Wit, Swamp Ale Double IPA, Sam Adams Summer, and Crispin Cider.  Not bad for a state park.

I swear I had Pliny the Elder on tap at the concession stand in Myakka State Park.  Give them a call and see what they're pouring today.  I was blown away, ended up slamming three beers before the tour boat pushed off.  One was Bells Two Hearted Ale, I swear another one was Pliny.   (941) 923 - 1120

Send a bottle this way! Can't get it in FL!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Experimental Brewing Forum
« on: July 02, 2013, 12:45:51 PM »
Yeah, I've made some changes today that should help

Exbeeriments sound like fun, I joined the forum but not sure how to chip in yet.

Wow, west coast elitism.  Nice.

I was guessing it was east coast clubs who've never been to club night and haven't had years to build up an impressive booth

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Finals Scorecards
« on: July 02, 2013, 12:19:57 PM »
You should get plenty of feedback from the scoresheets, just in a different format.  There were spaces for written comments too, I used these as "sum it all up in a sentence or two" opportunities a couple entries into our flight.  If there's no written comments, you'll have to interpret the check boxes.  Problem areas were supposed to be circled, assessments were checked.  So lets say you entered a pilsner colored stout, the "Straw" box would be circled, meaning the color was out of style.  If you entered a pilsner colored pilsner, the "Straw" box for colored would be checked, meaning that was the color and it was probably ok.   I say probably, because maybe the judge missed the instructions to circle the problem areas.  So you'll have to read between the lines a little bit.

Our table was loaded with high ranking judges, of the 8 of us there must have been 5 nationals and 1 master level judge. I judged with another national judge and we were in sync right away. 

I agree though, if you're lucky enough to get your beer through to the 2nd round, you deserve to know in a general way at least, what it tasted like when it was poured. 

They were slightly different, but you'll get them. Second round uses the checklist scoresheet with fewer written comments.

Kind of bummed to see that >:(  Just like a lot of us, I enter comps for feedback and dialing in brewing processes/recipes.  Pretty hard to do unless you receive written comments!!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Finals Scorecards
« on: July 02, 2013, 12:05:31 PM »
The scoresheets were not my favorite.  I found them difficult to provide decent feedback, so by the end I was writing on them anyway.  They definitely did not speed up judging, we were still running 15 minutes or so a beer.

I agree with udubdawg.  You have already paid for your feedback in the first round, the fact that your beer has advanced to the second round WITH NO EXTRA CHARGE means that you have already got your money's worth.

Just the perspective of a 2011 gold medal winner.

Actually it cost me almost 20 bucks to ship my beer (three bottles) to Philly from the west coast.  I only entered two beers in the NHC and it cost my almost 70 bucks when it was all said and done.... ???  I was really hoping to get feedback from at least a National ranked judge or higher in the second round. I will be VERY disappointed if all I get back is a sheet with boxes checked.

Well, you'll probably get three sheets with boxes checked and some comments, at least one of which from a high ranking judge.
I would have preferred to use the regular score sheets in the category I judged, Specialty.  The check box score sheets are not designed for odd beer styles.

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: July 02, 2013, 11:55:06 AM »
Hi Gary,

Where do we go to see the minutes of the Governing Committee meeting?  Is it available to the membership?


We head in to Philadelphia next week for the National Homebrewers Conference. Before the start of the conference we have the annual AHA Governing Committee meeting--the one in-person meeting for the committee (the GC holds monthly conference calls, plus additional subcommittee conference calls, and daily exchanges via email).  The National Homebrew Competition will be a major topic of discussion for the group.

I'd like to thank the many AHA members who have posted some very thoughtful ideas on how to handle the NHC's growth in this thread.  The AHA GC Competition Subcommittee has contemplated many of the ideas posted here.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank Geoff Humphrey, the developer of the competition registration and database system we used for this year's competition. While I dropped the ball in not insisting upon a more thorough testing regime, Geoff has stuck with the AHA staff throughout and put in many hours on fixes and improvements to the software.  Thank you Geoff!

