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Old 02-19-2010, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default How do competitions work?

There will be a competition in a couple months that I really want to enter, mostly for feedback on my beers. I've tried to find how they work on the internet but there wasn't much. From what I gather, you drop off your beer and all the required forms/money at one of the locations, they have the competition and mail you back the results?

The deadline for dropping off the beer is two weeks before the competition. I don't know what type of environment it will be in for those two weeks. If I filled the bottles via the BMBF method, would it stay carbonated if the temperature fluctuated hot or cold?

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:38 PM   #2
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Every competition is different. Most will judge and send results, yes. A lot post online so you can see if you won before you got your score sheets. And all of the comps that are local to my area have drop off points with refrigerators. I would hope that they'd be handling the beer properly.

That said, even if there were temperature fluctuations, I don't think your beer would be any less carbed. The only thing I'd worry about is oxidation from a less than perfect method of filling bottles.

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:41 PM   #3
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That's pretty much it, in terms of what you do. There are various forms you may or may not have to fill out for each beer entry. Typically there is a minimum amount of information you have to supply like the category you are entering the beer in, but some competitions also require you supply the recipe, fermentation schedule, etc.

In my experience, competition entries can be stored at room temps up until maybe the day or, or at most a day or two before the competition. Usually if you are dropping them off at your LHBS or similar, they will just sit somewhere on a shelf or maybe the floor in the LHBS until the deadline, when someone will pick them up for the competition. Then they will be transported to someplace to be sorted and labeled, and then they will sit around on shelves or on the floor or possibly in a walk-in cooler until they are transported to wherever the competition will be held. Could be someone's garage or basement, although most of the time they try to keep the beers in a fairly stable environment even if it isn't strictly controlled.


Don't worry about the carbonation going away. If it is already carbonated by the deadline, or even a week or so before the competition, you should be fine.


You might also consider volunteering to be a steward for the competition. All you do is bring out beers to the judges, but you learn a lot about how they are organized and judged, and you get to drink lots of great beer. The judges will usually let you know which beers are the winners so you can sample.

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:42 PM   #4
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Most comps will keep the beer cold. Generally speaking, if you bottle right before submitting and submit close to the deadline, oxidation and sanitation* should not be a huge concern within reason. The BMBF method is more than adequate.

* Within reason here means be reasonable but don't kill yourself sanitizing like you might if you expect the beer to keep for a year. Note that if you are shipping beer during warm weather, you probably want to be pretty tight on the sanitation.

If it is a local competition there is probably an awards banquet you can go to. You can also volunteer to judge or steward.

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post

If it is a local competition there is probably an awards banquet you can go to. You can also volunteer to judge or steward.
I'm judging for the first time tonight! Pretty excited.
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:45 PM   #6
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All competitions work differently. Check with the director, or contact for specifics. Usually you can mail in or drop off entries. Ideally they will be kept cool. They will at least be left at room temp (not outside, or in a garage).

Most competitions will judge you beer according to the BJCP style guidelines. They try to get as many BJCP judges as possible.

A few notes about the BJPC. Not wanting to get into a huge battle here, its just important you understand it. To do well in compeitions, you really have to brew to the guidelines. If any aspect of your beer is outside of those guides, you will get dinged. If you use Cascades in a Pale Ale and call it English, you will get points taken off because of improper hop aroma and flavor in an English Pale Ale. There are a bunch of little things like that that people dont expect when entering competitions, then are disappointed when they get the results.

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:48 PM   #7
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You can mail in the beer or drop it off at the LHBS. I'll be dropping it off at the LHBS. I just hope they don't leave it sitting there on the floor until someone picks it up for the competition. It is an AHA/BJCP sanctioned competition.

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
A few notes about the BJPC. Not wanting to get into a huge battle here, its just important you understand it. To do well in compeitions, you really have to brew to the guidelines. If any aspect of your beer is outside of those guides, you will get dinged. If you use Cascades in a Pale Ale and call it English, you will get points taken off because of improper hop aroma and flavor in an English Pale Ale. There are a bunch of little things like that that people dont expect when entering competitions, then are disappointed when they get the results.
+++++

You really have to consider how well your entry matches the BJCP description of the style, because you will not get a lot of constructive feedback on beers that, deliberately or otherwise, don't follow the style in some obvious way. Most of your feedback will then consist of "this characteristic is not like the style". Again, in my experience.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:04 PM   #9
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I'll be entering the American Amber Ale category and depending on how well my next brews go, maybe two others.

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Old 02-19-2010, 06:51 PM   #10
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Do the judges talk to each other and share their thoughts with the group or do they all keep to themselves and not share anything as it may influence someone?

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