Author Topic: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?  (Read 39131 times)

Offline a10t2

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #195 on: March 04, 2013, 03:01:54 PM »
If you guys don't see a problem with the way the NHC is operating right now, and that it's clearly caused by a lack of willing judges and site organizers, then I'm not sure what planet you're on.

I think everyone is just taking that as a given. Obviously increasing the number of judges can only help. But even if there were a thousand new BJCP judges available tomorrow, the constraints on the NHC would be the same. As it stands the there will almost certainly be 924 entries. That means that if you limit judges to three flights of 12 beers, you still only need 77 judges for the second round. That's pretty hard up against the number of cats you can successfully herd throughout a single day. Increasing the number of first-round sites allows for more entries, but doesn't address the logistical nightmare that is the second round judging.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #196 on: March 04, 2013, 03:02:38 PM »
Maybe it's been discussed/mentioned before and I apologize if it has.  Couldn't we start a lottery system a month or two before the 1st round. Entrants would initially enter their beers into the Lottery System. Those who are randomly selected are given say a week to  pay for their entries. After a week the unpaid are dropped and more are randomly selected to take their place. It would need to be done at the regional level due to a brewer possibly having more than one entry. Cheers!!!
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Offline tmsnyder

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #197 on: March 05, 2013, 08:07:32 AM »
If you guys don't see a problem with the way the NHC is operating right now, and that it's clearly caused by a lack of willing judges and site organizers, then I'm not sure what planet you're on.

I think everyone is just taking that as a given. Obviously increasing the number of judges can only help. But even if there were a thousand new BJCP judges available tomorrow, the constraints on the NHC would be the same. As it stands the there will almost certainly be 924 entries. That means that if you limit judges to three flights of 12 beers, you still only need 77 judges for the second round. That's pretty hard up against the number of cats you can successfully herd throughout a single day. Increasing the number of first-round sites allows for more entries, but doesn't address the logistical nightmare that is the second round judging.

Oh really, _that's_ the bottleneck?

I judged NHC in Oakland, CA a few years ago and didn't really try to figure out the overall process.  I was told where to sit, and then we ranked a few beers and were done.  My judging partner, who I assumed was a high ranking bjcp judge, turned out to be an Apprentice/Novice or Recognized Judge that spent his spare time outside the building smoking cigarettes.  Nice guy, but I'm not sure why he was judging the NHC.  But that's another matter.

If the second round is the bottleneck b/c they're judging almost 1000 entries, then the solution is to not re-judge all the 1st, 2nd and 3rds.  You have to trust your judge centers to rank the entries in order of best (1st) on down for the top three.  Are they actually throwing out the work done by the 1st round judge centers?   Why would that effort be discarded?   

If you trust the Round 1 judge sites, then you're only judging around 300 entries using 28 BOS-style tables.

The solution is simple.  It's a BOS style competition .  Let's say you're judging Dry Stout.  You set the 11 1st place entries from the 11 Round 1 judge centers out on the table and pour them for a table of 4 well qualified judges.  That's almost a 3 oz sample per judge which is plenty.  Out of those 11, they pick the one that best represents the style.  That is first place overall, 1st BOS Dry Stout.   The 2nd place beer from the same Round 1 judging center is then moved up onto the table b/c there is a chance that it might be the next best dry stout at the competition.  It is poured and tasted against the other 10.  Of those 11, the best one is chosen and it is the 2nd BOS Dry Stout.   Which ever one is chosen as 2nd BOS, you move the beer that was sent underneath it from the same Round 1 judge site up onto the table to make it 11 on the table again.   Then you choose the best one from those 11.   That's 3rd BOS Dry Stout. 

You might find that the top 3 came from the same judge center.  You might find that the top 3 came from all different judge centers, or any combination.  But the root idea is, you don't re-judge all the beers.  You have to trust the Round 1 judging centers to put them in the right order.

