BJCP Competition Thoughts and Tips/Pointers
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    So you want to enter a beer in a competition huh? I have learned a lot about comps over the years, what I expected and what I found to be truth was vastly different.

    I sent a couple beers to my first comp that were fantastic tasting and sat back waiting to reap my medals!

    Boy was I wrong......

    I got the feedback and score sheets and was disheartened, how could a beer this yummy score a 27?!?

    The answer was in the notes, great tasting beers don't fit in BJCP categories very often and I was just learning this truth.

    I learned that a BJCP brewing comp has nothing to do with great tasting beer, it has everything to do with brewing SKILL.

    The simple truth:

    you like English milds? Your favorite recipe may not be what will win you gold, Read the description of what they say a mild is all about, design a recipe that exactly personifies that description, then brew it.... By the numbers, exact temps, exact times, exact volumes and amounts.

    If the description says low carbonation with minimal head and your favorite one pours a rocky head that lasts the full pint, guess what, points lost. A sip should yield chocolate and toffee, with hints of coffee, and damned it your example had better have exactly that.

    This is why I say it's all about brewing skill, being able to brew a beer to have an exact flavor profile. Once this is understood the knowledge can help you brew better beer that you actually want instead of to a style.

    Because there are only so many categories, if you want to improve your chances of simply grabbing a gold, don't brew something crazy popular, go for a beer a little off the radar, like a kolsh or a roggenbier. Fewer entries mean you stand a better chance of standing out, having a beer score a 37 may net you gold in roggenbier, but a 37 in IPA might not even make the cut with 10,000 other entries, sure a 37 is a good score, but maybe gold was a beer that collectively scored a 3 judge average of 38.5 silver was a 38, and bronze was a 37.5.

    I also feel a comp is a good diagnostic tool, if you are fighting an off flavor or common issue that you can't nail down maybe try entering it in a competition, and let the judges diagnose the beer with their refined palate. This should point you in the right direction at least.

    Anyone else have thoughts on competitions?
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 49,708
    It's also really important to consider the condition of the beer before and after you ship it. It may be the perfect pint before you ship it, but if you're dealing with freezing Chicago winters or blazing hot desert temps anywhere in the shipping route, the beer that they're judging may be vastly different from what you sent.

    The pinnacle of lame and awesome in one singular moment. -Lake
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 122,063
    pretty good summary of the way it works scoob.

    of course if you miss the style and it tastes awesome, who really cares?
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Lakewood said:

    pretty good summary of the way it works scoob.

    of course if you miss the style and it tastes awesome, who really cares?



    Exactly, I think brewers enter comps like I did early on hoping that great taste equates to gold medals, then they start in with all the "those judges wouldn't know a good beer from a bucket of snot" complaints.

    Really their beers were likely out of style.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    Yup..... compliance with THEIR style guidelines is all that matters .....
    Buddy of mine scored very low ... a judge had the gall to note that it may well have been the best beer he had ever tasted ... but was too dark ... had too much hop aroma ... and wasn't crystal clear .... boo
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 122,063
    ceannt said:

    Yup..... compliance with THEIR style guidelines is all that matters .....
    Buddy of mine scored very low ... a judge had the gall to note that it may well have been the best beer he had ever tasted ... but was too dark ... had too much hop aroma ... and wasn't crystal clear .... boo



    I'd take it as a compliment, but in the end, he probably could have found a different category, described his "intent" and gotten a much better placing.

    It goes against the objectives of the competition, but you can always find a home for what you made.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Many times I have wanted to soak the label off the empirical commercial example of a style, recap it and see how accurate the judges really are.

    Integrity has prevented me from actually doing this, but I sometimes wonder.....
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 88,687
    azscoob said:

    Many times I have wanted to soak the label off the empirical commercial example of a style, recap it and see how accurate the judges really are.

    Integrity has prevented me from actually doing this, but I sometimes wonder.....


    That's a great idea. I don't know what that integrity word is...
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 122,063
    C_dubbs said:

    azscoob said:

    Many times I have wanted to soak the label off the empirical commercial example of a style, recap it and see how accurate the judges really are.

