Author Topic: About to submit my first beer to competition any tips i should know  (Read 1543 times)

Offline darvyle

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Everyone,

I'm going to submit my first beer in a local home brewing competition and i was hoping you guys would have some tips or things i should look out for that might help a first timers chances for being noticed.  I'm submitting an IPA I created.

some questions I have are.

1. Should I naturally carbonate or force carbonate in a keg then transfer? I would think the spent yeast at the bottom of the bottle would not be good and cloud my beer so force carbonation and then transfer to bottles the day of the event.

2. Should I look into creating some labels for my bottles help them get noticed?

3. What is the best way to transport them?  This is a local competition so i will be attending in person.  I have a small cooler that hold a 6 pack perfectly, I was thinking about using that.

4. Any other tips you might have for any first time competitor?

Thank you,
Michael

Online hopfenundmalz

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2 - NO.  Unless it is a label competition and not a beer competition.  Identifying marks, such as writting on caps are usually not allowed. 

4. Read the rules.  You will see that your number 2 (labels) is probably not allowed.
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Offline bluesman

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I recommend force carbonating the beer because you will have better control over the carb level.

Labels are typically prohibited as they act as markers and can skew the results.

Transport them in a cooler ideally at serving temp.

Good Luck!
Ron Price

Offline theDarkSide

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I also agree on carbonating in keg and transferring.  You could even carbonate a little higher to account for loss in transfer and it may sit out a bit before being judged so a small amount more would account for that as well, just don't over do it.

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ccarlson

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Be sure the bottles are very clean and sanitized. Also, be sure and purge them with CO2 prior to filling.

Offline mabrungard

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Anything that you can do to reduce temperature and vibration stresses to the beer is a very good thing.  Its good that you're taking the beers to the competition personnally.  I judged Weizens at the Nationals in Las Vegas several years ago and was quite disappointed in the quality of the beers in the session.  There should have been no way that these beers were advanced to the second round if they were that poor.  It was clear to me that the shipping and handling adversely affected the quality and perception of the beers.  Its not like Las Vegas in early June is cool or anything.  I'm sure the trip that each of those beers took across the desert affected them severely.
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Offline brewallday

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Gordon Strong's book has a really good chapter about competition brewing that I would recommend reading.

Offline darvyle

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Thanks for the Tips guys.  I'm a little disappointed about the label thing i have a few artistic friends.  Maybe if this beer does well i'll ask them to create one anyway.

Keep'em come'in

Offline tschmidlin

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Unless you have experience force carbonating and bottling, I'd recommend natural carbonation.  On the other hand, if you have time to carbonate naturally, you have time to practice bottling from a keg.  It will make a big difference if you do.

Taking them in person is great, but make sure that you are allowed to bring them the day of.  Usually you need to drop them off ahead of time to get them checked in and labeled for the competition.  If everyone brought them the day of judging it would take forever to get started.  If you're dropping them off ahead of time just put them in a 6-pack holder and hopefully they'll stay refrigerated until it's time for judging.

Since this is your first comp I've got to mention, unless you are helping out with judging or stewarding, going to a competition is boring.  There will be nothing for you to do for hours and hours, and the judges won't want you looking over their shoulders or asking how your entries are doing.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Hokerer

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Since this is your first comp I've got to mention, unless you are helping out with judging or stewarding, going to a competition is boring.  There will be nothing for you to do for hours and hours, and the judges won't want you looking over their shoulders or asking how your entries are doing.

Furthermore, aren't the judging portions of most competitions closed to the public?  Lots of the ones I've entered seem to be that way.
Joe

Offline Beer Monger

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Re: About to submit my first beer to competition any tips i should know
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 03:57:41 PM »
Since this is your first comp I've got to mention, unless you are helping out with judging or stewarding, going to a competition is boring.  There will be nothing for you to do for hours and hours, and the judges won't want you looking over their shoulders or asking how your entries are doing.

Furthermore, aren't the judging portions of most competitions closed to the public?  Lots of the ones I've entered seem to be that way.

Generally, yes.  Competition judging is not a 'spectator sport'.  ;) 
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Offline richardt

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Re: About to submit my first beer to competition any tips i should know
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 04:11:11 PM »
My experience with judging 'force carbonated' beers is that they tend to be a little flat or undercarbonated and they score poorly as carbonation affects nearly everything from aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, etc. 
I think, as a beginner, you're much better served by bottle conditioning.

If you want to minimize the amount of lees, then leave your beer in the fermentor for a few weeks to finish conditioning, then chill the fermentor to get the yeast to drop out of solution if they haven't already done so.
Transfer your beer to a bottling bucket, add the priming sugar, stir gently to thoroughly mix and then bottle.
There should still be enough yeast to consume the sugar and carbonate the bottle perfectly. 
Given that you want the IPA to shine (especially if you have significant aroma hops from late additions or dry hopping)--you definitely need the carbonation to be perfect.
The amount of yeast on the bottom of the bottle will be miniscule (thin film)--it can be further stabilized by letting carbonation run its course at room temps within a week of bottling and then storing the bottle in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  It also helps settle any haze.

Offline darvyle

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Re: About to submit my first beer to competition any tips i should know
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 05:02:51 PM »
I have bottled beer from the tap before in the past, maybe i'll practice some over the next few weeks.  I'll also make sure i have a book in case things get to boring.