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Competition Advice

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JayTeeDee

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Hi,

I'm from Birmingham, AL as you may know is one of the last states in the country other than Mississippi to finally legalize home brewing (not that the law stopped folk from doing it anyway). Legal status has really opened up a lot more opportunities for local brewers and one of our local craft breweries will be hosting a home brew competition the first in the city or possibly even the state. I've only been brewing for a couple years now but everyone who has tasted my beer (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) has told me how good it is. I'm of course my own worse critic so I continue to try to do better with each batch. Sometimes I do experiment with different flavors, I've been really good at IPA's especially with adding Rye Malts. I would really like to enter but I do have some apprehension about it because I'm still an extract brewer and the home brew shop where I get my ingredients from mostly sells close clones of beers that are already on the market like Sierra Nevada, Blue Moon, etc. Those are great for home consumption but I don't know if I get something from them if its good enough for competition. That and I don't want to enter with a stolen recipe that my home brew shop owner created but I'm not that experienced yet to select my own grain bills and malts to create flavors. So my question to the forum is what do you think, should I a second year extract brewer enter a first annual home brew competition with a kit bought from the brew shop or should I skip this year to learn more and maybe go for it next year?

Thanks in a advance for the feedback.
 

stpug

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If you'd like feedback on YOUR brewing process, then enter. Anyone can turn a great recipe into a terrible beer; but not everyone can make a good recipe into a great beer. It doesn't matter if you brew extract, partial mash, all grain; use a wood stove, propane burner, or stovetop. It's about YOUR process. If your process has flaws, they will be noticed and noted in a competition and this will help you learn to become a better brewer (or, at least, this is the theory :D).
 

scottballz

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If you'd like feedback on YOUR brewing process, then enter. Anyone can turn a great recipe into a terrible beer; but not everyone can make a good recipe into a great beer. It doesn't matter if you brew extract, partial mash, all grain; use a wood stove, propane burner, or stovetop. It's about YOUR process. If your process has flaws, they will be noticed and noted in a competition and this will help you learn to become a better brewer (or, at least, this is the theory :D).
Totally agree! The only way to learn from your mistakes is to know that you are actually making them. Get some feedback from people who don't know you and aren't afraid to tell you what you are doing wrong.
 

GrogNerd

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and, being about your process, it doesn't matter where you get your recipe. i'd be floccing honored if someone won a comp using my recipe. means I can add "award winning" to the name

go ahead and enter. what have you got to lose but the price of entry (and packaging and postage)?

good luck!
 

butterpants

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A month ago I entered a Dunkelweizen into the Rocky Mountain Homebrew Challenge. I had only been brewing since February. It was an extract kit. It won a gold medal.

The above statments about it being a process thing and not recipe contest are correct. Proper judging feedback can be invaluable to your brewing.

Enter as many BJCP based contests as you can!
 

BierMuncher

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A - Don't ever hesitate to get objective feedback on your beer.

B - Don't hurry to clear off the mantle for all your medals and trophies.

Speaking from experience, a lot of sobering reality has to set in, in the form of lower than expected scores and blunt critique, before you can begin accumulating hardware for your beers.

Assume the judges are more knowledgable than you and take their feedback and adjust your brewing process accordingly.

V V THIS...is the reality of early homebrew competitions V V

ScoreBars.jpg
 

butterpants

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A - Don't ever hesitate to get objective feedback on your beer.

B - Don't hurry to clear off the mantle for all your medals and trophies.

Speaking from experience, a lot of sobering reality has to set in, in the form of lower than expected scores and blunt critique, before you can begin accumulating hardware for your beers.

Assume the judges are more knowledgable than you and take their feedback and adjust your brewing process accordingly.

V V THIS...is the reality of early homebrew competitions V V
Some of that too is in the BJCP guidelines and realizing that's the sole basis and stringently adhered to when judging.

An amazing beer not to style gets crap scores. Best beer I judged in my first comp got a 25. If it was entered into Amber instead of America Pale it would have had a 40.
 

FuzzeWuzze

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Also from what i've heard from Jamil you really have to take the region into consideration.

What the Midwest might consider an IPA isnt necessarily the same as the mouth puckering IPA's we see here in the PNW.
 

phuff7129

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Also from what i've heard from Jamil you really have to take the region into consideration.

What the Midwest might consider an IPA isnt necessarily the same as the mouth puckering IPA's we see here in the PNW.
Right because no one from the Midwest has ever had a West Coast IPA. :confused:
 
OP
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JayTeeDee

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This is all great advice. I feel better about entering now and of course I hope I place. But all in all I just want to become better at it and definitely get some real feedback from my brewing peers.

Thanks.
 

FuzzeWuzze

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Right because no one from the Midwest has ever had a West Coast IPA. :confused:
Thats not what i meant, i just meant that each region tends to have their own flavor profile of what an IPA or any other style is...

With how wide open some of the styles are you can have vastly different tasting beers that fit the style 100% and get scored completely different.

Just like if you ask someone from New York and Texas what BBQ is your going to get two totally different answers...:mug:
 

Begin2Brew

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I would say go for it!

You know you could give 10 home brewers 10 exact kits and get 10 different beers. You could also give them 10 more and have 10 more different beers. I have learned that beer is so much more than just the ingredients.
 

gr8shandini

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. . .
Just like if you ask someone from New York and Texas what BBQ is your going to get two totally different answers...:mug:
Not surprising, but neither of them know what real barbecue is about. Carolina FTW!! (albeit coming from a damned Yankee who's been all around the South).

To the OP, don't feel inferior because you're "just" an extract brewer. All grain makes for cheaper ingredients at gives you an extra little bit of control, but you can definitely make a world-class beer from extract.
 

phuff7129

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Thats not what i meant, i just meant that each region tends to have their own flavor profile of what an IPA or any other style is...

With how wide open some of the styles are you can have vastly different tasting beers that fit the style 100% and get scored completely different.

Just like if you ask someone from New York and Texas what BBQ is your going to get two totally different answers...:mug:
I know. I was just being a smart ass. I hate it when I do that. Sorry.
 
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