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Cheating at Brewing Competition

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Kalaloch

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Random thought...
When someone is entering a brewing competition what stops someone from entering a really good commercial beer as their submition? If they took off the label with PBW how would anyone know?
 

myndflyte

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Don't most commercial beers have some sort of decorative or identifying cap? The rules, for at least the National Homebrew Competition state: Bottles and caps must be free from labels, tape or any identifying marks.
 

motosapiens

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IMHO most commercial beer isn't good enough to win anyways.
agreed.

I've yet to taste a packaged commercial beer that I thought was as good as good homebrew. I've had some on tap, but never in a can or bottle.

and what would be the point? fabulous prizes? Getting to share your recipe in zymurgy magazine? lol.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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The entry rules clearly state that the entered beer is made with equiptment and ingredients redily available to home brewers. In other word not made in a commercial brewery. There is an expectation that homebrewers enter with integrity. Is there a test to prevent someone from doing what OP describes? No. Is most commercial beer going to fit within the guidelines? No. Could most judges be fooled? I'm thinking not likely. One final question, would one feel accomplished winning by cheating? I would not.
 

beernutz

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Random thought...
When someone is entering a brewing competition what stops someone from entering a really good commercial beer as their submition? If they took off the label with PBW how would anyone know?
The answer IMO is nothing.

You could strip a label and recap, perhaps even displacing the empty space in the bottle with CO2 before recapping. You could also bottle from a commercial keg and cap. Almost all of my competition entries are bottled straight from a corny keg.

If winning ribbons and medals is the entrant's only goal and they lack integrity then nothing is stopping them that I can see.
 
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TallDan

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Random thought...
When someone is entering a brewing competition what stops someone from entering a really good commercial beer as their submition? If they took off the label with PBW how would anyone know?
Nothing more than the honesty of the person entering.
Don't most commercial beers have some sort of decorative or identifying cap? The rules, for at least the National Homebrew Competition state: Bottles and caps must be free from labels, tape or any identifying marks.
Caps can be blacked out per the rules. Many, if not most, homebrewers could carefully repackage the beer or fill their own bottles from a keg.
IMHO most commercial beer isn't good enough to win anyways.
Well, neither is most homebrew! (hundreds or thousands of entries, one BOS)

There are certainly commercial beers that could win homebrew competitions though.
agreed.

I've yet to taste a packaged commercial beer that I thought was as good as good homebrew. I've had some on tap, but never in a can or bottle.

and what would be the point? fabulous prizes? Getting to share your recipe in zymurgy magazine? lol.
There is nothing about commercial vs home production that inherently makes better beer.

But I quoted you for your better point, there is little to gain other than bragging rights. Why would someone pay for beer and pay for contest entry? The value of the prizes times the odds of winning is less than the cost of entry.
The entry rules clearly state that the entered beer is made with equiptment and ingredients redily available to home brewers. In other word not made in a commercial brewery. There is an expectation that homebrewers enter with integrity. Is there a test to prevent someone from doing what OP describes? No. Is most commercial beer going to fit within the guidelines? No. Could most judges be fooled? I'm thinking not likely. One final question, would one feel accomplished winning by cheating? I would not.
I don't think you'd be "fooling" the judges. They would judge the beer and give it an appropriate score. One could even enter a commercial beer in the clone category. Even IF the judge decided that it tasted EXACTLY like a commercial beer that they knew, it would not be entirely unexpected and wouldn't be reason for disqualification.
 

jekeane

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Random thought...
When someone is entering a brewing competition what stops someone from entering a really good commercial beer as their submition? If they took off the label with PBW how would anyone know?

Nothing stopping them. Most competitions on have medals as prizes so there isn't much point but people will still do it. I am pretty involved in the Florida competition circuit as a brewer and a judge. I would guess in a 600 entry competition six or so beers are commercial beers or homebrew blended with a commercial beer. The homebrew blending thing never occurred to me until someone told me they had done it on more than one occasion.
 

motosapiens

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There is nothing about commercial vs home production that inherently makes better beer.
i think freshness and control over handling are huge advantages for homebrew. Much of my homebrew is consumed pretty quickly, but even the bottles that are 6-months or a year old have not been subjected to wide temperature swings or other maltreatment.

admittedly if you get your commercial packaged beer at the brewery, it may have similar advantages over store-bought beer.... but I'm still not convinced it tastes any better than home-made.
 

