Author Topic: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions  (Read 1691 times)

Offline daniel_cerveza

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Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« on: March 03, 2017, 05:50:23 PM »
Thought some of you guys thinking about getting into hombrew competitions might like this:

Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions:

https://www.beersyndicate.com/app/Tutorial/Details/53

Anyone else have any good tips for winning?

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 06:43:22 PM »
Enter lots of competitions.  IME, judging can sometimes be a crap shoot (assuming your beer isn't infected or otherwise off).
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 07:42:43 PM »
You kind of mentioned this one....

When shipping or dropping off entries, be sure to time your bottles to get there (if possible) the VERY last day of entry acceptance. This will help to keep your bottles in the cold of YOUR fridge instead of sitting in someone's hot garage or basement waiting to be organized.

Offline santoch

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 02:56:43 AM »

In my experience, BOS tables are not skewed against lighter styles, at least up here in the PACNW.  Just off the top of my head, I can remember being on BOS panels where we've awarded golds to Am Lager, German Pils, Helles, Kolsch, Weissbier, Mild, ESB, Vienna, and Gueze.  And let's not forget Annie Johnson's NHC winning Light American Lager.  These outstanding beers won against all those big beers because they deserved to win.  IMO, if you brew an excellent light/small beer, you have just as much a chance of winning as any of the big styles.  We shouldn't perpetuate these myths.  Besides, what better way to get folks off the "max lupulin" craze than to hold those unbalanced beers to account and to reward the well crafted beers?   There's so much more to beer than just IBUs and ABVs.

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Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 02:19:53 AM »
Not a bad article, I agree with a lot of that.

I will add to read the rules carefully, every competition is different. And be very careful with shipping.

Offline The Beerery

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 12:19:21 PM »
You kind of mentioned this one....

When shipping or dropping off entries, be sure to time your bottles to get there (if possible) the VERY last day of entry acceptance. This will help to keep your bottles in the cold of YOUR fridge instead of sitting in someone's hot garage or basement waiting to be organized.

Or the first day if you are me...Got give others a fighting chance!  :P :P

I kid, I mean I recently did this to test bottling methods and I happened to win, but yea..  ;D

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2017, 08:51:24 PM »
One more tip - enter the beer that you brewed and not the beer you intended to brew...I have judged good beers that just miss the style as entered that would have been surprisingly better suited to enter into a similar, but different style.

I have adjusted my approach for this, as well as anticipating a judge bias that tends to favor a slightly bigger beer within a category.  It may not be "right", but it is what it is.....
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Offline PharmBrewer

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2017, 02:17:38 PM »
One more tip - enter the beer that you brewed and not the beer you intended to brew...I have judged good beers that just miss the style as entered that would have been surprisingly better suited to enter into a similar, but different style.

I have adjusted my approach for this, as well as anticipating a judge bias that tends to favor a slightly bigger beer within a category.  It may not be "right", but it is what it is.....

Good advice - Thanks!
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 11:57:58 AM »

In my experience, BOS tables are not skewed against lighter styles, at least up here in the PACNW.  Just off the top of my head, I can remember being on BOS panels where we've awarded golds to Am Lager, German Pils, Helles, Kolsch, Weissbier, Mild, ESB, Vienna, and Gueze.  And let's not forget Annie Johnson's NHC winning Light American Lager.  These outstanding beers won against all those big beers because they deserved to win.  IMO, if you brew an excellent light/small beer, you have just as much a chance of winning as any of the big styles.  We shouldn't perpetuate these myths.  Besides, what better way to get folks off the "max lupulin" craze than to hold those unbalanced beers to account and to reward the well crafted beers?   There's so much more to beer than just IBUs and ABVs.

Definitely true here in Portland and/or Oregon.  I think the judges here are more likely to award a crisp clean well made lager than a double IPA, no matter how good it is.  Golden Ale, Cream Ale, Kolsch etc seem to win a lot of BOS tables (much to the chagrin of my buddy who wins a lot of gold medals for his big Belgians and barrel aged stouts)

One more tip - enter the beer that you brewed and not the beer you intended to brew...I have judged good beers that just miss the style as entered that would have been surprisingly better suited to enter into a similar, but different style.

I have adjusted my approach for this, as well as anticipating a judge bias that tends to favor a slightly bigger beer within a category.  It may not be "right", but it is what it is.....

I totally understand this logic, but for me it doesn't work, because when my CDA ends up not hoppy enough, I couldn't care less whether it wins a medal in American Stout. I do want to win medals and ribbons, but I can't get around the roadblock in my head of like "Well that's not what that beer is, so it really doesn't count".  I feel the same way about commercial breweries who advertise that their American Amber Ale won a silver medal at GABF for Dark German Lager... it's like "And you're proud of that?"  Just my own hang ups on "style".  I want it to win as I intended it.  If my black IPA scores 19 points in IPA and 45 points in American Stout that just means I f***ed it up. 
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Top 20 Tips for How to Win in Brewing Competitions
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2017, 01:31:17 PM »

In my experience, BOS tables are not skewed against lighter styles, at least up here in the PACNW.  Just off the top of my head, I can remember being on BOS panels where we've awarded golds to Am Lager, German Pils, Helles, Kolsch, Weissbier, Mild, ESB, Vienna, and Gueze.  And let's not forget Annie Johnson's NHC winning Light American Lager.  These outstanding beers won against all those big beers because they deserved to win.  IMO, if you brew an excellent light/small beer, you have just as much a chance of winning as any of the big styles.  We shouldn't perpetuate these myths.  Besides, what better way to get folks off the "max lupulin" craze than to hold those unbalanced beers to account and to reward the well crafted beers?   There's so much more to beer than just IBUs and ABVs.

Definitely true here in Portland and/or Oregon.  I think the judges here are more likely to award a crisp clean well made lager than a double IPA, no matter how good it is.  Golden Ale, Cream Ale, Kolsch etc seem to win a lot of BOS tables (much to the chagrin of my buddy who wins a lot of gold medals for his big Belgians and barrel aged stouts)

One more tip - enter the beer that you brewed and not the beer you intended to brew...I have judged good beers that just miss the style as entered that would have been surprisingly better suited to enter into a similar, but different style.

I have adjusted my approach for this, as well as anticipating a judge bias that tends to favor a slightly bigger beer within a category.  It may not be "right", but it is what it is.....

I totally understand this logic, but for me it doesn't work, because when my CDA ends up not hoppy enough, I couldn't care less whether it wins a medal in American Stout. I do want to win medals and ribbons, but I can't get around the roadblock in my head of like "Well that's not what that beer is, so it really doesn't count".  I feel the same way about commercial breweries who advertise that their American Amber Ale won a silver medal at GABF for Dark German Lager... it's like "And you're proud of that?"  Just my own hang ups on "style".  I want it to win as I intended it.  If my black IPA scores 19 points in IPA and 45 points in American Stout that just means I f***ed it up.

I would simplify it to "in competition your beer is what it tastes like, not what your recipe was designed to be."
Tons of new brewers tell me "taste this; it is a XX" that tastes nothing like that style...is it really?  So I guess your "Well that's not what that beer is, so it really doesn't count". statement doesn't make sense to me.  If I screwed something up, but identified the correct place it should be entered, then that's a competition success, which I think was the point of the thread.