Author Topic: Are some sites more competitive  (Read 2297 times)

Offline spaterson

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Are some sites more competitive
« on: March 19, 2016, 03:30:43 PM »
I saw a few post in a recent thread of General Homebrew Discussion that said Indy is a tough region to win.  Are there really any NHC comp sites that are to your advantage?  Like more or less competitive??? Please, I am not trying to stir the pot, but are brewers in the mid-west better than say the southwest,west coast, east?  Or is it that more brewers jump on the "first to judge" city, because of the re-brew thing?  Is it brewing weather thing?

This is my third year to compete at NHC.  This year I put in for San Diego because someone in our club could drive the entries.  I was moved to St Louis so my "shipped entries" are being judged this weekend.  Last year I drove my first-round entries to San Diego and the year before that I a friend drove our entries to Denver.  I hope my results are not based on hand delivered vs shipped.

So three years and three cities.  I guess I'll know in a week or so!  I really like this competition and the anticipation of the results.  My heart was literally pounding out of my chest when the results of my categories came up at the NHC Finals in Grand Rapids and San Diego.  Unfortunately, I can't make it to Baltimore this year.  I hope that is not a bad omen as here is are my past results:

2014 - First round 1st place Euro Amber Lager
2015 - First round 1st place Pilsner and Fruit; Silver for the Fruit at the Finals
2016 - First round ?

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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2016, 05:50:11 PM »
Other than St Paul with Mead, and a few other small pockets of elite talent, I don't think any region is CONSISTENTLY harder than others. But in a given year some are definitely harder in some categories than others. Not sure I've ever seen an amateur comp with 32 Pilseners before, for instance.  If I'd known that would happen I'd likely have a picked another region as that entry was by far the most important to me. But you can never tell how popular a category will be.

Full regions vs not full can make a difference too; I believe STL had almost 200 fewer entries than the biggest region last year?

Finally it matters who is in the region with you. Both other entrants and the skill/exp/workload of the judge pool. I knew Sandy had a lot of judges coming and even had Gary Awdey judging cider so it was an easy choice made easier as it was early region/can concentrate on other things now.


Offline ethinson

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2016, 07:59:54 PM »
In theory all of the sites will have about the same total number of entries (700-750) because they try to spread them around, but if you look at the results you cans see some trends as far as categories.  The west coast sites tend to have more IPAs.  Also some styles are easier to brew than others.  Light Hybrid and Amber Hybrid are usually pretty small.  Smoke and wood aged are pretty small etc.  I entered a California Common because it was cold enough for me to brew one this year and Seattle last year only had 6 entries in California Common.

I think all of the sites are going to be pretty much the same to be honest, they are huge comps and they draw a huge number of ranked judges to each site.  So from a judging standpoint, I'd imagine if you sent the same beer to two different sites you get very similar results.  As with all comps no matter where you are, a 39 point beer could be third place or 10th.  You never know.

I can't find the link now, but there was a chart someone put together that was your chances to advance based on styles and locations, but it considers simply the number of entries.  So, 3 of 6 is a 50% chance, 3 of 50 is a 6% chance etc.  Obviously this is going to change every year. 
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2016, 08:31:14 PM »
Yeah, I have found that it really does change not only year to year, but site to site as well. Some sites will have more entries making it more difficult to get through to the final round.  Some sites will have higher numbers of entries in random categories and lower numbers in others.  It really is a crap shoot.  You just hope to send your best work in and cross your fingers.

Offline braufessor

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 03:13:35 AM »
Yep - I agree.  There are certainly differences in entries from one regional to the next  in regard to total number and overall quality.  The problem is that it seen there is really no predictable consistency to that.  From one year to the next is really is hard to tell which specific style may be more or less successful from on region to the next.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 03:40:43 PM »
Yep - I agree.  There are certainly differences in entries from one regional to the next  in regard to total number and overall quality.  The problem is that it seen there is really no predictable consistency to that.  From one year to the next is really is hard to tell which specific style may be more or less successful from on region to the next.

Exactly what I have observed. Especially involving numbers of entries in each category. One year at one site there could be 13 amber european lagers and the next year 23. While another site only has 10.

Offline spaterson

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2016, 03:50:37 AM »
Yeah, I have found that it really does change not only year to year, but site to site as well. Some sites will have more entries making it more difficult to get through to the final round.  Some sites will have higher numbers of entries in random categories and lower numbers in others.  It really is a crap shoot.  You just hope to send your best work in and cross your fingers.

So from what I gathered by most responses, for the most part, the various NHC 1st round regions, will vary in number of entries in each styles from year to year.  Which then led me to look randomly look at 1st,2nd, & 3rd place 1st round results from 2013-2015 and I came to the following conclusions:

1. The majority of entrants submit to the nearest region site. 
2. BJCP 2008 styles 10,13,14 & 16 get the most entries. (You better bring your A game, don't just grab some bottles from the back of the fridge)
3. Other styles seem to be random.

