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Messages - Bruce B

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For our competitions we have an office staff of three that audit the score sheet math, cover sheets, and info on the summary sheets as the judging flight concludes.  After all the double checks they then stuff the score sheets into the pre-labeled participant mailing envelopes.  One person gets the flight summary sheets and updates BCOE&M with the scores.  During the award ceremony if the person isn't there to get their medal the same office staff folks immediately stuff the medal in the envelope.  Score sheets usually get mailed out on the Tuesday or Wednesday following the competition and participants usually have them back by the weekend.

  • Get the 9x12 envelopes that open along the long side for easier stuffing.
  • Put the number of paid & received entries for the participant on the mailing label so the office folks know the score sheet count for the envelope.
  • Print two sets of address labels with the number of entries on them.  One goes on the outside of the envelope for mailing, the other goes on the inside lip so the office staff can easily access to the envelope and see the participant name.
  • Give the office staff a spreadsheet that they can sort by judging number, entry number, participant name, etc.  Can be used for many things by the office staff while judging is going on.

Regarding scanning the sheets - I've yet to find a cost and time effective solution.  I used to implement Electronic Medical Records systems and a part of that was implementing high capacity scanners (scan a patient paper chart in seconds), so I know a little about this.  In order to do this you either need a decent scanner and someone that can manually save each scan with some kind of naming convention (i.e. judging number, participant name, etc.) or a scanner with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capabilities so a scanning software program can read data off of a scanned sheet and automatically name the document for you.  The first option is a time killer because of the scan time and the time it would take us to email 100 plus participants.  The second option would require some costly equipment, can produce some rather large PDF files, and then there would be those 100 plus emails.  I know some competitions have farmed out the scanning to a service after the competition has completed, but history has proven that volunteers tend to disappear into the woodwork once competitions are over.  Yeah we could do a Google Drive or Dropbox folder share instead of emails but then that involves tech support to 100 plus participants. 

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to do this but I've never had the budget and I've never had the volunteer time to pull it off.  I'm in the stick them in the envelope and mail them off camp.  Good luck with your competition!

Homebrew Competitions / Second Annual Schnapp Hans Cup
« on: August 13, 2014, 02:26:20 PM »

Hello fellow Home Brewers!

I'm very pleased to announce that the 2014 Delafield Brewhaus Schnapp Hans Cup Competition will be taking place on October 11, 2014. The focus of this beer only competition is on base styles.  No Specialty, Spice Herb Vegetable, Fruit, or Sour beers will be accepted.  This competition will be limited to 300 entries.

Participant, judging, and steward registration for the competition will be coordinated through the web site at  Entries will be accepted August 23rd through September 27th at 3 different locations in WI.  Shipped entries should be sent to Northern Brewer in West Allis, WI.  Please refer to the web site for drop off location cut off dates and addresses.

1st, 2nd, & 3rd place awards will be issued for each category.  The Best of Show will take home the coveted Schnapp Hans Cup and the winning recipe will be brewed at the Delafield Brewhaus!

Awards will be announced and presented to participants at the Delafield Brewhaus on October 11th.  Results will be posted to the competition website shortly after the conclusion of the awards ceremony.

Additional details can be found on the competition web site, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages.  Information regarding judging and stewarding opportunities will be posted shortly. Please pass this information on to your fellow home brewing friends and direct any inquiries to the Contact page on the registration page at

Prosit, Sláinte, Salute, Na Zdravi, Cheers! - Bruce Buerger
Competition Coordinator

What Amanda said.  Also be sure to set how you want to handle your Best of Show structure in the Style Types section (Admin, Preparing, Manage/View, Style Types).  This is where you set if you'll have 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc Best of Show Award for Beer, Mead, and Cider.

For others that might read this thread - custom categories in BCOE&M are custom style categories.  They get assigned to tables just like regular style categories. 

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Insurance
« on: June 30, 2014, 05:15:32 AM »
It's been a pretty important topic for the past few years. I'm betting a post to the forums here, a write up on the AHA website, and possibly an email blast to the AHA Membership.

Time for the White Stout movement to start up.   ::)

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Insurance
« on: June 26, 2014, 11:47:48 AM »
Yeah the $3.50 per a member price that Crispy announced would end up being about $300.00 less a year than what we're paying for all of our insurance as well.  Kudos to those that were able to get this program lined up.  Looking forward to it getting rolled out.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Homebrew Competition Presentation
« on: June 23, 2014, 07:07:28 PM »
How many judges do you think you can get? Also how many Sessions are you planning for Friday and Saturday?

Planning 1 session with 30 judges, so assume 15 tables with worse case 10 beers per flight would be 150 max.

Really trying control as much as possible to ensure first one goes off smooth, so if we get 150 entries and it goes perfect, we happy.

Part of an event were we have to be done at set time for an awards ceremony.

30 judges for 150 entries should be enough but doing it in one single shot is what might make it tricky.

Few things come to mind:
  • What Amanda said.  There are always a few that don't show or cancel shortly before.  Count on it.
  • Also consider that you will probably not have flights that are divided by 10 so if you have a flight of 25 entries you'll have to make a choice of assigning 2 sets of judges (13 & 12) or 3 sets (9, 8, & 8 ).
  • I'm assuming that you'll have to do a Best of Show flight at the end.  Make sure the BoS judges are not on a judging flight of with more than 8 entries otherwise they will be fried for BoS.

If you're tight for time on the judging day I'd suggest doing a couple of flights on a week night at someone's home.  That should help you knock out 20 to 30 entries and help to take the pressure off a bit.

Aside from judging, if you haven't already recruit someone to compile the scores as the flights conclude and the sheets come in.  Get someone to stuff the score sheets in envelopes as well.  That will help with your turn around time before the awards ceremony and the entrants at the ceremony can get their sheets right away (which saves on postage).

