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SOBA National Homebrew Competition 2012 - Official Thread

I like writing "official thread". It makes me feel like I can now sue people wanting to use those words in combination a la Rugby World Cup or London Olympics! But no, we at SOBA don't really do evil too well. We do beer though, which brings me to:


After a lot of mucking about on my part (for which I humbly apologise) and the fact that most of you already know anyway, I'm officially announcing the SOBA NHC 2012. Head on over to the not-quite-done-yet-but-pretty-sexy website where you can log in using your SOBA login (if you're a member - that's the one you use at http://www.soba.org.nz/member/) or you can use facebook, twitter, or google+ to login. This competition is all cutting edge and social media, and other buzzwords!

One exciting thing about this year's competition is that we have no awards ceremony planned. They are always very regional, and Murphy's Law always dictates that they are as far away as possible from whoever took out Champion Brewer. Instead, we hope to offer value to our sponsors and remove stress from you, our competitors, by announcing the results live to the various social media platforms as they come in! Obviously the "big" winners will still have to wait until everything is tallied up, but medals will be announced as they are judged.

Another change (not yet on the website as we're still working on the points algorithm) is that points will be deducted from non-medal-winning beers. This won't matter to those not competing for the coveted Champion Brewer title, but to those who are, it will mean that entering twenty beers is only a good idea if you're sure they are nearly all of medal winning standard. We think this is a lot more fair to those who enter three beers, and all get gold, versus someone who enters ten beer, gets three silvers, two bronzes, and five drain-pours! ;) Good brewers, nay CHAMPION brewers are consistent brewers, and we want to reward that consistency this year.

A last point is that we've raised the entry fee. I know, I can hear the groaning! To get the top judges we need, we have to be prepared to get them to the competition. Flights ain't cheap, but we thought you'd all prefer judges who really know their beer, and we need to fund that. The good news is that if you are a SOBA member, even if you only join to enter this competition, you'll get a good chunky discount on your entry fee.

Right, that's all from me for now. Remember, you can enter your beers as soon as you like on the website, but official entries open October 13th. We can't accept delivery of beer prior to that date, so if any turns up before then, we'll just drink it! So, feel free to enter now, but don't send any bottles until the 13th!


Greig McGill



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Awesome, I missed out last year but looking forward to having a crack this year.

Would we get away with 1 750ml bottle of each entry like last year? I've only been putting 1 away from each batch that I'd like to enter.

Sorry, but no. In 2010 we frequently asked for re-pours when we suspected a bottle-based infection and wanted to give the brewer the benefit of the doubt. We also use the second bottle for re-judging if the beer makes it through to champion brewer round.

It's been two bottles every year. I'm not entirely sure of the rationale behind last year's organisers switching to one bottle, but this should be viewed as an anomaly and not ongoing policy. :)

Thanks for organising it this year.  The rule changes are all good, though it wouldn't have changed the results last year.  Zane only had a few beers entered and won. (well done again Zane!)

Another thing that was in the rules last year that could be a candidate for review was the rule that only beers brewed by one person were eligable for the champion brewer award.  All the beers that come out of our brewery are co-brewed by my partner and I.  As long as the same team were involved in the brewing of all of the beers that contribute points toward the champion brewer award then I think that it should be permitted.  What do you think??

I think that's a very fair point. Not sure what was behind the original thinking. I'll have a chat to Stu, Brendon, and Rob, who were behind the original rules and get the thinking. I'll get back to you... or we'll comment here!

As promised, here's the answer:

"It was to stop potential gaming of the system. What if Bob and I both brew 2 awesome beers each. we know that isn't likely to take out the title and we are good friends so we are prepared to share in the glory and prestige so we claim that we collaboratively brewed 4 beers instead. We then take out the title, etc, etc.

Now also let's say we let Dick in on our ingenious idea for the next year and all 3 of us collaborate together to take out the title...

The champion beer can be a collaboration so is it really a big deal?"

Also, the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to agree that Champion Brewer really should be a single person. Kudos and bragging rights just seem more "pure" that way, even if you ignore the point about gaming above.

OK.  At least now I can enter our poorer beers without fear of loosing points.  Those are the ones we need fedback on the most!



What about removing the rule that says all brewers involved in the brewing have to be listed.  I have to admit to being tempted to just put one of our names on it last year so that we would be eligable.  (we didnt though, the shame of cheating would have been too much (as it should be for Bob and Dick in the example above.))


this is all academic anyway, the chances of us winning are not all that high.

Yeah, and the NZ brewing community is small enough that most cheating would come out in time. :)

Nope, we'll keep the all brewers listed rule, even though it works on the honour system.

Hi Greig. The site looks awesome.

On this issue, my thinking (all be it a newby brewer thought) is that future events could include a collaboration category of some description. One of the things I love about home-brewing is the sharing caring community behind it, and maybe there should be a category that celebrates home-brewers that get together to make top notch brews.

Hi Greig, the new site looks great.

I had a question about styles (by the way you can't see what they are until you go to enter). Are there notes for the NZ specific styles somewhere? I'm especially interested in 0e NZ pale ale, and wondering if it spans up to NZIPAs as well, or if NZIPAs should be lumped into 14a or b (though 14b specifically states american hop aromas and flavours)...

Having a meeting tonight to sort this out. I'll add a link to styles before you go to enter. There WILL be separate styles for NZ versions of things.

Cheers Greig, thanks to you and the others for all your work on this.


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