Author Topic: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?  (Read 44721 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #240 on: July 04, 2013, 09:37:29 AM »
I think this is a good idea.  Can we count on it?

I hope so.  I'll see if I can get comments from Jake.

Since the need for a nap interfered with my going to the members meeting (getting old), is there a summary posted for members not in the room?
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Offline denny

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #241 on: July 04, 2013, 09:41:52 AM »
I think this is a good idea.  Can we count on it?

I hope so.  I'll see if I can get comments from Jake.

Since the need for a nap interfered with my going to the members meeting (getting old), is there a summary posted for members not in the room?

Not as far as I know, Jeff.  I'd like to see one, too, since I also wasn't there.  Let's see what Jake has to say.  Maybe he can cover both the GC and members meetings.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #242 on: July 05, 2013, 05:47:28 AM »
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.

My suggestion is only the top two entries from each region move to the big show. (I'd actually suggest it be only one, but the natives might go crazy.) The problem as I see it is from each region you get one good to great entry, a lesser and a lesser. So one worth making the trip and two which really should have stayed back on the bench. I judged two flights of 11 and had 3 in one flight worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS and only 2 in the other worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS.

If the entries were cut by that third place entry in each region it would alleviate having to handle 1/3 of the entries which is not just a handful of bottles.

I know some would contend X region or Y region makes better beer and all three should advance, but sitting at the final round judging table and giving a low score is not how I really want to spend my time. I don't mind assisting a brewer with a flawed brew in making better beer, but I shouldn't have to detail that at the final round of judging. My $0.02.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #243 on: July 05, 2013, 06:41:30 AM »
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.

My suggestion is only the top two entries from each region move to the big show. (I'd actually suggest it be only one, but the natives might go crazy.) The problem as I see it is from each region you get one good to great entry, a lesser and a lesser. So one worth making the trip and two which really should have stayed back on the bench. I judged two flights of 11 and had 3 in one flight worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS and only 2 in the other worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS.

If the entries were cut by that third place entry in each region it would alleviate having to handle 1/3 of the entries which is not just a handful of bottles.

I know some would contend X region or Y region makes better beer and all three should advance, but sitting at the final round judging table and giving a low score is not how I really want to spend my time. I don't mind assisting a brewer with a flawed brew in making better beer, but I shouldn't have to detail that at the final round of judging. My $0.02.

In a perfect world, only the first place would be needed. How many times has a third place first round beer medaled in the second round? The friend setting next to me at the ceremony got a Silver for for his 3rd place first round beer. Can you guess where my entry in the first round placed in the same first round site?

Edit - this was Jim's first National medal, and we were all happy for him.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 06:51:53 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #244 on: July 05, 2013, 06:48:05 AM »
My suggestion is only the top two entries from each region move to the big show. (I'd actually suggest it be only one, but the natives might go crazy.) The problem as I see it is from each region you get one good to great entry, a lesser and a lesser. So one worth making the trip and two which really should have stayed back on the bench. I judged two flights of 11 and had 3 in one flight worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS and only 2 in the other worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS.

Alternatively, implement a minimum score needed to advance to the final round. - But honestly, that's probably a small part of the problem. I think past winners should automatically get to enter as many beers as they want the next year. This will ensure high quality entries from the best brewers. All other slots should be assigned by lottery to keep the open feel.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #245 on: July 05, 2013, 06:52:57 AM »
My suggestion is only the top two entries from each region move to the big show. (I'd actually suggest it be only one, but the natives might go crazy.) The problem as I see it is from each region you get one good to great entry, a lesser and a lesser. So one worth making the trip and two which really should have stayed back on the bench. I judged two flights of 11 and had 3 in one flight worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS and only 2 in the other worthy of advancing to a mini-BOS.