Smellyglove

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How can one say that commercial beers aren't good enough to win competitions when they are the reference? Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier not good enough? It's one of the references which homebrewers are trying to match.
 

MaxStout

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If you want to find out what a couple BJCP judges think of a particular commercial beer, why not just invite them over for beers and ask them? Otherwise, by entering it in a comp you have really accomplished nothing, except wasting a submission fee and the time of the judges.

You're only cheating yourself.
 

mongoose33

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Posters above have asked what would be the point of cheating, and it's clear why they do this homebrewing thing. They're interested in creating, and that creation is their own. Win honestly or not at all.

And yet, as to the why: I've seen people who cheat at golf in competitions. Why?

Used to play in a small-time poker game. Friends having a couple beers, enjoying the game. One guy cheated. Caught him holding out a card (a K or an A) under his leg and using it to his advantage. Why? He's forever branded a cheater, and I've told the story times.

***************

Why do people cheat? Jealousy of those who can win without cheating. Adulation. Reputation.

But when they look in the mirror at the end of the day, they know what they see looking back at them.
 
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treacheroustexan

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I've given this some thought. Let me just say, I would never do it, but keep reading.. I'd just be curious to see how an actual "bud light" would compare in scoring to an actual homebrew lager in a competition if the judge didn't know they were drinking bud light.
 

FloppyKnockers

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I've given this some thought. Let me just say, I would never do it, but keep reading.. I'd just be curious to see how an actual "bud light" would compare in scoring to an actual homebrew lager in a competition if the judge didn't know they were drinking bud light.
I would think it would score quite well until the diarrhea kicks in.
 

motosapiens

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How can one say that commercial beers aren't good enough to win competitions when they are the reference? Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier not good enough? It's one of the references which homebrewers are trying to match.
If you could get a fresh one, it would probably do fine. In my experience, hefeweizen is a fairly easy style, and the imported bottled ones are no better than the ones I make (according to non bjcp tasters such as my swmbo and friends, in blind tastings).
 

Smellyglove

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If you could get a fresh one, it would probably do fine. In my experience, hefeweizen is a fairly easy style, and the imported bottled ones are no better than the ones I make (according to non bjcp tasters such as my swmbo and friends, in blind tastings).
IMHO Hefeweizens are not easy, but rather extemely difficult. But I bet you'd get the same answer from anyone who tries to nail any other style. Everybody can get a certain beer in the ballpark, but after that it's about the nuances. If the reference is "old"/or exported the threshold for whats good is a bit lower. Where I come from most Hefes score about 22-29. A few ones sniff on the 40'ies. But those are one out of 40 maybe. 29 is not great. My target for Hefes is 40+.
 

motosapiens

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IMHO Hefeweizens are not easy, but rather extemely difficult. But I bet you'd get the same answer from anyone who tries to nail any other style. Everybody can get a certain beer in the ballpark, but after that it's about the nuances. If the reference is "old"/or exported the threshold for whats good is a bit lower. Where I come from most Hefes score about 22-29. A few ones sniff on the 40'ies. But those are one out of 40 maybe. 29 is not great. My target for Hefes is 40+.
dunno nuthin' bout scores, but 98% of commercial american hefeweizen i've had is crap and tastes absolutely nothing like weihenstephaner or any of the other german brands. My impressions are based purely on living there for 6 years and drinking lots of hefeweizen (and doing blind triangle tests with friends).
 

ericbw

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“Commercial beer won’t win homebrew contests,” but they win a number of awards at GABF, etc.

Something doesn’t add up. (Homebrew isn’t inherently better than commercial.)
 

dmtaylor

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Random thought...
When someone is entering a brewing competition what stops someone from entering a really good commercial beer as their submition? If they took off the label with PBW how would anyone know?
I've always wanted to do this for educational purposes. I haven't though.
 
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