Author Topic: The NHC for the future  (Read 2704 times)

Offline wingnut

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2011, 07:27:14 AM »
I have been thinking of this a bit the past few weeks...especially as I prepare to join the ranks of certified BJCP judges...

What are the thoughts of having a few more regions (perhaps double) with smaller caps?  Now that we have gone the way of "enter any region you want" why not double the regions and cap the entries at 375?  Also, instead of sending the top three, send the top two from each of these smaller regions so that the second round does not get too large?

My thinking is that when I become certified, I am still unlikely to judge in the National competition as the nearest site is 5 hours away.  It is one thing to blow a weekend judging and eating the hotel/meal costs... but the travel on top of all that makes it a deal breaker for me.  If there was a site closer to me, say two or three hours....then I would be there in a heart beat.  The other benefits would be:

- Smaller number of entries to work with at each site
- less burden...so more clubs could help with less burnout
- more total judges could be involved (at least one more  ;D)
- easier future growth/flexibility (if there is a geographical concentration of judges and clubs...put more competitions near there or bump up the 375 limit to 450)

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Offline jeffy

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2011, 07:46:02 AM »
I have been thinking of this a bit the past few weeks...especially as I prepare to join the ranks of certified BJCP judges...

What are the thoughts of having a few more regions (perhaps double) with smaller caps?  Now that we have gone the way of "enter any region you want" why not double the regions and cap the entries at 375?  Also, instead of sending the top three, send the top two from each of these smaller regions so that the second round does not get too large?

My thinking is that when I become certified, I am still unlikely to judge in the National competition as the nearest site is 5 hours away.  It is one thing to blow a weekend judging and eating the hotel/meal costs... but the travel on top of all that makes it a deal breaker for me.  If there was a site closer to me, say two or three hours....then I would be there in a heart beat.  The other benefits would be:

- Smaller number of entries to work with at each site
- less burden...so more clubs could help with less burnout
- more total judges could be involved (at least one more  ;D)
- easier future growth/flexibility (if there is a geographical concentration of judges and clubs...put more competitions near there or bump up the 375 limit to 450)

This seems like a good idea, but wouldn't it increase the costs to nearly double what they are now?
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline SiameseMoose

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2011, 08:28:19 AM »
What are the thoughts of having a few more regions (perhaps double) with smaller caps?  Now that we have gone the way of "enter any region you want" why not double the regions and cap the entries at 375?  Also, instead of sending the top three, send the top two from each of these smaller regions so that the second round does not get too large?

The second round of judging used to take two days. Because that takes time away from the people who volunteer to judge, time that they can't use to participate in other conference activities, it was becoming quite difficult to get enough judges for the second round. A number of changes have been made to the second round process, including the simpler scoresheet, queued judging, and even table arrangements (Note: much credit goes to Gordon Strong and Frank Barickmann for these innovations), the second round has been reduced to one day, and everybody involved is much happier. However, it's still on the ragged edge of getting done in one day. Any increase in the number of entries in the second round, and it won't get done. As a judge who pays to go to the NHC every year, I will not sacrifice again to judge on a second day.

In terms of reducing the first round qualifiers down to two, I have several objections. First, every competition awards three places. It's traditional, and I believe a very good tradition. Second, the line between second and third at a competition of this level is very fine, and it is an extremely common occurrence that beers that placed third in a region win in the second round. Different day, different judges (and, on average, higher ranked judges), different results.

I am inclined to let this year finish out, and let the competition committee have a thorough debriefing after.
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I named my brewery after my cat, Moose. He's Siamese.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2011, 10:13:14 AM »

3. you already could only enter one region (at least this year) I'm pretty sure



A quick check of the first round winners list shows that there are winners who sent entries to regions other than their designated home region.  So, either there is no rule for which region you must enter, or if there is a rule, it is not enforced.

That was a rule change for this year so if your region was filled your could enter another region, but all of your entries had to go to the region you chose.  Cheers!!!