My original post was really only trying to find out if #1 above, really has any effect on results.   Is UPS or FedEx a factor?   There is not many brewers in Chicago area placing in say San Diego or Seattle.  California brewers are not winning in New York.   I think that stat result is statistically base on shipping cost. I do see that some brewers outside a local region "do win in a remote region" .... so yes, this is a brewing competition and brewing skills do/must seem to count for something, right???  It can't be a total crap shoot?

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Offline jvoeltz

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2016, 05:20:19 PM »
It can't be a total crap shoot?

This won't be a popular opinion, but I believe it is a near total crap shoot...

My goal used to be final round medals as validation of making world class brews. Then, more realistically it was final round mini-BOS'. Then, I lowered my standards to first round medals.

But now, validation of making working class brews for me is mini-BOS appearances in the First Round. After that, it's a bunch of luck and judges preferences. (Like I said, I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion...)

The competition is so huge with so many quality brewers, I don't believe there's an advantage/disadvantage of entering different regions, except in the rare cases where regions don't get 4+ entries for a category (or San Diego in 2014 where they had something like ~91 IPA entries in the first round!)


Offline ethinson

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2016, 06:11:48 PM »
It can't be a total crap shoot?

This won't be a popular opinion, but I believe it is a near total crap shoot...

My goal used to be final round medals as validation of making world class brews. Then, more realistically it was final round mini-BOS'. Then, I lowered my standards to first round medals.

But now, validation of making working class brews for me is mini-BOS appearances in the First Round. After that, it's a bunch of luck and judges preferences. (Like I said, I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion...)

The competition is so huge with so many quality brewers, I don't believe there's an advantage/disadvantage of entering different regions, except in the rare cases where regions don't get 4+ entries for a category (or San Diego in 2014 where they had something like ~91 IPA entries in the first round!)

I was told once that winning medals is about having the "Right beer, with the right judge, at the right time".  Since you don't know you're judge or your competition it is random to a certain extent.

How do you find out if you made a mini bos?
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2016, 06:13:15 PM »

This won't be a popular opinion, but I believe it is a near total crap shoot.

If you can GET to the Finals I think the results there are legit. But I do tend to agree with the statement as far as first round goes. 

I mean, if I call something my best beer ever, and strongly considered entering the same delicious 16 month old Vienna this year, yet it scored my lowest score of all time a year ago? What else can I say BUT crapshoot? Even the one entry I moved on last year had terrible scoresheets showing no cider knowledge. The more experienced people we can get to judge the better, but it'll always have a non-zero crapshoot quotient.

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2016, 06:32:17 PM »
How do you find out if you made a mini bos?
It should be marked on your scoresheet if it went on to mini-BOS.  Also, I think I remember seeing note of it when they post the results in the competition software (www.brewingcompetition.com)
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Offline toby

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2016, 06:42:03 PM »
As several have said, some sites are more competitive in certain categories on any given year, but I haven't seen anyone try to reliably predict which categories those are going to be.  For example, I know last year in Austin one of the cider categories had very few entries (I think only one advanced), but I'm not sure if anyone was going to try and enter there specifically because they were hoping it would happen again.  Most people choose sites because of geographic proximity, so you would need to know what people in the region were prone to entering.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2016, 07:06:12 PM »
It can't be a total crap shoot?

This won't be a popular opinion, but I believe it is a near total crap shoot...

My goal used to be final round medals as validation of making world class brews. Then, more realistically it was final round mini-BOS'. Then, I lowered my standards to first round medals.

But now, validation of making working class brews for me is mini-BOS appearances in the First Round. After that, it's a bunch of luck and judges preferences. (Like I said, I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion...)

The competition is so huge with so many quality brewers, I don't believe there's an advantage/disadvantage of entering different regions, except in the rare cases where regions don't get 4+ entries for a category (or San Diego in 2014 where they had something like ~91 IPA entries in the first round!)

+1.  I am just psyched to get at least one entry through to the final round every year.  After that, it is all crossing my fingers and hoping for the best (which has not happened for me yet).

But wouldn't that be nice to enter a judging site and category with only 3 entries!  You better make sure your beer scores higher than a 30 in those instances!!

Offline golfgod04

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2016, 09:00:09 PM »
seems like the only way to even off the categories in each first round site is that when you apply for the NHC, you'd have to specify what categories you want to enter.  That way they can accept a specific number for each category at each first round site. 

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Are some sites more competitive
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2016, 10:14:25 PM »
I judged three sessions at Seattle this past weekend. About 33 beers that I scored. And sat at two mini-BOS tables, both lead by noteworthy Grand Masters. We saw no "World Class" beers (45-50 point). The highest score I gave was 40 and my partner gave it a 36 if I recall. The two 1st place mini-BOS beers were 35-39 point beers in my opinion.

I dont know what all that means, its just what I saw.

Crap shoot... I would agree that it could be a sort of crap shoot between 1st place and 2nd. Maybe all three places at times. Ive not judged any flight where out of 10-12 beers any of the bunch could randomly move on to mini-BOS ie crap shoot. Of 12 there might be two or three deserving a mini-BOS look, or there might not be. So in my view, merely entering NHC does not get you in the crap shoot. You need to clearly be among the top 2 or 3 beers in that category. Then you might be in a crap shoot.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 10:17:19 PM by klickitat jim »