Author Topic: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?  (Read 40412 times)

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #255 on: July 06, 2013, 06:26:52 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?
Next year is to be a little bigger. Unless the hobby and AHA membership shrink, big conferences and convention centers are here to stay.


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Offline dbarber

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #256 on: July 06, 2013, 02:28:41 PM »
I had 14 beers in the first round.  I find that usually 30% of my beers move to the 2nd round and maybe another 30% may medal.  I think if we limit the number of first round entries to 5 you will end up with a lot of brewers tied for the Ninkasi with 1 gold medal.

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.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #257 on: July 06, 2013, 03:06:22 PM »
I had 14 beers in the first round.  I find that usually 30% of my beers move to the 2nd round and maybe another 30% may medal.  I think if we limit the number of first round entries to 5 you will end up with a lot of brewers tied for the Ninkasi with 1 gold medal.

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.

That is the Gordon Strong 1/3 advance rule in action. Thanks for the reply, David.

There is the issue, do you reduce the number of entrees to a small number and have many tie for the Ninkasi, or do you just eliminate the Ninkasi? The Competition Committe has some tough decisions to make.
 

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Offline MDixon

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #258 on: July 07, 2013, 12:32:42 PM »
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.

There was a smiley after the time statement for a reason, it was a cider and it was awful as was the second bottle. Cider is generally not something which goes south in a short period of time.

IME a 4 month old IIPA should not be past it's prime unless it is marketed by Stone.

Sure a 35 might be arbitrary for a particular judge set. In an ideal world in the first round each judge team would have a BJCP judge on the panel, but often that judge may not be the most experienced and I typically find new judges either score extremely low or on the high end. I still feel moving the bar up would help alleviate having entries show up with no business in the final round.

At any rate, a judge should not be experiencing a 20 or less at the June final round, especially if the beer scored 30+ in April.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #259 on: July 07, 2013, 12:54:25 PM »

There was a smiley after the time statement for a reason, it was a cider and it was awful as was the second bottle. Cider is generally not something which goes south in a short period of time.

IME a 4 month old IIPA should not be past it's prime unless it is marketed by Stone.

Sure a 35 might be arbitrary for a particular judge set. In an ideal world in the first round each judge team would have a BJCP judge on the panel, but often that judge may not be the most experienced and I typically find new judges either score extremely low or on the high end. I still feel moving the bar up would help alleviate having entries show up with no business in the final round.

At any rate, a judge should not be experiencing a 20 or less at the June final round, especially if the beer scored 30+ in April.

just in case that was mine, I effed up the blend on my two Final Round ciders when I got in a hurry, sorry.  Dropped from 43/40 First Round to upper 20's/low 30's.  Though it sounds like you encountered something even worse...

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #260 on: July 07, 2013, 01:27:58 PM »
At any rate, a judge should not be experiencing a 20 or less at the June final round, especially if the beer scored 30+ in April.

The first time I judged final round was in Orlando with you.  We judged bocks.  I recall both of us saying how disappointed we were in the overall quality of them.
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Offline Siamese Moose

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #261 on: July 07, 2013, 02:27:51 PM »
At any rate, a judge should not be experiencing a 20 or less at the June final round, especially if the beer scored 30+ in April.

I judged light hybrids in San Diego, and gave out more sub-20 scores than above 30. I gave a couple of Kolsch's 15 or lower. My experience indicates one reason beers in the second round can be so bad - many of the beers were clearly cooked! We're talking orange here. I'm guessing they went by truck through the southwest on their way to San Diego. For anybody shipping cross-country in the summer I can easily see issues.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #262 on: July 08, 2013, 05:25:09 AM »
I had 14 beers in the first round.  I find that usually 30% of my beers move to the 2nd round and maybe another 30% may medal.  I think if we limit the number of first round entries to 5 you will end up with a lot of brewers tied for the Ninkasi with 1 gold medal.

Congratulations on your medals and Ninkasi, and to your club for the Gambrinus award.  We were a table away from you and it was cool to see how excited everyone got!!
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #263 on: July 08, 2013, 05:53:52 AM »
At any rate, a judge should not be experiencing a 20 or less at the June final round, especially if the beer scored 30+ in April.

The first time I judged final round was in Orlando with you.  We judged bocks.  I recall both of us saying how disappointed we were in the overall quality of them.

As a data point, I hand delivered my entries (assistant organizer, so I just walked them to the cooler) in KC. I entered 4 beers and advanced 2. 50%, not bad right? Anyway, I have a "clone" of Boulevard's Saison-Brett, a beer you likely cannot get outside of the Midwest. I enter it in 16E with the description, "Saison with dregs from Boulevard's Saison-Brett". In the Midwest, it cleans up in competition. At a recent comp, Stan H. commented something to the effect of "Excellent beer, the brewers at Boulevard would be happy to know that this is how their beers are being used." It placed first at the KC NHC Regional over 68 entries in Belgian & French.