That's not exactly correct.  There is no longer a notion of "your" region or "home" region.  There are judging centers.  Pick one, any one.  That's pretty much it.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Online udubdawg

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2011, 01:23:02 PM »
I'm going to assume based on Texas' turnout and the size of Bluebonnet that there were plenty of judges that entered but didn't judge.  Along that line, could we have a sizable price break on the entry fee for those that have signed up to judge?  There would be kinks to work out in terms of those promising to judge not showing up, but if the competition doesn't have enough volunteers then who better to encourage to volunteer than the participants?

More, smaller regions sounds good; we could have had 10+ judges from my town instead of just me if it wasn't several hours away.  On the other hand the more regions there are the more it seems like the mead/cider&perry judges would be stretched pretty thin.  Wasn't a lack of perry judges part of the reason for Nashville's delay?  (my apologies if I'm incorrect)  I know some of the mead categories were the last judged in DFW as well.

I keep thinking it should be run like a club-only competition in terms of clubs signing up to judge a certain categories and everyone ships those categories to them, but I can't find a way to avoid insane shipping costs for those that enter many categories.  With something like 600 stouts you'd still need several sites that judged this category, but perhaps only 1 or 2 that did fruit beer.  I guess if people limit their entries to their "best" beers and multiple club members ship together it would solve SOME of the problem but not all.  Like I said, I keep trying to figure out how it'd work but I can't see it yet.

I guess the best I can come up with at the moment is 20 locations each allowing 500 beers in Category 1-23, with a few separate locations signing up for mead/cider& perry, and increased entry fee but reduced entry fee for those that judge, and going back to two days of final round judging (but schedule so they're not missing so much of the conference. - I'm sure this is easier said than done!)   Finally, start the 1st round earlier so people have a reasonable chance to incorporate feedback into re-brew efforts.

I get that no one wants two days of judging in the final round, but at the current size it looks like the competition is stretched to get done in two rounds, and I see no reason to expect anything but continued growth in interest in this hobby (addiction?)   Add another round, add an extra judging-only day to the final round, add extra locations, limit 1st round advances, limit entries, two-year competition with half the categories judged each year, limit entries to anything that's already won an award in a sanctioned competition, whatever...
I don't have the answers, and the NHC is great as it is right now.  With a little effort it'll stay that way while allowing even more growth.  I don't envy the competition committee in terms of figuring this stuff out!

it's an interesting problem to have...too many people are brewing!   8)

cheers--
--Michael

Offline johnf

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2011, 06:57:03 AM »
While space may be an issue, depending on where you set your bar for final round judges, judging isn't. A lot of certified judges were turned away last year, for example.

Given that you don't get a filled out scoresheet for the second round anyway, I would like a count of how many certified or higher judges are turned away this year before we say we can't judge more than 750.



Offline MDixon

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2011, 07:36:10 AM »
Maybe I missed something in the thread. There are 10 regions each advancing a max of 3 beers/ciders/meads for category. So each category has 30 entries so a maximum of 30 x 28 categories = 840 in the final round (last year was 837)

Each category traditionally uses 9 judges at the Final Round and there are generally two judging sessions which equates to 135 judges if each session has what they need. If someone has been turned away, it is probably because volunteers with higher ranking or more experience have came forward to help judge.

--

As far as the first round, that is where I feel we really need to focus. When I was JD for our region it took 5 judging sessions to finish, two full days, one half day and two additional small sessions. We just did not have enough judges in any particular area to pull it off. Had it been a two bottle comp it would have been worse due to having to manage all the extra bottles. I just cannot wrap my brain around why the second bottle is required. If all the entries in the category are judged at the same time using queued judging and are capped and put back in the cooler the mini-BOS should be a piece of cake and all the tables will finish within 5 min of one another. If the entire category cannot be judged at the same time, the Organizer and JD need to figure out how that can happen.