Alternatively, implement a minimum score needed to advance to the final round. - But honestly, that's probably a small part of the problem. I think past winners should automatically get to enter as many beers as they want the next year. This will ensure high quality entries from the best brewers. All other slots should be assigned by lottery to keep the open feel.
Isn't a 30 the minimum right now?
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #246 on: July 05, 2013, 07:05:29 AM »

Alternatively, implement a minimum score needed to advance to the final round. - But honestly, that's probably a small part of the problem. I think past winners should automatically get to enter as many beers as they want the next year. This will ensure high quality entries from the best brewers. All other slots should be assigned by lottery to keep the open feel.
Isn't a 30 the minimum right now?
I think so - I really meant raise it. Maybe to 35? I don't know, it's arbitrary - I don't like arbitrary. I'd rather ensure that great brewers get to enter and let the beer speak for itself.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #247 on: July 05, 2013, 07:48:17 AM »
I'm good with 3 entries advance if all go above 35. It may force judges to smack a finger to decide if the 34 moves up to a 35, but it should keep me from having to choke down and evaluate a beer which is awful even when you pull another bottle to double check. I suspect time was not on the entrant's side. ;)
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #248 on: July 05, 2013, 07:56:11 AM »
What is the point of raising the lower limit to 35 if scoring is arbitrary and if time can degrade entries?

What if a set of judges scores higher than everyone around them, and they're judging an IIPA. You will the score meet the criteria provided, but when the brewer doesn't rebrew it, you're still drinking a 4 month old IIPA at the final round of NHC.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #249 on: July 05, 2013, 09:44:02 AM »
We could really use some stats...

For instance, how many 30-34 point entries would have been cut out of the Final Round if the First Round lower limit was raised to 35?  How many 30-34 eventually got a medal in this or any Final Round?  I know my APA got to mini-BOS in the First Round despite only a 33.

Also, we often hear a suggestion to limit entries to AHA members.  How many non-members pay the $17/entry to enter?  Are they a significant portion, or does cutting them out not give many additional spots to members?

How many brewers entered the maximum of 15 entries?   
etc, etc.

I will say that with 190+ judges in the morning session doing 23 beer categories and only 5 meads/ciders after lunch there appears to be room to grow the Final Round number of entries.  (I'm ignoring for the moment whether Janis can maintain sanity with a bigger comp...)  I would suggest that with further growth we'll need 4 teams of judges on each category rather than the current 3, but there appeared to be sufficient judges to do so this year.  Shorter flights would be welcome.

Offline dbeechum

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #250 on: July 05, 2013, 10:43:22 AM »
The ones I think I can answer from the data I've seen.

190+ judges in the finals so far is an aberration. So, I wouldn't count on that staying at that level.

The number of entries from non-AHA members was tiny, like 0.1% of the entries. (We asked about this in the GC and it was very very tiny, basically a rounding error)

 
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #251 on: July 05, 2013, 10:51:40 AM »
Participation by highly qualified judges is what makes the NHC work. Getting those judges into seats at the various competitions is a critical effort. 

I noticed a recommendation for judges to get a pre-registration slot for the next year's competition.  That is a no-cost incentive that AHA can provide judges and it is something that is reasonable.  Those judges have already spent hundreds of dollars in some cases to support the judging.  Another no-cost incentive for judges is to give them a pre-registration slot for the conference too.  Both of these options are no-cost to AHA, but will require a bit of bookkeeping.  This shouldn't be a big deal and given the exclusivity of these registrations, they could be STRONG incentives.

I do worry about the qualifications of the judges at the NHC and the potential for the opportunity for pre-registration to be abused or 'not effectively' used to get highly qualified judges in the seats.  Therefore, I suggest that a certain number of pre-registration slots be allotted to each first round center with the competition organizer having the discretion of awarding the slots to judges, but it would generally be the highest ranking judges receiving those slots.  This also provides the competition organizer a stick (or carrot) to make sure that judges are providing good feedback.  At the BJCP meeting in Philly, we lamented the fact that even highly-ranked judges can sometimes provide poor feedback.  This is a tool that the competition organizer might use at their discretion.   

Although the NHC is one of the highest entry cost competitions, its the de-facto highest competition in the land and it should not be a surprise that it is more costly to run.  The 2 rounds also increase costs.  I am not embarrassed to have the entry fees higher than other comps.  Raising this year's entry fee was a good move and it appears that another small increase to improve the support judges receive at the first round centers would be welcome.  Those judges are spending a lot to participate and they get little from it other than the satisfaction of a job well done and comradery.   

