I was wondering what advancing to the mini BOS means in the first round
Gail covered the concept pretty well, but I thought I'd give a little background information on the mini-BOS concept. (Sorry I didn't see your post earlier.)
In the National Homebrew Competition, if a category has more than 10-12 entries, then it will be judged in 2 or more flights by different sets of judges. In order to remove any personal biases of the different sets of judges involved in a category, the mini-BOS enables the top 3 entries from each flight to be evaluated by the senior ranking judge from each flight. The mini-BOS judging does not re-score each entry, instead they evaluate each entry (without the scores) and chose the top 3 placing entries as those which best exemplify the style. Sometimes when one group of judges has a tendency to score high and another group scores their flight lower, the beers that are picked in the mini-BOS as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entries may not have the highest point total. I know it's disappointing for a brewer with a score sheet matching the Maximum Score for the category to not have their entry place, but that is how it works sometimes.
Anyway, I hope this helps.
National Homebrew Competition Director
AHA Project Coordinatorjanis@brewersassociation.org