This way you could have a BOS style 2nd round for 11 judging centers, up to 30.  11 would be a piece of cake.  I've been on BOS's with 30 beers on the table.  It can be done.  Then you could have 30 Round 1 judge centers.

The argument might be that because of the length of time between the 1st and 2nd round, someone's 2nd or 3rd from Round 1 might age better and end up actually being better for Round 2.  My counter to that is, well what about 4th place, and 5th place?  Maybe they'll be better for Round 2 too, why don't they make it on the Round 2 table.   The beer that wins will have to be the best beer on the table TWICE; Round 1 and Round 2.  THAT beer deserves the BOS. 

Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #198 on: March 05, 2013, 09:08:05 AM »
interesting concept. 
Many including me have suggested that only first and second or only first place First Round beers advance to the Final Round, and your idea does avoid the problem of 2nd/3rd best in a region also being 2nd/3rd best in Final Round and missing out.
What I think would happen is few silver first round medalists would bother to ship their entries to the second round knowing there was only a 9% chance their beer would even be opened, and couldn't get higher than Silver.  Bronze would be even more sparsely represented.

But I do not see a way around it.  The interest in the first round competition is larger than we can accomodate (does anyone doubt that if we can fill 11 regions in an hour or so that we could easily fill twice that?), and with a Conference that sells out in 24 hours only so many judges can make it there.  Maybe we get hundreds of new high ranked judges but the problem now is access more than willingness to help IMO.

Personally I'd drop the limit to 10 entries, have site pre-registration before entry registration, let volunteers from the previous year register a day early, raise the number of first round regions to whatever Janis can support and retain sanity, and only allow gold medal First Round beers to advance.  Tough luck silver/bronze; do better next year.  I'd like to have a way to reward the current year's volunteers with access but we'd have the problem of someone not showing up to judging and having some ugly penalty system.

I'd also consider a pre-registration day where every AHA member had a shot at entering one beer...if the competition fills up before everyone has a chance, too bad.  If not, the following day it opens to everyone to enter more beers and to non-members.

Incidently tmsnyder, did you get registered into the system a week ago?  I know you didn't get beers in.  I keep hearing of e-mails to those that registered but were caught in the gridlock being allowed to fill up the remainder of the competition spots.  Just curious.

cheers--
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #199 on: March 05, 2013, 09:25:00 AM »
Tough luck silver/bronze; do better next year. 
Isn't it conceivable (Wallace Shawn voice inserted) that a silver and bronze in one region could be a better beer than all the golds in the other regions? 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 09:31:31 AM by theDarkSide »
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #200 on: March 05, 2013, 09:37:37 AM »
Tough luck silver/bronze; do better next year. 
Isn't conceivable (Wallace Shawn voice inserted) that a silver and bronze in one region could be a better beer than all the golds in the other regions?

absolutely, and it has happened, but we have to cut it off somewhere.  I don't think anyone wants three rounds, and we have desire to grow the first round beyond 8250 and a limit on how big the Final Round can be.  Something has to give.  As stated elsewhere who is to say that 4th place is not the best in the Final Round?  If we have twice as many first round regions and invite G/S/B from each, we still have to organize twice as many Final Round entries as now.  We have to treat them as if the bottles would be opened, but with tmsnyder's suggestion we wouldn't open the majority of entries.  It's a lot of work for beer that isn't going to leave the box.  On the plus side of his suggestion only Gold would have to send in more than 1 bottle, and no one more than two, to the Final Round.
Obviously if there were a perfect solution it would have already been suggested.   :-\ 

cheers--
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Offline bbkf

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #201 on: March 05, 2013, 09:37:40 AM »
how much money would the AHA save by NOT printing out those certificates for first round beers that get some score above 20? 

btw, I throw those things in the garbage before i even read the scoresheets.



In fact, don't even send out ribbons to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers. 

