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Old 04-20-2009, 02:20 PM   #11
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You're asking some great questions by the way, and since we are entering into summer contest season for a lot of places, this is tiemly.



*prost*



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Old 04-20-2009, 02:20 PM   #12
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Also, if you are reusing commercial bottles, make sure you clean the label off completely. It won't (shouldn't) affect your score, but it just looks sloppy.



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Old 04-20-2009, 02:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
Here is an article I recently read that might help a little.
Great article...everyone should read it.

This was the two biggest "takeaway" points for me...

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Enter Your Beer, Not Your Plan

The first thing you do when entering a homebrew contest is to decide on what category to submit your beers in. When doing this, forget what you intended to brew and examine how your beer actually turned out. Did you miss the target OG on your IPA? Then consider if it might score better as a pale ale.

Homebrew judges will not know what style of beer you were trying to make, what your ingredient list was, what procedures you used or anything other than the category you submitted your beer in. Evaluate your beer from this perspective when deciding on which category to enter. Read the style guidelines looking for any beer style that seems to describe what your beer tastes like. If you know someone who has judged at contests before, ask them for their help.

There are a few “oddball” categories where it really pays to think about this. For example, if you added smoked malt to a beer but you can’t taste any smoke in it, don’t enter it in the smoked beer category. Likewise, if you made a fruit beer, but the fruit flavor is MIA (which can happen in dark styles like raspberry porter or cherry stout), don’t enter it in the fruit beer category.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

In some categories you are instructed to tell the judges about any special ingredients you used. In the fruit beer category, or the spice, herb and vegetable category, for example, you are supposed to indicate which fruits, spices, herbs or vegetables are in the beer. Before simply listing everything on your recipe sheet, taste your beer and see what ingredients you can detect and which you can’t. If you made a holiday ale with cinnamon and nutmeg, but all you can taste is cinnamon, don’t write “nutmeg” on your entry sheet. If the judges are expecting a dark ale with cinnamon and nutmeg and they can’t taste the nutmeg, you will be “dinked” for not having nutmeg in your beer. On the other hand, if they are expecting a dark ale with just cinnamon, this same beer will score much better. Don’t give the judges information that will only work against you.
It's something to remember, if you get into the habit of throwing a six aside for possible contests later in the year...In my case my Oaked Smoked may not be all that "smoky or oaky" in July when the beer gets entered...those flavors may have receded so much that the beer will just taste like a (hopefully complex) brown ale...

The same with an IPA you brewed 5 months ago...the hoppiness may have lessened in the ensuing months...may not it is really a Pale Ale.....

That's why self judging just before contest time may be a great idea...and also letting go some pre-conceived notions that you "HAVE TO" enter a certain beer...if it tastes sub-par to you on shipping day..then don't ship it...unless you want to get the critque...

I actually have no hope that any of mey beers will place (not becasue I brew bad beer) but like I said the State Fair is a huge competition (over 800 beers last summer I heard.) I enter with the hope of getting good info from my score sheet.
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I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

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Old 04-20-2009, 02:26 PM   #14
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You guys rock. Again! Keep any salient thoughts comin'...

EDIT - another question: What about yeast on the bottom of the bottle, is that a show stopper?

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Old 04-20-2009, 02:37 PM   #15
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One more thing I want to mention, and you HOPE you get judges like I had some day....I've posted this before...but,

I entered my Porter in the ren fest contest last year....And it turned out that I had an infection in the beer...a late onset gusher infection that I later traced to my auto siphon.....

It sucked because I drank plenty of those beers (most of the cases) with no problem...but out of the last 6 were where the contest entries were...and I was home on the weekend of the judging, and when I opened one...right around the time I knew they were judging, I pretty much crapped in my pants...especially since I opened a second one and it gushed too....

I had a batch that was for several months, and only the last 6 pack were affected. traced it to the autosiphon (actually it was my fault I originally broke the tube at the bend, and just slapped the hose on it with a clamp and never dissasembled it.

It was a porter that had bottle gushers no less...during judging at a contest...I was lucky though I had two patient judges...they let the first one gush, then asked for the second...it gushed as well...but they let the gushing stop and actually judged the remaining beers...

AND THEY LOVED THE FREAKIN TASTE!!!!!

They said on my judging sheets that had it not gushed I would have prolly placed in the top 3...and they were stymied, because they wrote in my evals, that there were absolutely no off flavors..


But that is why you should make sure to sample you beer, before you drop them off for judging. If I had done that I never would have entered it.

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I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

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Old 04-20-2009, 02:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
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You guys rock. Again! Keep any salient thoughts comin'...

EDIT - another question: What about yeast on the bottom of the bottle, is that a show stopper?
No. these are homebrewing judges they know homebrew contains yeast. duh

Hopefully the stewards pouring the beers do it the right way, and pour to the shoulder. And leave the yeast behind.
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I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

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Old 04-20-2009, 02:39 PM   #17
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Well I don't brew specific for a contest, I got that advice last year from someone here....I choose my best beers at the time of the contest, but I also have set aside a sixer of any of the more interesting beers I brew, to re-evaluate at contest times....
Haha...I had already entered my Vienna Lager for this year's AHA NHC before it was even ready! I just KNEW it was gonna be the most awesomest beer evar. Then I tasted it and was like; "Woopsie...this beer isn't going anywhere." So I changed the category and just sent the best tasting beer I had on hand. So I agree 100%...just send your best beers on hand at the time.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastricky View Post
You guys rock. Again! Keep any salient thoughts comin'...

EDIT - another question: What about yeast on the bottom of the bottle, is that a show stopper?
Its homebrew, they expect the yeast and (usually) know how to pour a beer properly.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:46 PM   #19
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Since I have been brewing my own recipes for awhile now, I've started entering every beer that comes out of my pipeline that doesn't have any noticeable flaws. That way I get unbiased feedback I can use to further refine my recipes.

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Old 04-20-2009, 02:48 PM   #20
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Its homebrew, they expect the yeast and (usually) know how to pour a beer properly.
Probably 80% of entries are bottle conditioned, I think we HBT'ers forget that keggers are definitely in the minority as are all grain brewers. They handle the bottles carefully, and chill the bottles for a week or more before judging so the yeast has time to settle out... everything is treated as if it is bottle conditioned.


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