The Pub / Re: Fresh Pliny
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:38:59 PM »
I swear I had Pliny the Elder on tap at the concession stand in Myakka State Park.  Give them a call and see what they're pouring today.  I was blown away, ended up slamming three beers before the tour boat pushed off.  One was Bells Two Hearted Ale, I swear another one was Pliny.   (941) 923 - 1120

Send a bottle this way! Can't get it in FL!

Pimp My System / Re: Beer line Hex Nut size?
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:28:30 PM »
It's called a 1/4 inch 45 degree flare fitting.  I'm guessing you'd need a male 1/4 inch flare to male NPT fitting.

I'm in the process of building a Randall for my kegerator out of a stainless steal filter canister I have.  The issue I'm having is that I can't find what the size of the standard hex nut is that gets screwed into the keg coupler.  I need to find the male equivalent to attach to the actual randall.  I've looked on several websites, but none of the hex nut descriptions actually give the specs of the nut.  Can anyone help?  (the nut I'm talking about


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Finals Scorecards
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:23:07 PM »
They should, they looked like scoresheets that were headed back to the brewer.

Do the final round scorecards get mailed out?

I would like brew my beer that made it to finals again thus month, but I would like to tweak it in the positive direction.

Events / Re: NHC Awards Dinner
« on: July 01, 2013, 11:19:39 PM »
I totally agree.  Our whole table was appalled at how much we paid, and what we ended up with on our plates.  It was literally laugh out loud funny.  We had a couple foodies and a person with food service history at our table, and we were all looking at this thing with our jaws hanging.  Crazy.  Presentation was prison like.  One woman at our table kept saying "you can't put stomboli under a steam cover' or something like that. Basically, the dough was not crispy outside and soft inside, it was hard and chewy all the way through.  She had trouble just getting a knife in it.  Broccoli was totally overdone, and pork was totally dried out.  No provolone was there to ooze out. 

This is my third NHC; I've been to Oakland, Minneopolis, and now Philly.  None of the meals were much to write home about.  Sorry but 'the emperor has no clothes'.  Time for a different chef I'm afraid.

I'm sure it has to do with the execution and you can't blame the chef for his meal getting screwed up.  But on the other hand, he has to design a meal that can be executed by the kitchen he has, for the number of people he has.  But I'm not a foodie or someone with catering experience. I'd just as soon have a Dominoes pizza and some wings.  But for 2200 people paying $50 each, it ought to be good.

Thank God they kept wheeling out carts full of Rogue, we filled up on that instead. 

Kudo's to the Philadelphia crew for an excellent conference.  After the recipe and ingredient commentary by Sean Paxton I was prepared for an outstanding meal.  To my and my foodie groups disappointment the Stromboli could have been better described as a pretzel with the pork inside grossly overcooked.  It was a shame that the chef's ideas were so poorly executed, not typical of a Marrriot .  Anybody have a great meal?  I hope so.

Philly was AWESOME, what a place to host the conference.  Great walkable bars, great food at the Reading Market, HUGE facilities, great local organizers.  WOW.  What a conference!

I wouldn't mind if Philly did it every time for the NE US region, that was incredible.

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: July 01, 2013, 06:24:25 PM »

I'm looking forward to seeing some improvement in the NHC, as it stands I wouldn't consider it an accurate measure of the best homebrewers in the country.  It's only a competition between those lucky enough to get in before the spots all fill up. 

This was confirmed Thursday morning when I judged German Wheats and Ryes and was seriously underwhelmed by the beers.  A few were in the upper 30's, NONE in the 40s.  One I wanted to give a 19, it was flawed, but for the purposes of the NHC there's no point in that so I managed to get it up to 20 or 21. 

I would expect that if the competition were actually representing the best beers from everyone that wanted to enter it, that the beers would all be upper 30's, with some in the 40's and maybe even a 50 occasionally. 

This is, in fact, what I observe when judging the NYS Homebrewer of the Year, which is judged as a BOS competition and is entered, for free, by invitation only, based on wins at the regional competitions around the state. For each of every 5 wins during the year, and the brewer is invited to send one beer to represent him or herself.  The beers sent in are almost 100% excellent and picking the best example of style is a long, hard process.  I'm not saying that the NHC should be an invitational, although that is an option, I'm just saying that IF the NHC were an open competition, there would be better beer at the table when you get it down to what are supposed to be the 33 best examples of the style from around the country.