It got a 30 in Philly. It averages a 40.3 in the comps it's been to here in the Midwest.

Perhaps it's a combination of shipping times/heat, regional knowledge and a bit of voodoo? FWIW, I judged at the 2012 finals and was surprised at the lack of really great beer as well.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #264 on: July 08, 2013, 06:03:45 AM »
At any rate, a judge should not be experiencing a 20 or less at the June final round, especially if the beer scored 30+ in April.

The first time I judged final round was in Orlando with you.  We judged bocks.  I recall both of us saying how disappointed we were in the overall quality of them.

As a data point, I hand delivered my entries (assistant organizer, so I just walked them to the cooler) in KC. I entered 4 beers and advanced 2. 50%, not bad right? Anyway, I have a "clone" of Boulevard's Saison-Brett, a beer you likely cannot get outside of the Midwest. I enter it in 16E with the description, "Saison with dregs from Boulevard's Saison-Brett". In the Midwest, it cleans up in competition. At a recent comp, Stan H. commented something to the effect of "Excellent beer, the brewers at Boulevard would be happy to know that this is how their beers are being used." It placed first at the KC NHC Regional over 68 entries in Belgian & French.

It got a 30 in Philly. It averages a 40.3 in the comps it's been to here in the Midwest.

Perhaps it's a combination of shipping times/heat, regional knowledge and a bit of voodoo? FWIW, I judged at the 2012 finals and was surprised at the lack of really great beer as well.
I always see, or think I see, a larger amount of winners from the region the conference is in. My thinking is that the beers from farther areas get beat up in shipping. No statistical proof of this, but it seems that way.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #265 on: July 08, 2013, 06:54:06 AM »
I agree with Jeff's comment.  Shipping clearly damages beer and those beers traveling the farthest are more likely to suffer.  In the case of long-distance shipping, air freight might need to be a prerequisite if a brewer is interested in good results at the second round.   
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Offline MDixon

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #266 on: July 08, 2013, 07:01:28 AM »

As a data point, I hand delivered my entries (assistant organizer, so I just walked them to the cooler) in KC. I entered 4 beers and advanced 2. 50%, not bad right? Anyway, I have a "clone" of Boulevard's Saison-Brett, a beer you likely cannot get outside of the Midwest. I enter it in 16E with the description, "Saison with dregs from Boulevard's Saison-Brett". In the Midwest, it cleans up in competition. At a recent comp, Stan H. commented something to the effect of "Excellent beer, the brewers at Boulevard would be happy to know that this is how their beers are being used." It placed first at the KC NHC Regional over 68 entries in Belgian & French.

It got a 30 in Philly. It averages a 40.3 in the comps it's been to here in the Midwest.


I have no idea if the judges in Philly were all from different areas or the same area who evaluated your beer. We get the Boulevard brews in NC, but I don't know if we get that one, I will have to look for it. As you know any 16E or 23 category is a crapshoot. If the judges don't have knowledge of the beers in 16E then the beer just won't take high marks. I seem to recall I did an Oerbier clone once upon a time. At that time most of the people in our area had probably never tasted the beer. It scored well, but not as well as it should have. Doesn't matter, I drank it and enjoyed it immensely.

Handling could be an issue with certain beers, but I've judged at several NHCs and the entries as a whole never shine bright. There are always standouts, but the vast majority just aren't better than average. In the final round they should be better than average!

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #267 on: July 08, 2013, 07:59:29 AM »
I agree with Jeff's comment.  Shipping clearly damages beer and those beers traveling the farthest are more likely to suffer.  In the case of long-distance shipping, air freight might need to be a prerequisite if a brewer is interested in good results at the second round.
I used 2 day air to get my second round beers to San Diego. It was pricey, but it paid off, I think.

Here is some unscientific data. SD had one one medal go to someone from MI. Seattle had 1. Philly had 5. It is more likely that the beer was in better condition due to less shipping deterioration than those brewers getting much better over a years time.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #268 on: July 08, 2013, 08:17:19 AM »
I agree with Jeff's comment.  Shipping clearly damages beer and those beers traveling the farthest are more likely to suffer.  In the case of long-distance shipping, air freight might need to be a prerequisite if a brewer is interested in good results at the second round.

This was what my "data point" was mostly aimed at - shipping. I decided not to do air freight on this one as it was $170 versus $19 to Philly from KC.

I would really like to see some data on NHCs winning entries versus distance from the competition. I think I could spin this info out of the winner's pages, but it would take some time.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: NHC 2013 Entry Problems - Possible Solutions?
« Reply #269 on: July 08, 2013, 08:46:27 AM »
It seems like the issue with ass hot transport of beer would be easily remedied by moving the NHC to start judging in the late winter with the conference in the spring.
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