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Messages - Bruce B

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The email address of the person who judged the entry should be on the score sheet.  If you'd like you could email the judge and let them know that while perhaps well intended, you found the comment to be nonconstructive.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: 501(c)(7) Why?
« on: March 25, 2013, 02:28:15 AM »
Actually, because of our non-profit status we're able to obtain an umbrella policy for our officers.  That might not be a big selling point for smaller clubs but it might be for larger ones.

As a judge and a competition coordinator I'd definitely suggest 16E.  I'd suggest the following for the comments submission - "Belgian White styled IPA dry hopped with Cascade and Centennial." 

Suggestion for any competition - Keep the special comments short and to the point.  Anything more that short and to the point and the competition may need to abbreviate them to accommodate pull sheets or pre-printed labels for the score sheets.  Also competitions get a lot of special comments that border on short history lessons rather than info about the beer.  If you keep the comments short and to the point the judges don't need to summarize and form their own conclusions.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Advice on teaching someone to brew.
« on: March 13, 2013, 06:27:32 PM »
I would suggest making sure that the first recipe is something simple like a brown ale, red ale, low to mid gravity stout.  Something that they can have a good chance of success at and get their feet under them. 

Next just decide if he wants to do it all himself with input from you or you do some things and he assists.  I'm betting you'll work this out pretty easily.

Finally, keep a few things in your car that typically help you through your brew day.  That way if the opportunity exists to improve something you can easily grab it and introduce it.

Best of luck!

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 28, 2013, 10:59:35 PM »
As the "random guy in Colorado" I don't feel any need to defend myself or the software. The 100s of competitions that are using or have used this OPEN SOURCE and FREE software are more testament to its success than the issues experienced with the NHC registration on Tuesday.

I was honored that the AHA wanted to use the software for the NHC. I stand by it and welcome anyone's input into its continued development - like I said, it's open source. Admittedly, I am a self-taught php "programmer" - however, I saw a need for a particular product and filled that need for my own uses initially. I've put literally 1000s of hours into the continued development and happily dove into helping the AHA, modifying it to fit their needs.

It's true that the events of the 26th necessitate some serious consideration and remediation. Believe me, I've been in constant contact with the folks at the AHA since 1:05 PM on Tuesday. They are working long hours at 110% to make things right, analyze what went wrong, and figure our what to do about.

At least this "random guy in Colorado" did something about helping the homebrewing community in a way he feels reasonably competent instead of complaining about it in some forum.

That's all I am going to say about the subject.



I've been using BCOE&M on all four competitions I'm involved with since 2008 (then just BCOE) and will continue to do so as long as I stay involved with those competitions and the product remains available.  It provides a great service and I can't imagine doing a competition without it. 

Events / Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« on: February 28, 2013, 06:51:59 PM »
I meant by them not being able to get a beer in the competition, what's their motivation to help out with the rest of the competition? Last year I wasn't able to get a beer in, so I never felt the need to help out and planned on heading skiing that weekend instead. I only judged once the organizer started begging for judges and I did so more as a favor to him, not the NHC.

The two years I was the organizer up here I heard the same type of stories from many of our BJCP judges in the area. They didn't have a beer in the contest so they didn't feel the need to give back.

Wow.  If this is what's stopping people from judging then adding an additional qualifying location would seem  to only be a temporary solution.  Not everyone can move on to the final round so what's to stop people from judging if they are able to submit an entry but unable to move on to the finals?

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Club Membership Cards
« on: February 19, 2013, 04:46:17 AM »
We just do business cards through a local printer and have a laminating machine at the meetings for those who want to laminate them. It's a very budget friendly approach. 

