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Brewing For The Competition

Posted by Stephanie on

Straight from the Winner's Circle -- here is their recommendation brewing and entering your homebrew into one of the many competitions this year.  

1.Presentation – Presentation – Presentation ----- Some of the things judges look for right away are the clarity of the beer and the level of carbonation. It's very important to make sure your beer is carbonated correctly. If the judges open up a beer and it's a foamier or if it's flat, that goes a long way to ruling your beer out. Pick the best looking bottles and fill them to the proper level 1 ½ “ from top

2.Brew to style.

  • First determine the style you want to brew. (Note it may not be the style you actually brew!)
  • Keep a close eye on developing the correct original gravity, final gravity, and color of the beer for the style. All grain brewers have the advantage on light-colored beers – hard to keep the correct SRM with extract.
  • Brew the big beer. Big beer is generally at the high end of the scale for the style. Brew a balanced beer that has a high starting gravity and a high hop rate for the style. Don’t make the judges search for the characteristics in your beer.
  • Carefully choose the variety of hops, grains, water treatment, and yeast strain to give the beer the proper characteristics.If brewing an English style use English malts and hops.
  • Establish time line.Some beers, such as barleywines, strong ales, and doppelbocks, can take six months to a year or more to peak, while other styles, such as pale ales and bitters, usually peak in freshness after three to six weeks in the bottle.
  • Taste taste and evaluate your beers before you enter them into a competition. Enter your beer in the style it is at the time of bottling – not what you planned.
  • Submit many entries. The more entries you submit, the greater your chances of winning.
  • Research the competition.West Coast = hoppy. Midwest = strong German brewing influence that tends to emphasize less-hoppy styles of lagers. Northeast leans toward English styles, particularly the heavy ales such as English old ales, Scottish strong ale, and barleywine. In Florida they brew ales with a lot of hop character.

3. Shipping

  • Use your best bottles; you want to make a good first impression.
  • Ship the right number of bottles. Most homebrew competitions require three for each entry.
  • Pack well. Use bubble wrap or popcorn packing. Place one box within another if necessary.
  • Don't label your package "beer." Call it "perishable food products" or another generic name.
  • Use a private carrier such as UPS or Federal Express. Do not us US Postal Service.
  • Don't ship over a weekend. Your package may sit on a hot truck

Style 10B – Dunkles Weissbier (BJCP 2015)

  • Malts At least 50% (up to 70%) of grist from malted wheat.Munich and Vienna for malt character.A bit of Caramel & Pilsen. NO Roasted Barley.
  • Yeast – typical spicy and fruity with moderate clove and banana.Low vanilla or bubblegum may be present but must not dominate.
  • Hop aroma – low to none.Lightly floral, spicy or herbal.IBU 10 - 18
  • Appearance – Light copper to mahogany.Thick long lasting off white head.Suspended yeast. SRM 14 – 23.
  • Mouthfeel – Medium light to medium full.Fluffy.Creamy fullness.Moderate to high carbonation
  • OG 1.044-1.056.FG 1.010-1.014ABV 4.3% – 5.6%


If you were brewing this for a competition, what ABV, IBU and SRM would you shoot for?

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