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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > An interesting take on awards
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Old 09-14-2010, 05:49 PM   #1
cactusgarrett
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Default An interesting take on awards

Here's an interview with Kirby Nelson, head brewer at Capital Brewery. He's got a very pragmatic approach to awards, which, considering the parallels, could be applied to homebrew contests, too.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:31 PM   #2
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Well, I do agree with 99% of the article. I also think that these contests do at least serve us well in the respect that there are styles. Without any kind of style/guideline we would have people calling stouts "black pilsner" as an example.

While I may never enter a contest to win, I may very well enter one to see if I "hit the style" fairly close. The rest is simply brew to taste in this order: Me, SWMBO, family and friends, everyone else.

If I had a "gold medal beer" that I hated the taste of, other than bragging rights, I have nothing.

I also like the point they make that most breweries win an award and use this on the packaging/advertising. Raising an interesting marketing question of,"Does mentioning awards on your product really help sell the beer?".

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Old 09-14-2010, 06:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zamial View Post
Raising an interesting marketing question of,"Does mentioning awards on your product really help sell the beer?".
It certainly works here. A recipe will sit in the database forever UNTIL someone wins something with it, then a hundred people want to brew it. That's why I laugh when someone say's "so and so does it this way and he's won a medal". Especially when a LOT of homebrew medals come from small competitions where there's little to no competition in certain categories.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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I agree with him 100%. I entered three contests before I decided never to enter again.

The first gave me two scoresheets, and I actually have to say that those two were dead on in panning the beer (my first all-grain).

The second gave me three scoresheets, and I read them a thousands times and still can't figure out how they were describing the same beer. One I must concede was relatively close to my assessment of the beer, but the other two were completely contradictory of the first, and each other. One judge said I needed more lactose, the other said I used "at least half-again too much".

The third was two judges again, and one disregarded the style guidelines and judged the beer according to a different category; he even identified the category!

Competitions are a waste of beer, time, and money in my eyes. The opinions of most "judges" are probably not even worth the opinions of friends. Judges will never drink your beer again; friends will. If they want more good beer, they have to be honest in their judgements to get it after all!

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Old 09-14-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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Winner of what? How close you can get to "average"? Is that really a goal? Let's see how average we can be? You want to be the most average brewery in the US? You want to brew the most "average" beer in a category? Congratulations?
This thought pretty much sums up how I feel about competitions. I don't brew to make something as close to style as possible, I do it to make beer I think tastes good. I've entered one competition so far because I wanted feedback from an experienced taster on how to refine my process, and all I got was 3 people saying it tasted good but wasn't "to style".
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildwest450 View Post
Especially when a LOT of homebrew medals come from small competitions where there's little to no competition in certain categories.
True. I think a lot of people would be surprised to see how low a beer can score and still win a medal, especially if the competition is very small.

However, I am surprised by the amount of competition hate going around these days. I understand some people don't like comps because they "don't like brewing to style" or whatever the excuse, but it's important to remember that competitions are not about brewing the "best tasting" beer. Rather, it's the beer that best represents all aspects of a particular beer style that will win (or should). However, I can understand why people think award winning beer are intrinsically better and why commercial breweries want to win awards to help market their product.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:53 PM   #7
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I'm with Zamial. I brew for me, and my friends and family. I don't need a stranger telling me whats right and wrong with my beer. granted "professional" feedback would be nice

slightly on and off topic - this goes for a lot of things - food, music, fashion and moives. case in point MTV movies/teen choice awards. I can't remember the last time a band or movie I like won an award.

IMHO and Not to offend some those who particpate I find competition a mechanism for those who are missing something in their life to find acceptance or acknowledgment or whatever. It can be telling about someone. i.e. My SWMBO always asks her mother, aunt and friends about things for our house because she needs reassurance with some things and sometimes it drives me nuts. anyways i digress

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Old 09-14-2010, 10:14 PM   #8
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Of course medals sell beer.....that's the reason that the gabf has about 90 categories but the bjcp has only a third of that....more cats,more oppotunity to give awards to your craft brew association paying members!

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Old 09-15-2010, 01:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zamial View Post
Without any kind of style/guideline we would have people calling stouts "black pilsner" as an example.
I'm totally doing this now.
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:26 AM   #10
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I feel the same way about these comps\, never really interested me, and i certainly wouldn't brag about winning one...as a new brewer i would enter to get some feedback, but lately i have been so happy with my progression as a brewer I don't wanna waste my time second guessing myself because of something a BJCP says.

I really like his reference to music/(think music awards shows and how stupid they are). But comps are there for another reason, they bring like-minded people together to enjoy/talk about their passion. For the larger comps it is to get commercial brewers out there, meet consumers, that type of thing. Pretty much all positive.

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