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Old 02-20-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
eyebrau
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Default Roll the dice?

So a real life hypothetical here...

Let's say you have 3 bottles remaining of an imperial stout that everybody pretty much said was your best beer to date (currently nearly at 2 years of age since brew date). Let's also say that there is a reasonably sized and fairly respectable local homebrew competition with submissions being accepted right now, ending at the end of the month. Let's also say that out of the 5 gallon batch, one in about, oh, I dunno, maybe 8-10 or so didn't properly carb (this sat in batch conditioning for a LONG time, and so evidently some bottles didn't have enough yeast in suspension?), resulting in a few under-carbed bottles. Again, there haven't been a ton of them in the batch, but there were definitely some.

Let's also add to the hypothetical that you're 99.9% certain you couldn't reproduce a clone of it if you tried, due to poor note keeping and generally not likely to be easily reproduced circumstances. Could rebrew the recipe, but it probably wouldn't be identical.

With that said... roll the dice and enter the beers? Open and somehow recarb them to be sure of carbonation? Keep them and drink them? Suggestions? What would you do?

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:46 PM   #2
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I'd keep it and drink it. I hide my good beer from my wife and friends specifically for this purpose...

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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I say roll the dice, chances are that if you do enter a beer and it isn't carbed, you'll lose points. On the positive side, they could be just fine and you win and or come away with some great notes from the judges.

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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If you could reproduce it, then I'd say send them in. If you can't, then what good is it having them judged, "I made a really good beer once, but have no idea how to make it again." Seems it would just be a recipe for frustration.

Work on remaking the recipe and use the remaining ones for comparison.

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:54 PM   #5
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Honestly, I'm leaning towards rolling the dice because I honestly have yet to enter a competition, always for one of two reasons: I either have nothing ready or good enough when submissions are open, or I totally miss open submission dates. And I'd really like to get good notes and just hope that the two I submit carbed. I'd be out $7 which is fine, but I'd be out the two beers. And quite honestly, if they turn out to not have been carbed, I wouldn't really get to enjoy them anyway...

I dunno. Actually, what I really need to do is confirm that 2 of the remaining bottles don't have marked glass... a lot of the empties I used to bottle that batch were Sam Adams bottles, as I recall... Guess that could help with the decision making...

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:57 PM   #6
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If you already know they good and you like them then why enter them in a competition? All you'll get are some numbers created by someone that may or may not know what they are doing. Waste of beer IMO. Just drink them up and enjoy them yourself.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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It seems to me that submitting a beer for judging should be an overall reflection of your ability to brew, and not just the fact that you accidentally made a good beer. I understand they're judging your beer and not you, but think about it. I also understand that it would be really nice to have the medal, but it really means nothing if you can't produce something on the spot. It's like going to a job interview and having a certification or degree but lack the ability to perform the job.

Now, you could be underestimating your brewing abilities. You would probably need the recipe for the beer to enter it anyway, so you have that much, right? I would brew it again until you get it right, then enter that. At least then you would know you did it right.

In the end it's your call...I mean if there's a really awesome prize involved, you can scratch everything I just said. What's a few beers, if you have the ability to win a new brew kettle? If you really dig medals and stuff, that's another no-brainer. If you think it might land you a job at a brewery...go for it.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:43 PM   #8
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I'm going to have to agree with Teromous. Keep what you have and drink it and brew it again, if it comes out as good or better then send it into a comp.

If I'm going to send a beer into a comp I plan ahead and I brew something I do well. There have been times I've entered other beers I had on tap but I wouldn't do it if it was the last of the batch.

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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Yea, that's a fair call.

Honestly, a big part of the reason I say I couldn't reproduce it is because I wouldn't reproduce a couple parts of it... One, it was a partial mash using mainly dry malt extract. I've moved to all grain, and part of the reason was because of the COST of brewing something like that. Not spending another $80 on a 5 gallon batch. Another reason is because at the time I had no real fermentation temperature control... had a massive, messy blow out with that one, which I don't really want to deal with again. I have a temperature controller on a chest freezer now. So yea, I could certainly brew it again (changing extract to base malt, etc.), and it may be better, may be worse, but it won't be the same.

It's worth noting that while people have said it was my best brew, it wasn't by miles and miles my best brew - just better than the others. I'm out of the others, otherwise I'd send those. I don't have anything else ready for submission other than that and a cyser (I have to test that tonight, because I may very well submit that one), and just want to have SOME feedback on my brewing. This brew didn't come out all that different than my others, just more went into it and it turned out better. And aged well, which is a big part of it.

I don't think I'll win a medal or anything, it isn't that. I just know that on a 1-10 scale of my brewing alone, this would be a 10, and I've had some 9s and 8s. I want to be able to see how that scale translates into a competition score. Hell, it may be a 25, it may be a 45. I don't know. Just want to be able to get a feel for how it relates, you know?

With all that said, you guys make some really good points... I'll have to think on it...

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyebrau View Post
want to have SOME feedback on my brewing
This being the case, I would normally recommend submitting the beer. If the judge gives you good feedback, it could potentially lead to you brewing a better beer. My concern is that if you didn't take enough notes, you would not know what you did right or wrong. Additionally, you did mention making fairly large changes to your brewing process (temperature control and switching to all-grain). I'm not sure that the comments will have much relevance to your current brewing process.
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