    Integrity has prevented me from actually doing this, but I sometimes wonder.....


    That's a great idea. I don't know what that integrity word is...

    that would be all sorts of wrong
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    I wanted to do that with some of the Mountaineer brewing companies offerings... just so I could give them the score sheets to show them how much their beer sucked
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 122,063
    ceannt said:

    I wanted to do that with some of the Mountaineer brewing companies offerings... just so I could give them the score sheets to show them how much their beer sucked



    Ha!
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    ceannt said:

    I wanted to do that with some of the Mountaineer brewing companies offerings... just so I could give them the score sheets to show them how much their beer sucked



    Ha! And they are commercial brewers?
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 53,828
    azscoob said:

    ceannt said:

    I wanted to do that with some of the Mountaineer brewing companies offerings... just so I could give them the score sheets to show them how much their beer sucked



    Ha! And they are commercial brewers?


    Were ..... lasted about 5 years ... beer was so bad they went under
    Never attribute to malice, that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    ceannt said:

    azscoob said:

    ceannt said:

    I wanted to do that with some of the Mountaineer brewing companies offerings... just so I could give them the score sheets to show them how much their beer sucked



    Ha! And they are commercial brewers?


    Were ..... lasted about 5 years ... beer was so bad they went under


    Yay!
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    ceannt said:

    I wanted to do that with some of the Mountaineer brewing companies offerings... just so I could give them the score sheets to show them how much their beer sucked



    Their beer does suck. Very dissapointing.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,454
    The lables sucked too.
  • Evan_BEvan_B
    Posts: 312
    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.
    Amigo, lay them raises down.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 122,063
    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • Evan_BEvan_B
    Posts: 312
    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    I had to mail my entry to a brewery, and the "don't ask, don't tellers" asked me... so I told :(
    Amigo, lay them raises down.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 122,063
    Evan_B said:

    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    I had to mail my entry to a brewery, and the "don't ask, don't tellers" asked me... so I told :(


    oops. it's weird 'cause people mail entries into brewing competitions all the time.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • Evan_BEvan_B
    Posts: 312
    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    I had to mail my entry to a brewery, and the "don't ask, don't tellers" asked me... so I told :(


    oops. it's weird 'cause people mail entries into brewing competitions all the time.


    I just think the Don't Ask-er was new and had not yet learned some of the unwritten rules.
    Amigo, lay them raises down.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 122,063
    Evan_B said:

    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    I had to mail my entry to a brewery, and the "don't ask, don't tellers" asked me... so I told :(


    oops. it's weird 'cause people mail entries into brewing competitions all the time.


    I just think the Don't Ask-er was new and had not yet learned some of the unwritten rules.


    you should have gotten in line for the next clerk
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    Yeast samples is my go to description.
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • Evan_BEvan_B
    Posts: 312
    azscoob said:

    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    Yeast samples is my go to description.


    Ahhh! Thats a good one. I am going to try that.

    That is of course you don't mind me poaching?
    Amigo, lay them raises down.
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Evan_B said:

    azscoob said:

    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    Yeast samples is my go to description.


    Ahhh! Thats a good one. I am going to try that.

    That is of course you don't mind me poaching?


    Open source brew knowledge my friend... Poach away!
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 88,687
    azscoob said:

    Evan_B said:

    azscoob said:

    Lakewood said:

    Evan_B said:

    I was GOING to mail a few bottles to a stout only competition in Colorado, but was told by anyone with the capability to ship it there that they lacked the capability to ship alcohol. Normally this is not a problem sending to friends and what not, but when it has a breweries name on the front the of the box it is hard to stretch the truth,

    Anyways... three more bottles for me to drink.



    im pretty sure UPS has a "dont ask, dont tell" policy. Just don't write "BEER" on the outside of the box.


    Yeast samples is my go to description.


    Ahhh! Thats a good one. I am going to try that.

    That is of course you don't mind me poaching?


    Open source brew knowledge my friend... Poach away!

    Great reference. GREAT reference.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants