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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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I've received a 0 score on two of my beers with no comments (15A/043/142 and 0F/043/143). I don't think they were that bad... Greig, can you please at least say why they were given a 0 score?

Hey Malcolm - check out this page on the NHC blog for an explanation of this year's scoring system.  It might answer your query before anyone on the judging or organising team has the breathing space to shoot you a reply.

Cheers Tilt,

Yeah I've had a look at that page. The thing is, it doesn't say anywhere that they were "problematic". They were pretty good beers (many were consumed yesterday to see what the judges would be tasting) and were worth entering. If the scoring is correct then the only thing I can think of is heat damage from transporting.

Hey Malcolm. The scores on the website don't have comments, there are scoresheets that get posted out which have the comments. I imagine you might have to wait for those for the explanation.

Hey Malcolm.  As Matt stated, the sheets will have the info. Zeros were given for infections. Our table (Kelly Ryan, Dale Holland, and myself) only issued one zero over both days. That said, Table 4 (Kieran Haslett-Moore, Albrecht Von Wallmoden, and Dave Wood) seemed to get an incredible run of infected beers, and beers with such out-there faults they just couldn't be judged. We smelled many of them, it wasn't judge bias!

Phil has the sheets at his place, but they'll be sent out in the next week or so. Enlightenment shall be yours! :)

Remember though that our judges do not enjoy giving low scores. We all got very excited whenever a medal was given. That said, this is NOT a gentle competition. We don't pat backs for the sake of it, we call spades spades, and issue medals only when beers really deserve them.

Hi everyone, if you haven't already seen on Twitter the results break down is live on the site now http://nhc.soba.org.nz/

We'll be producing the (140 odd) certificates and mailing out with the scoresheets in the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone who entered! Some great beers, and a great few days. Big thanks to the stewards who kept the machine well oiled and running. I'm sure Greig will more to follow up when he recovers from his illness (not beer related, I promise!)

Thanks to all the judges and stewards, looks like you did a really good job in keeping it strict on the scoring. Great work, it's awesome to be able to get that kind of scrutiny as a homebrewer. Also, the new reporting system with live results and a summary like this http://nhc.soba.org.nz/results is pretty neat. Cheers.

Yeh, I second that, everything was organized superbly this year, awesome event, Thanks all! 

+2 here too!  The 2012 NHC has definitely raised the bar. 

For me the comp was all about learning and the high standard of judging, the real time news, the breakdown on individual category results and cumulative numbers as well as the individual feedback to come is fantastic. 

Thanks heaps to the people who put a heap into the event - I'm hoping you got a whole heap out of it too.  Cheers


Just to add - I was chuffed to see how many people won medals and makes me think there's a pretty good groundswell of quality homebrewers in NZ just now - congrats to all the winners too.

Yeah congrats to all that medal!

Just looking through the results is interesting - NZ IPA 12 entries & mean score 12.6, US IPA 16 entries mean score 16.3, IIPA 14 entris mean score 14.4 - wow, especially NZ IPA!

Any of the judges/stewards can comment on what was going down with the IPAs? Missed the mark on bitterness/flavour/aroma much more suited to the next catagory down?

Hey Matt,

The big thing for the IPA categories seemed to be:

- Lack of carbonation

- Lack of hop character (both aroma and flavour)

- Over-attenuated/thin body

- Diacetyl and other fermentation issues

Was suprising actually how many of the entries had little hop character, maybe they just didn't travel well? not sure. 

What a rad weekend it was, cheers again!


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