This was the first time I entered a brewing contest, so I have a newbee question. I entered an Imperial Stout in the Northwest region and scored a 43.5 and on the cover sheet, the box that says "This beer advanced to a mini-BOS round", is checked. In the results for Northwest region, Cat 13, I did not advance, however it lists 43.5 (same score as mine) as the top score for the category. Does this mean there were multiple scores of 43.5 and I just lost out in the BOS round? I'm really bummed that I didn't make it in to the finals.
Hi Dan (?),
Thanks for entering the 2010 National Homebrew Competition!
Category 13 in the Northwest Region had 44 entries, so there were probably 4 flights. Each flight judges and scores their entries and then pick the top 3 scoring above 30 points to advance to the mini-best of show (BOS). In the NHC, all beers judged higher than 30 are given a T-stopper to recap the entry for the mini-BOS, and then they are stored until the mini-BOS. During the mini-BOS, the top judges from the four flights judge the 12 beers (in this case) without looking at scores, and then they place the beers based on their merits as best exemplifying the style. In some cases, a beer that scored very high during the initial judging, for whatever reason, will not hold up as well for the mini-BOS. Another possibility is that the judges in your flight were scoring beers higher than the judges in the other flights, so while your beer scored well, it might not have been as good as the top 9 beers from the other flights. Viewed this way, the mini-BOS acts as a tool to even out the judges biases in categories with a large number of entries.
I know how disappointing this end result must be for you; I had a super high-scoring mead that didn’t place in one competition. On the one hand, I was elated with the score, and on the other it was incredibly frustrating that it didn’t even place. I’m sure you’re experiencing something very similar. Sorry for the news.
National Homebrew Competition Director
AHA Project Coordinatorjanis@brewersassociation.org