Its been several years since my last NHC entry, but I would hope that AHA membership counts for something.  I'm hoping that AHA membership is a requirement for early registration to any AHA-run event.  Like they say, 'Membership has its privileges'.  There is no reason why a non-AHA member should have a greater opportunity to register for our events than a member.  Again, a pre-registration opportunity for AHA members should be a consideration. 

Finally, the number of entries per person is currently excessive.  My review of the recent Ninkasi winners shows that no winner had more than 4 or 5 placings.  This year and last, the winners each had 2 first places.  There is no need to allow up to 15 entries into the NHC.  I suggest that 5 might be the proper entry limit.

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Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #252 on: July 05, 2013, 11:13:36 AM »
Thanks Drew.
really appreciate it.  I suspected non-member entries were not a significant number so thanks for confirming.  I think the more information like this people have the better the inevitable suggestions for improvement will be.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #253 on: July 05, 2013, 05:53:22 PM »
Participation by highly qualified judges is what makes the NHC work. Getting those judges into seats at the various competitions is a critical effort. 

I noticed a recommendation for judges to get a pre-registration slot for the next year's competition.  That is a no-cost incentive that AHA can provide judges and it is something that is reasonable.  Those judges have already spent hundreds of dollars in some cases to support the judging.  Another no-cost incentive for judges is to give them a pre-registration slot for the conference too.  Both of these options are no-cost to AHA, but will require a bit of bookkeeping.  This shouldn't be a big deal and given the exclusivity of these registrations, they could be STRONG incentives.8

I do worry about the qualifications of the judges at the NHC and the potential for the opportunity for pre-registration to be abused or 'not effectively' used to get highly qualified judges in the seats.  Therefore, I suggest that a certain number of pre-registration slots be allotted to each first round center with the competition organizer having the discretion of awarding the slots to judges, but it would generally be the highest ranking judges receiving those slots.  This also provides the competition organizer a stick (or carrot) to make sure that judges are providing good feedback.  At the BJCP meeting in Philly, we lamented the fact that even highly-ranked judges can sometimes provide poor feedback.  This is a tool that the competition organizer might use at their discretion.   

Although the NHC is one of the highest entry cost competitions, its the de-facto highest competition in the land and it should not be a surprise that it is more costly to run.  The 2 rounds also increase costs.  I am not embarrassed to have the entry fees higher than other comps.  Raising this year's entry fee was a good move and it appears that another small increase to improve the support judges receive at the first round centers would be welcome.  Those judges are spending a lot to participate and they get little from it other than the satisfaction of a job well done and comradery.   

Its been several years since my last NHC entry, but I would hope that AHA membership counts for something.  I'm hoping that AHA membership is a requirement for early registration to any AHA-run event.  Like they say, 'Membership has its privileges'.  There is no reason why a non-AHA member should have a greater opportunity to register for our events than a member.  Again, a pre-registration opportunity for AHA members should be a consideration. 

Finally, the number of entries per person is currently excessive.  My review of the recent Ninkasi winners shows that no winner had more than 4 or 5 placings.  This year and last, the winners each had 2 first places.  There is no need to allow up to 15 entries into the NHC.  I suggest that 5 might be the proper entry limit.

Enjoy!
Maybe David can say how many he had in the first round.

Edit - he had 4 advance from the first round, by my quick count.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 06:23:23 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #254 on: July 06, 2013, 06:19:33 AM »
picking my 5 favorites would be brutal.  Picking 8 this year was bad enough!   ;D
as there aren't enough slots for everyone I hope the limit isn't reduced too drastically. 

one more thing...
190+ judges may be an aberration, but then again we're talking about a conference that was almost the size the previous two largest put together...
if the number of judges as a percentage of attendees hasn't changed much then I don't think this year's judge turnout will prove to be an aberration at all.

we're all agreed that the days of small conferences are over, right?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 06:23:13 AM by udubdawg »