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Homebrewing for Competition - BrewChatter LIVE June 27th, 2020

Join us as we talk all about Homebrew Competitions and see the Show Notes below!
Brewing For Homebrew Competitions Show Notes
  • Welcome Everyone
  • Say What We Are Drinking, Ask What they are drinking
    • We are drinking BrewChatter Barleywine that’s 6 years old, brewed at our very first AHA Homebrew event.  It’s fucking delicious.
  • What’s new with the shop
    • BrewChatter Rentals is LIVE RIGHT NOW!!!!!  Go and rent some stuff!  
      • More products and rentals coming July
    • NVBC Announcements
      • Last day for dropoffs Tuesday 6.30.20
      • Lots of entries, call for judges
      • Everybody should steward if they can because it’s fun and you learn a lot
      • Sponsors List Shout Out
      • Best of Show gets to brew their beer with Pigeon Head
    • New Live Schedule
      • With Summer coming up, we thought we’d change up our LIVE broadcast times so everyone can watch!
      • New timeframe is every other Thursday at 6 pm!  Hopefully this will get everyone pumped for the weekend brews they are creating and we’ll be able to have a beer together to prep for the weekend!
      • Polls will happen on Sunday at noon and go until the following Sunday.

Dive Into Brewing for Competition

  • Why Compete?
    • It’s all about feedback.  Put in your best or your worst, but expect killer feedback from people who actually give a shit.  Deep feedback from people who are trained and know what they’re talking about
    • I like to enter beers that I don’t think are right, but can’t figure out why
    • Winning is always cool, and a perk, but everybody is a winner because of the killer feedback.  The whole point is to brew better beer
    • Get un-biased feedback.  These guys aren’t here to hurt your feelings, they don’t care if you’re butthurt, they are just going to give you good, honest feedback on whatever you put in.  It’s beautiful.
  • Brewing for Competition
    • Brew to style, but just a little harder
    • You have to add that little extra something to your beer to make it stand out.  A perfect beer isn’t necessarily the winner
      • We’ve seen double IPAs win the IPA category, so that tells you how brewing for comp works.  You really have to nail the style, and stand out at the same time.
    • Focus on process, simplicity, and quality.  Use highest quality ingredients (only available from BrewChatter)
    • Fresh ingredients, good process is what makes the difference
    • Read Brewing Classic Styles because it nails everything about brewing for competition and gives you recipes, extract and all grain, for every style
  • Brewing Inside or Outside of the box - How Scoring Works
    • You should brew what you want, and what you like.  If you’re brewing for competition, you can either try to nail a specific style using the guidelines and a Brewing Classic Style recipe as a baseline (why reinvent the wheel?)
    • Your beer will be judged to the exact guidelines of the category that you put it in.  So if you brewed an IPA that was hazy, and you put it in the 21A Category instead of 21B New England, then you are not going to get the score you might have received if it was in the right category
    • Be honest with yourself about what style your beer really fits into.  Drink it and taste it, have your friends taste it, take it to your LHBS and have them taste it, then put it into the category that it fits into the best.  Even if you wanted an IPA, be honest with yourself - if it’s more of a pale ale, then enter it accordingly
    • Familiarize yourself with the categories.  Download the app (there are tons) so you have easy access to the info
  • How Judging Works
    • You can get a maximum of 50 total points per beer (this doesn’t happen, lol)
    • Judges are usually paired, then judge each beer together and meet in the middle on the overall score.  This is because everyone’s palette and skill level are different, and this helps you get better feedback because they are bouncing what they taste off of eachother and trying to find all of the nuance and flavors.
    • You will be judged on the following criteria:
      • Aroma - a total of 12 points
        • Malt - Does the malt aroma match the style you entered
        • Hops - Does the hop aroma match the style you entered
        • Fermentation - like can you smell alcohol and is it appropriate
        • Other - If the judges smell any off flavors like diacetyl
      • Appearance - a total of 3 points - this probably won’t make or break you!
        • Color - this is by eye only.  Most judges are great with color, but aren’t going to be able to say well, this is 6 srm and it really should be closer to 7 or 8.  They aren’t testing it with mass spec, just looking at it to see if it’s about right
        • Clarity - is it clear when it should be hazy, etc
        • Head Retention - how does the head act, and is it appropriate
        • Texture - Is it smooth, thick, gritty, full of yeast chunks?  Are yeast chunks appropriate to the style?
        • Other - Anything else that the judges want to comment on 
      • Flavor - a total of 20 points - this will make or break you!
        • Malt - How much and, you guessed it, is it appropriate?
        • Hops - Same
        • Bitterness - too little?  Too much? Appropriate?
        • Fermentation - did it ferment hot?  Is it clean?  Expand on this more
        • Balance - is it too bitter or too malty to fit the style you entered it in?
        • Finish/Aftertaste - Is it dry?  Sweet?  Is this appropriate?
        • Other - Any other notes that the judges want to make on the flavor
      • Mouthfeel - a total of 5 points
        • Body - is it thin, balanced or Full?  Appropriate?
        • Creaminess - Is it creamy or is it more astringent?
        • Carbonation - High or low level?  Appropriate?
        • Warmth - Is it alcoholic?  Higher alcohols?  Appropriate?
        • Astringency - Is it too astringent, meaning tannic and harsh/bitter.  Expand on the concept of astringency and how it’s linked to tannins.  Wine examples work well here.
        • Other - Any other notes on mouthfeel that the judge wants you to know about
      • Overall - 10 points.  This is where the judges put everything from the top together into a cohesive concept of your beer
        • Is it a Classic Example or is it Not to Style, or somewhere in between?
        • Is it a flawless beer, does it have significant flaws, or somewhere in between?
        • Is it Wonderful or Lifeless?  I love the simplicity of this explanation
        • Feedback!
          • This is the part that we are all waiting for!  This is where the judges tell you exactly what they thought about your beer and why, including suggestions for improvement and other thoughts.