Hopefully Janis and Fred and all those guys can figure it out, I know it's not an easy situation to be in.  But for the level of work that goes into running the competition, it ought to be open to everyone that wants to enter.  If not, what's the point? 

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the AHA GC Competition Subcommittee has put together a survey to gather AHA members' feedback on their priorities for the National Homebrew Competition, which will help in deciding what steps we will take for future competitions.  Look for that to be sent via email shortly after next week's National Homebrewers Conference.

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: March 14, 2013, 03:52:50 PM »
Ok, so now we're back down at the Round 1 level being the problem.

There are plenty of locations that have the capacity to judge 750 entries and judge them well.  The question is, why aren't they volunteering to host a Round 1 site?   Why is the AHA accepting locations for Round 1 that apparently have weak judging pools? 

And the answer from my perspective, as someone involved in one location that certainly has the capacity but is unwilling to host a Round 1, is that the incentives are not there.

My points are:

A)  750 entries is a big competition, a lot of work.  There are areas which can handle this load but you're not attracting them all (I know b/c I'm in such an area)

B) $3 per entry is probably enough to run it, but not enough to feed the judges decently, and provide a thank you gift which is adequate for them to take a day, 2 days, or 3 days out of their lives to judge.  It was $2 or $3 2 years ago, what happened to the $2 bump in entrance fee that was supposed to go towards the judging?  The money should go PRIOR to the competition, into an account that the Round 1 site can draw from by a debit card so organizers can run their competition without having to worry about getting reimbursed for every little penny.  $5 an entry, up front, no reimbursements.

C)  You're not likely to get judges to volunteer for a competition that they were unable to enter.  And usually judges are the better brewers, this is true in our area at least.  So allow early NHC registration for the judges from the previous year.  This will do several things.  1. Motivate the judges to judge at a Round 1 site  2. Motivate non-judges to become judges.  3. Motivate organizer/judges to volunteer to host a Round 1 site.  This will increase the Round 1 judge pool and allow you to have an even bigger competition open to everyone.

D)  My main point:  There's no reason for any bottleneck if the competition is set up correctly.


Thanks for this, it is a novel proposal.  I've added it to the list of things for the committee to consider for next year's competition.

Although often the judging at the first round sites is not where it needs to be, so trusting that the first round site got them in the right order is not a given.  I've seen some pretty bad judging sheets from first round sites, sheets with fewer than 20 words written on them.  And in the words of one former Ninkasi winner "I've personally seen how unrelated these rankings seem to be from round to round."

I also want to point out that as soon as you clear one bottleneck another appears - there are a limited number of first round sites that can handle 750 entries, I doubt we can get to 20 let alone 30.  Still, it is a constructive suggestion we will discuss.  Thanks.

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: March 14, 2013, 02:32:48 PM »
As a competition organizer myself (Amber Waves of Grain this almost made coffee shoot out my nose!

Very funny!

Yes the bjcp tracks judging points, those points are entered one by one on a web based database thanks to Gordon Strong.  It is very well thought out.  It is not hard as the organizer to get on there and assign judge points and organizer points.  I'm happy to do it for the 40, 50, 60 judges and stewards and organizers that come out and volunteer their time to help make the competition run smoothly.   

If I don't do it, I have angry judges on my hands and they won't help me next year.  So the incentive is there and yet there are STILL competitions that do a poor job distributing their judge points.  Look on the bjcp website if you can, you'll see a list of delinquent competitions that haven't done it and they're YEARS LATE!

To take that idea and apply it to 500, 600, 700 entries over 100-200 entrants?  No thanks.  Too much work and no incentive. And if it's not done after the competition is over (and it won't get done) the brewer appeals to the AHA or something?  So now they're dealing with 1000's of angry brewers trying to get their records updated?  That's not something the AHA is going to want to deal with.

As for tracking for a hypothetical qualifier - all you would need is for the competition coordinator to upload the scores and results to a database assessable by the AHA.  The BJCP tracks judging points and steward points, and it's a volunteer organization - I'm sure the AHA could handle this.

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