National Homebrew Competition 2021 Update: Judging & Medals

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NHC 2020 Dates and Deadlines

By John Moorhead, AHA Competition Manager

We have successfully sorted, checked in, and inventoried all received National Homebrew Competition entries (~26,000 bottles) and are getting the final touches ready to put on the largest amateur beer competition for you! Judging will take place April 26-May 2.

As a reminder, there will be no first- and final-round format in 2021. All entries will be judged at the same time at a single site

We believe this new structure will improve the competition for entrants and judges by a) evaluating all entries in parallel rather than over a six-week period followed by a separate final round and b) establishing consistent judging in one location rather than over 13 locations.

Overview of Judging Process

Each category will be spread out across multiple judge panels—think of each category as its own bracket. Each judge panel will evaluate a flight of entries within a category. Each panel advances three entries to the next round until a final round of no more than 12 entries ispresent. The first round of judging includes two comment sheets for each entry. Subsequent rounds do not include comment sheets.

The final round is judged by a panel of four judges who determine first, second, and third place within a category. First-place entries in each category will move on to the Best-of-Show round to determine the major awards for beer, mead, and cider.

Throughout the process, judges only see entries in sample cups, never in original containers. The entries are prepared in a staging room by highly trained volunteers to ensure quality control.

Judges are selected based on a combination of formal sensory training, experience judging in competitions, positive judging demeanor, advanced knowledge of beer styles and brewing process, and peer recognition.

Comment Sheets

Each entry will be judged by two judges and receive at least two comment sheets per entry for beer, mead, or cider. Comment sheets are emailed after the Award Ceremony on June 19.

Competition Medals*

The National Homebrew Competition recognizes brewing excellence in 40 NHC Tables of beer, cider, and mead and does so over multiple rounds of judging within a category to reach a final table of entries that are awarded first, second, and third place.

Gold medal – a world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma, and appearance.

Silver medal – an excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma, and appearance.

Bronze medal – a fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters while still displaying quality taste, aroma, and appearance.

Award Ceremony

The Award Ceremony will be held on June 19 during Homebrew Con. It will be open to the public (no registration required), and all medals and comment sheets will be shared with entrants after the conclusion of the ceremony.

Good luck in the competition!

John Moorhead is the American Homebrewers Association Competition Manager.