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Dues for Home Brew Club
« on: February 14, 2013, 10:36:42 PM »
How much are they? - Mostly a quickly copy from our web site - The Beer Barons of Milwaukee is open to anyone 21 years of age or older. Annual dues are $20.00 ($30 family), which are mainly used to cover the cost of producing the clubs newsletter (equipment, insurance, PO Box, etc). In addition, we normally charge a $5.00 or $10.00 fee at each meeting attended to cover the cost of the featured beer style we taste that evening. However, additional fees may be required to cover the cost of higher priced beers such as Belgian Ales or special events such as the annual party in December.
Is it mandatory? - Yes after a 3 month trial.
Do you have an option for those who don’t want to pay dues but want to participate occasionally in club events? Such as paying per meeting or activity. - Officially no.
What do you do if someone who was a paying member doesn't pay after a few reminders? - We keep 'reminding them'.  Eventually they sign up or fade away.
What if they end up showing up at your meetings or events, are they asked to leave? - Officially yes, but realistically no.  They still get their pink wrist band and are 'reminded' that they should officially renew.

Here is a link to the Barons payments page if you'd like to see how we break it down -

It's important to note that our membership does get us discounts at local homebrew shops, brew pubs, and a CO2 gas vendor.

Hi David,

Your two logo issues are probably due to a path decoration issue in the config file.  Verify that your images_dir and base_url are correct.

Not sure what is going on with the web site contact page but I've sent an email to the developer informing him of that situation.

If you log your issue out on the Google Code site there are more developers familiar with the product that can assist you with issues going forward.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fourth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: December 30, 2012, 06:29:39 AM »
Registration is now open!

Homebrew Competitions / Fourth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: December 06, 2012, 10:52:22 PM »
Hello fellow Home Brewers!

The Beer Barons of Milwaukee are very pleased to announce the fourth annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition will be taking place on February 15th and 16th, 2013. This competition is held in conjunction with the 16th annual Midwinter Brew Fest at the Milwaukee Ale House, and is a circuit qualifying event for both the Master Championship of Amateur Brewers (MCAB) and the Midwest Home Brewer of the Year.  The competition will be limited to 800 entries.

Participant, judging, and steward registration for the competition will be coordinated through the web site at  Entries will be accepted December 29th through February 2nd at 11 different locations in WI, IL, & MN.  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.  Each award will consist of a medal and a gift certificate to Northern Brewer (Gold - $25, Silver - $15, Bronze - $10).  Beer Best of Show, Beer Best of Show Runner-Up, and Mead / Cider Best of Show will receive engraved barrel head awards.  Also, one of the winning Brown Ale entries (BJCP categories 10C, 11B, or 11C) will be chosen to be ramped up by the Milwaukee Brewing Company for serving at the Milwaukee Ale House.

Awards will be announced and presented to participants at Revere’s Wells Street Tavern on February 16th at 8:00 PM central time.  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

Thanks and best of luck to all that enter! - MWHBC Organizing Committee

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Technical Talk Ideas
« on: October 13, 2012, 07:28:30 PM »
We've done what we call parallel brews. 
  • Pick a style and brew it extract, partial mash, and all grain. 
  • Pick the same exact recipe and give it to three or four different brewers.
  • Pick the same exact all grain recipe and mash it three different ways.
  • Make 15 gallons of the same base beer and use three different yeasts or age with 3 different wood types.  See Zymurgy September/October 2012 issue.
Also the September 2012 issue of BYO has a great article on open air fermentation.
Basically take good notes during these experiments, discuss/compare/contrast the results, and dig deeper into the findings.  Can be as super technical or high level as you want.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP On-Line Exam - did you finish?
« on: September 27, 2012, 07:37:26 PM »
I took it at lunch while at work, on a whim, with no reference materials....and just barely squeeked by.  I thought I was done, and then had a few unanswered questions *that I thought I had answered* intent was to fail to get an understanding of what they were asking, but I passed by the hair on my chinny chin chin (as they say).

The wording of such entrance exams are designed to throw you off....after all, it is beer nerds testing you to see if you are worthy of being in the club.

The real challenge is finding a testing slot within a 12 month window.  I have one in March 2013 *I think, and I tested just after the opening of the new on-line exam in April 2012.  There are at least 5 exams scheduled in my area in the next 12 months, and to my knowledge, I got the last slot.  I even checked my old home town (fly to test) and the 3 or 4 scheduled in the next year were also booked.

