Never - 52%
Multiple times a year - 24%
Once a year - 11%
Less than once a year - 10%
Monthly - 0%
It seems like homebrewing competitions are becoming more popular than ever these days, especially with the announcement that the 2010 National Homebrew Competition drew 6,148 entries, up more than 500 from last year (luckily I didn't have to enter in the Northeast or Midwest regions which, for the first time, hit the cap of 750 entries). I'm not sure if this rise in entries is a result of more people participating in the hobby, more publicity and emphasis on competing/winning (Jamil Effect?), or some other factor.
Despite all those entries into just one competition, more than half of the respondents to the poll indicated that they never enter their beers in competition. I would assume that the high percentage is partly due to this blog's focus on brewing off-style beers. However, despite my complaints, I tend to enter at least one BJCP sanctioned contest a year, and have done pretty well with my entries the last couple years (still waiting to hear back on my NHC entries this year). I have plenty of friends who aren't the competition types, but even if I don't love the "brewing to sytle" format I do enjoy the excitement of competing (and winning) once or twice a year. Looking at the numbers it appears that most of the people who enter contests do it pretty frequently, so maybe some people have that competitive bug while others don't.
While the one-size-fits-all BJCP guideline based judging has always been a complaint of mine, one of my biggest suggestions for a competition would be to have people submit a recipe/process sheet along with their entry. The extra information wouldn't be looked at until after judging/scoring is complete (so as not to bias the judges), but could be used to help the judges provide accurate and helpful suggestions for improving low scoring beers or tweaking higher scoring entries. There is nothing that makes me feel more foolish as a judge than trying to guess where an off-flavor might have come from (is that chlorophenol from chlorine in the water, or did the brewer use beach to sanitize their equipment?), and there is nothing more frustrating for me as an entrant than getting a score sheet back that has a bunch of suggestions that don't apply to my beer ("watch sanitation" when I entered an lightly funky saison etc...). Just a thought.
So are the 52% of you who never enter contests just against the notion/cost/effort of entering, or are you not satisfied with how contests are setup/run/judged?
The new poll up on the blog is: Best way to add fruit flavor to a beer?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Never - 52%