I think we sat 4 judge groups (or maybe 5) of two at the same time on some of our flights and figured it out back in the day and unfortunately didn't have a clue about queued judging. In the end we barely pulled it off with 600+ entries and 750 would have not been possible without more judges...if a move to local happens then IMO the numbers should be restrained...300 or less is manageable by a group with experience, but would still take 30 judges two rounds to complete.

Ignoring the festivals, NHC rounds, fairs, etc. How many comps are setup to routinely handle above 500 entries? (Hint, it's a very small number.) http://www.bjcp.org/apps/reports/bigcomps.php
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 08:51:36 AM »
Last year, there were 3 panels of 2 judges for the 2nd round.  The year before, there were 4 panels of 3 judges.  The year before, there were 3 panels of 3 judges.  If you go back even further, it used to be 2 panels of 2-3 judges.  I think 2004 was the first year 3 panels were used.

The 2nd round organizer has flexibility in deciding how to run the competition.  Different ideas have been tried.  The best ones have been retained.  Not all new ideas work in practice, but that's how we learn.

My personal opinion is that high-ranked judges should be used in the 2nd round.  If you have enough high-ranked judges to seat more people, then they should be accomodated. However, I think the 2nd round isn't the right place to go if you are a new judge or an apprentice. You can volunteer as a steward and help that way, but it isn't the right place to train new people.

Why do you think the rank National is called that way?
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline MDixon

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2011, 09:05:44 AM »
You're right, it was three 2 judge panels per category last year. I'm getting old, my memory is slipping... ;)
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Offline jhwk

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2011, 11:08:53 AM »
Why do you think the rank National is called that way?
Then why is the National Homebrew Competition of the American Homebrewers Association including competitors from other countries???  :D
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2011, 12:18:23 PM »
Probably because their money still spends here.

The rank is a BJCP thing and the organization is the AHA; two different groups.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2011, 12:54:10 PM »
My personal opinion is that high-ranked judges should be used in the 2nd round.

I'm currently a Certified judge, so, in theory that means I'm out of luck if I want to judge at the NHC second round. Despite that, I agree with you. It's my experience that an average judge can do a decent job detecting flawed beer, but has a harder time understanding what makes a good beer great. That is, above about a score of 35, lots of judges don't always fully understand the style they're judging and struggle when they attempt to give useful feedback .

At the NHC 2nd round, the proper place for rank and file BJCP judges is as stewards or as observers. That way, the National + judges are guaranteed to get a well-trained steward, while the Apprentice-Certified judges get a sort of master class by sitting in on the session.

Offline dtblank

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2011, 01:41:28 PM »
I agree for the need of experienced judges for this comp.  I was a bit disappointed that when I got my scoresheets that I didn't have a single certified judge.  I know that there are plenty of good experienced judges that aren't certified, but have never been in a comp where not a single judge for one of my beers were certified, so was a surprised that my first time to have this occur was in the NHC.

Offline jeffy

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2011, 05:08:30 PM »
I agree for the need of experienced judges for this comp.  I was a bit disappointed that when I got my scoresheets that I didn't have a single certified judge.  I know that there are plenty of good experienced judges that aren't certified, but have never been in a comp where not a single judge for one of my beers were certified, so was a surprised that my first time to have this occur was in the NHC.

What region was that (if you don't mind my asking)?
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Offline jhwk

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Re: The NHC for the future
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2011, 08:47:25 PM »
I agree for the need of experienced judges for this comp.  I was a bit disappointed that when I got my scoresheets that I didn't have a single certified judge.  I know that there are plenty of good experienced judges that aren't certified, but have never been in a comp where not a single judge for one of my beers were certified, so was a surprised that my first time to have this occur was in the NHC.

What region was that (if you don't mind my asking)?
Happened to me at the Nashville region - must have bee why two of my entries went to mini BOS and one slipped through to the 2nd round...  And why the Berliner Weiss that took 2nd BOS the same week got a 21...

go figure.  :D
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