That is the biggest problem with the BJCP exam process.  I want to study,take, and pass the online test. But..why if there are no testing slots in the major metro area I live in (Los Angeles)?  I can travel either 3-4 hours south or 5-6 hours north and "maybe" find an open slot.   Seems like a major headache...just so somebody can wave a wand over my head and say "you are a beer judge".  Yet everytime there is a comp..they are hurting for judges and will take just about anyone.

I totally agree with what you are saying about the lack of slots in LA.  I plan on taking the online test soon, but just to see where I stand on knowledge.  I've pretty much given up on the thought of taking the next level of exams due to lack of availability.  If something pops up for me, great... but otherwise, I can live without it.  I'm hoping that the online exam is only a small part of the testing overhaul, and that they will iron out the rest eventually.
A bit off topic from the original post but this could be useful to those that are looking to take the Beer Judging Exam and are having a hard time finding a location in their area.

I would suggest working with a homebrew club or local professional brewer to get a Beer Judging Exam scheduled.  The testing admin has to be approved by the exam director, not necessarily a National or Master judge.  You'll also need two qualified Proctors to come to your area on the day of the exam.  You can find a list of qualified Proctors here on the BJCP web site -

This is how we got BJCP judges in Milwaukee going years ago.  Someone local was approved by the exam director and we kindly asked two Chicago area judges to come up and Proctor.  Bought them a beer and a lunch as a thank you.  Today we have over 40 judges in South Eastern WI.

For all you competition coordinators and organizers out there, a new version of BCOE&M has been released with some really nice add on features and changes:

  • Added the ability to cap the number of entries.
  • Added custom winning category functionality.
  • Added registration windows for judges and stewards (now separate from regular entrants). Comps can now register judges and stewards before and after the entry window.
  • Added a new public page: Volunteer Information.  Communicate directly to the Volunteers in addition to the Entrants.
  • Accept payments via Google Wallet (in addition to PayPal).
  • Added another bottle label option that includes special ingredients (if any) on the label itself. Useful for Category 23, for example, and custom categories.
  • 16 other fixes.

I personally coordinate two competitions (Midwinter and German Fest Stein Challenge) and webmaster another two (The Schooner and Belle City Winter Warmer) using this package and it saves us a ton of time over paper form submissions, managing a competition, and communicating to everyone involved.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Any help on protection the Club from liability?
« on: September 06, 2012, 07:20:12 AM »
Bylaws actually serve two purposes.  One is a framework for the club to operate within.  Things like how much can be spent before a membership vote is required, membership fee collection, etc.

The second is that bylaws are usually a requirement for the incorporation process.  The government likes to see that there is a a formal organization structure (Prez, Vice Prez, etc).  They also like to see some kind of rules around financial management and your club has to have some kind of non-discrimination clause.

You can find the Baron's bylaws, org structure, and non-discrimination statement here:

Some things you should know regarding the Barons.  We have a membership of about 200 members, our monthly meetings have an average attendance of about 100, we run a 600 attendee beer festival annually, manage a second beer festival for a major local craft beer distributor, run bus trips to 2 major beer festivals in the area annually, have an annual club picnic with large amounts of homebrew, run 2 homebrew competitions, and host several educational workshops (brewing, judging, etc) that are open to the public throughout the year.  Not trying to brag, just disclosing this in case people think our bylaws are overkill.

My suggestion would be to grab someone else's bylaws, trim them down to meet your needs, approve them, and then start the incorporation process.  Bylaws change over time based on need so they are truly never done and can always be revised.

Regarding protection, without incorporation if anything happens individuals are the only ones that someone could sue.  The idea behind incorporating is that if something happens the liability can shift to the organizational entity and away from the individuals.  The organizational entity can also qualify for insurance which could cover the cost of legal fees should anything happen. 

Hope this helps.

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