Author Topic: Entering in first competition  (Read 329 times)

Offline Pope of Dope

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Entering in first competition
« on: July 09, 2018, 05:20:38 PM »
I've never entered a competition. I was thinking of entering. I have what I would call a Northern English Brown ale - category as listed on the Falcon's webpage: 11.4 Northern English-Style Brown Ale (Custom Style). I used an American hop, Northern Brewer, to bitter and for aroma, and the 40-50 IBU's, I think, gives it a nice balance. I'm at the very low end at 4.2%abv (1052-1.020), SRM is 12.6.

Does it matter for the competition that IBU's are higher than style guidelines and American hops are used?

Is there another category I might enter it into?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 05:29:08 PM by Pope of Dope »
I like that. Hmm Hmm. "I don't know," that's nice. 'Mr. Hand, will I pass this class?' 'Gee Mr. Spicoli, I don't know.' That's nice, I really like that. You know what I'm gonna do? I'm going to leave your words on my board for all my classes to enjoy, giving you full credit of course, Mr. Spicoli.

Offline denny

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Re: Entering in first competition
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 05:26:44 PM »
I've never entered a competition. I was thinking of entering. I have what I would call a Northern English Brown ale. I used an American hop, Northern Brewer, to bitter and for aroma, and the 40-50 IBU's, I think, gives it a nice balance. I'm at the very low end at 4.2%abv (1052-1.020), SRM 12.6.

Does it matter for the competition that IBU's are higher than style guidelines and American hops are used?

Is there another category I might enter it into?

All that matters is that it tastes like what the category description says it should taste like.  They don't measure IBUs or ask what kind of hops you used.  But if it tastes too bitter or you can tell they're American hops, it won't do well.  The best way to decide which category to enter is to sit down with a glass of it while you look through the style guidelines.  Whatever it matches is what you should enter it as.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Entering in first competition
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 05:36:11 PM »
I would bet that at 40-50 IBU's it would be out of range for a malty english brown ale. You may want to consider entering it as an American Brown ale where it might score better.

Offline Pope of Dope

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Re: Entering in first competition
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 05:46:29 PM »
Denny, I love beer but I'm taking a step here beyond my confidence. The only other category that may be more right is an American Amber (SRM and IBU is right, ABV is right there, yeast is Notty but it's still good). What do you think.

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« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 06:05:35 PM by Pope of Dope »
I like that. Hmm Hmm. "I don't know," that's nice. 'Mr. Hand, will I pass this class?' 'Gee Mr. Spicoli, I don't know.' That's nice, I really like that. You know what I'm gonna do? I'm going to leave your words on my board for all my classes to enjoy, giving you full credit of course, Mr. Spicoli.

Offline denny

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Re: Entering in first competition
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 06:00:38 PM »
Denny, I love beer but I'm taking a step here beyond my confidence. The only other category that may be more right is an American Amber (SRM and IBU is right, ABV is right there, yeast is Notty but it's still good). What do you think.

Here's my beautiful photo.


Doesn't matter what I think becasue I can't taste the beer, and that's all that matters.  Read through the American amber guidelines while you drink some and see if it fits.
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Offline santoch

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Re: Entering in first competition
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2018, 03:39:47 AM »
I think its great you are enthusiastic and want to enter your beer in a competition.  I think you should go for it no matter what.  I will try to give you a heads up from a judge's perspective, though, so that you can understand where we are coming from, and also so that your first experience in a competition isn't your last due to being unprepared/unaware.

The judges are looking to see how the beer fits its style, in terms of Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, Mouthfeel, and Overall Impression. Production flaws, and stylistic aberrations discount from that goal.

We use these guidelines so that we can get beyond the "apples vs oranges" comparisons.  Without the style guidelines, things become totally subjective.  Under those conditions, a judge that prefers massive bitterness will only score IIPA's highest and things like Helles go by the wayside. It turns into a crapshoot.  Did my beer get evaluated by someone who hates (xyz)? No, we can't have that.  So, we created the style guidelines.

Even when we do Best of Show panels, the thought is always "Is this a better example of XYZ than that is an example of ABC?".  It grounds the competitions back into a reasonable set of rules that everyone can generally agree upon, and puts the entries on an even keel.

However, it's not perfect.  Unfortunately, there are well made beers that sometimes get lost along the way.  For example, there are a few breweries now making German Pilsners using Cascade and other American hops (German pils grain bill, American hops, German yeast, etc).  These beers are often wonderful, but if you look at the criteria for what makes a classic German Pilsner, grapefruity hop character is out of bounds.  This beer will do poorly against a style compliant German Pilsner. 

So, a beer that is entered in a classic style category is expected to match the characteristics of that style.  An entry that is outside of those characteristics (such as too bitter) can taste and smell great in its own right, but will typically not get above moderate scores (low 30's or so).  A good judge will still compliment a well made beer while still giving it a low score.

If you know that your beer is a true "tweener" (ie, between styles), then you can always enter it as a specialty beer and see how it does there.  Perhaps you could enter as a Session-strength English Brown IPA in the Specialty IPA category?
 
Note that those categories can get big because a lot of guys go out of their way brewing all kinds of crazy concoctions on purpose, so be aware of that, too.  Some beers are simply meant to be enjoyed.

All that said, enter it anyways!  Set your expectations accordingly, if you know going in that its not completely inside the style guidelines.  But do your best to match it up with whatever style it fits best, like Denny said.  You will at least get an honest unbiased evaluation, nowadays almost always by someone with a trained palate.  They may point out things for you to improve, or they may confirm that it's a great beer!

Either way, that beats hearing your neighbor say "Damn that's good", because he just wants free beer but doesn't really know much about beer.

HTH-
Steve
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Offline James K

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Re: Entering in first competition
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2018, 08:27:43 PM »
^^

The worst that can happen is that you get a low score. Like everyone else said, the beer has to fit a style to do well. None of us can really say what style it fits best in because none of us can taste the beer.

You could always enter the beer under category 34b/34c and declare the beer a mixed style beer because the hops. Or just an experiment.

I think if you enter the beer as a brown ale of any kind, based on the hops, most the feedback you receive is going to tell you what you already know.

When I have entere beers in competition all I was looking for was feedback on how to make said beer better.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Entering in first competition
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2018, 12:55:43 PM »
Northern Brewer isn't an American hop. It's English. So you have the hop correct, but that bittering level might be out of style.
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