Use that money to promote the well being of the first round judging.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #202 on: March 05, 2013, 09:44:12 AM »
how much money would the AHA save by NOT printing out those certificates for first round beers that get some score above 20? 

btw, I throw those things in the garbage before i even read the scoresheets.



In fact, don't even send out ribbons to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers. 

Use that money to promote the well being of the first round judging.

Now this I can agree with.  I save my certificates, but definitely don't need them.  Or send them out in email format ( automatically generated from the database to a template ).
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #203 on: March 05, 2013, 09:44:59 AM »
Tough luck silver/bronze; do better next year. 
Isn't it conceivable (Wallace Shawn voice inserted) that a silver and bronze in one region could be a better beer than all the golds in the other regions?

Yes, look at the mead categories last year, the St. Paul club cleaned up, I assume those were from the same judging center.

Jeff Carlson swept one of the cider categories one year not so long ago.

I know one guy who won gold with a first round 2nd, and another that won gold with a first round third.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #204 on: March 05, 2013, 09:52:18 AM »
 
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.

Tom Schmidlin

Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #205 on: March 05, 2013, 10:00:22 AM »
yeah, scratch some of what I said.

Just looking briefly at a few categories for 2012:
Gold medal Cat 24 was Silver in its First Round region.
St Paul swept Cat 26; those guys are awesome and it wouldn't really be fair for Steve Fletty to have gone home without the Silver and Bronze medals.
The eventual Gold and Silver medals in Cat 3 were Silver and Bronze in the first round.

there are many other examples.  It is clear that the first round is more about access than accolades.  I hope NHC judges are really sure of those decisions on 3rd/4th place in the first round...

cheers--
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« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 10:15:31 AM by udubdawg »

Offline gsandel

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #206 on: March 05, 2013, 10:00:38 AM »
Maybe it is also time to split out Mead and Cider to their own Nationals (their second round could still be at the conference) as they have their own qualified judges (and folks that are qualified to judge both mead/cider and beer could judge at both if they wanted instead of having to choose).

I mean no disrespect to mead/cider, if they were at a different time I might want to steward to learn more about them....as I am barely qualified to open these beverages let alone taste one.  they are just specialized catagories.
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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #207 on: March 05, 2013, 10:43:19 AM »
That means that if you limit judges to three flights of 12 beers, you still only need 77 judges for the second round.

Wouldn't that be 231 judges, since you need 3 per flight?
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #208 on: March 05, 2013, 11:14:19 AM »
few more stats from last year:

Only categories swept by first round gold winners were Fruit Beer and S/H/V.  Maybe Cat 18 too but the first round page for Chicago is broken so can't check.

Multiple categories had no Gold Medal first round winners.  Both Stout and American Ale were swept by beers judged as the second best in the first round.  Cat 3 finished S,B,B and Cat 5 finished B,S,B.

of the 27 categories I can see, 13 categories were won by first round gold winners, 9 by silvers, and 5 were won by bronze winners. 

of 84 Final Round medals, the total winning first round gold appears to be in the low 30's.

...I cannot come to any conclusion other than that we need to try keep allowing the top 3 to advance.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 11:16:39 AM by udubdawg »

Offline phunhog

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #209 on: March 05, 2013, 11:27:04 AM »
It is my understanding that the NHC competition is a revenue neutral program for the AHA. In other words.....they don't make any money on it. All proceeds go to pay Janis' salary and other competition related expenses. If the entry fees went up I could see several positive effects. First off the AHA could lower the annual membership dues, thus bringing in more new members. This will increase the presence of the AHA and help in its' lobbying efforts (this should be the number one goal of the AHA IMO).  The additional money raised could also be used to hire some more staff to help run the NHC comp and maybe kickdown some additional money to the judging sites. Sweeten the pot if you will.  It just seems a shame for the AHA to be sitting on a goldmine of potential revenue that could be used to strengthen OUR membership and not take advantage of it. Essentially use the NHC comp as a fundraiser for the AHA!!