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Homebrew Competition Presentation
« on: June 20, 2014, 04:55:11 PM »
How many judges do you think you can get? Also how many Sessions are you planning for Friday and Saturday?

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Homebrew Competition Presentation
« on: June 19, 2014, 08:19:31 AM »
We found that the three per a day works really well.  Our first year we tried four on a Friday night so judges had a shot at getting three sessions in and it was a disaster.  The day was really long and it sucked the life out of the organizing staff. 

We couldn't go this in depth during the presentation but there is a copy of the judging schedule for this past year.  It shows how we did the early week night session (to kick out the cobwebs), scheduled three sessions per a day on Friday and Saturday, and how we scheduled flights (so not to blow out palates).  Please pay no attention to the number of Stewards per a table.  That's a combo of Stewards and beer runners.

One thing that we failed to point out, we usually throw in some sort of incentive for those that volunteer to judge or work three sessions.  Check out our Volunteer page under Beer & Mead Paired Dinner (scroll down).  We knew we would normally have to feed folks so we took the money we normally would have budgeted for that meal and turned it into an incentive.  Attendees still had to kick in $35 for the meal, but everyone felt it was well worth it.  We even got some folks to sign up as Stewards and Office Staff just so they could get the discount.  FYI - The Sprecher APA and the MKE Baltic Porter got changed out at the last minute with Central Waters Hop Rise and Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Stout respectively.  Folks were taking the ice cream that came with the deep fried apple pie and were making stout floats. 

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Homebrew Competition Presentation
« on: June 19, 2014, 06:58:48 AM »
Glad you enjoyed the presentation.  I thought a few folks would challenge me on some of the items in there but so far nothing. 

It hasn't helped me win a medal at Midwinter or German Fest  ??? so I'm doubting it will help others.   :D

Homebrew Competitions / NHC Homebrew Competition Presentation
« on: June 16, 2014, 09:20:11 AM »
Hi all.  Below is a link to the presentation Brian and I did in Grand Rapids last week.  The AHA will eventually post the presentation with the audio but I thought it might be a good idea to post the presentation here and generate some discussion.  I'm sure there will be some agreeing and disagreeing.  All I ask is that we keep it clean and productive.    :D

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Collecting Scores
« on: May 23, 2014, 08:22:07 AM »
Not if they are entered digitally from the start!

That's what I'm thinking.  Wouldn't it be so much easier if you could look at the ID and/or beer name on the slip banded to the beer, select it from the list of beers in that category, and then fill in a form that adds up to a score. 

I can see that adding in comments will be harder in a digital environment, but we could allow for an audio comment that would make it even easier than writing it out longhand.

I entered my first comp and just got the scores back last week.  All I got was a single score for each beer.  Not helpful at all to improve my brewing.

Scores are nice to see but in my opinion they really only tell an entrant if the judges thought the entry was on the low, mid range, or high end of the Scoring Guide group (Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent, Outstanding) that it finished in.  What's really important about a homebrew competition is the feedback that you're supposed to receive about the entry.  Unfortunately all that was received here was a score and no feedback.  Being a first time entrant it's tough to figure out which comps to enter and which ones don't meet your needs.  I'd suggest checking out the competition sections on the AHA, Brewing Network, and Homebrew Talk forms to see what folks are posting about the different competitions.  One thing about the forum world, they seldom hold back any punches.  I'd also suggest Googling the competition name to see if folks have blogged about their experience with a particular competition.  Finally if you belong to a homebrew club ask around to find out what others think about a particular competition.

Tiny soap box - Introducing electronic devices and voice recognition software to the judging portion of a competition would be a huge challenge.  I'm a National judge, coordinated several competitions, and for 5 years implemented electronic medical records systems in clinics.  Part of those implementations involved teaching Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, and Medical Assistants how to prescribe medications and submit dictations using electronic devices.  They were all moving out of the world of paper medical charts and into the world of the electronic one, which is pretty close to what we would be attempting here. One, the learning curve for these professionals was huge and they all have a background of some kind of formal training.  Second, the start up and maintenance costs would blow any competition budget.  There would have to be some sort of standard device with a standard software image in order to reduce the user learning curve and troubleshooting support.  Bring your own device in my mind is not an option because different devices, different operating systems, different operating system versions, anti virus, and keeping software versions up to date would be a maintenance nightmare.  Off my soap box.  I now return you to the previously discussed topic.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Collecting Scores
« on: May 20, 2014, 09:10:38 AM »
That's what the BJCP is for, not the AHA.

What site does the BJCP use to track homebrewers' competition results?  I'm not finding it with a google search.

Thx for the help,
The BJCP does not track the results of competitions nor does it collect any scoring data. 

Brew Competition Online Entry & Management does have a filed to capture a participant's AHA number.  For non-NHC competitions it's an optional field in the event there is a Pro-Am associated with the competition. 

For the NHC version of the software the field is still there but it might be optional in the BCOE&M screen because AHA membership validation takes place in an earlier screen.

Events / Re: Pro Brewers "NIGHT"
« on: April 14, 2014, 12:36:18 PM »
The height was funny, but what really struck me was HOW LONG the stream kept shooting up.  It seemed to just keep going and going and going.  We laughed, cracked a joke or two, and then we were like 'okay, someone should really get on that'.

Events / Re: Pro Brewers "NIGHT"
« on: April 14, 2014, 11:06:33 AM »
Except for MPLS / St. Paul in 2010 when Brian didn't clamp his jockey box lines and half of his Bock blew in the box and the back wall of the hall.   :o  He felt better though last year after seeing the Lagunitas keg gush 10 feet into the air for what seemed to be an extremely long time.

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