This was originally just going to be a tasting of Renaissance Brewing Company beers, as they had won the Champion Small Brewery for the second time in a row at the 2014 AIBA (Australian International Beer Awards). It has evolved into things I think about when looking at results and when thinking about entering my beers into competitions.
It started with the thought about “hey I should get my hands on all the award-winning Renaissance beers so I can and see what makes them the Champion Small Brewery two years in a row.”
Overall it seemed like a pretty solid range of tasty well made beers that medalled well. Congratulations to Andy and Brian at Renaissance for taking out another great award. Nothing like consistency to show people how great your range of beers are.
The next question that came to mind was what is the criteria that for winning this trophy?
CHAMPION SMALL INTERNATIONAL BREWERY
Awarded to the international brewery with an annual production volume up to & including 5,000hL which has the highest average score from the four top scoring exhibits entered by the brewery.
Here is where I go off on to “How To Win The Beer Awards”
There are many beer awards competitions around the world, and after looking at them and their rules, there are ways you can improve your chances of winning an award.
Take the above for example “highest average score from the four top scoring exhibits entered by the brewery”. To me this reads “enter as many beers as you can” (it will cost you more money) but it increases your chances as it is your four highest scoring beers.
Other ways of increasing your chances
- Plan your brewing schedule so that all your beers are super fresh and ready at time shipping to meet deadlines at the last possible moment.
- What package type. If you can send kegs, do so as you are less likely to have issue with oxidation
- Shipping conditions. Ship the beer cold, and as fast as possible. Make sure you look after the beer the best you can, to give it the best chance. Time and temperature are working against you.
- Play the numbers game. There are always classes where the number of entries is significantly lower than the popular ones like Pale Ale and IPA. AIBA as example, there were only three entries in the Scotch Ale class. This would be an obvious place to enter a beer next year.
- Top end of style. Make sure your beer is at the top end of the style guidelines as it will stand out to the judges. If your beer is has the best aroma and greatest flavour, the highest IBU and ABV it is going to be marked better. Even though each beer is judged to the style guidelines and presented to the judge so they have no idea where the beer is from, after tasting a number of beers the same, the big ones are always going to do better.
Add enough hops. After judging both the World Beer Cup and the Australia International Beer Awards recently, the biggest thing that stood out was not enough hops for style. Judging Pale Ales, IPA’s and Imperial IPA’s the most common comment from the judges was “lacks hops for style”. So many of these beers just didn’t have enough hops. Maybe it is a reflection on how hard it is to get enough hops in this current market.
All of the above assumes that the brewer entering is making good beer that has no technical faults.
If any other judges and or brewers want to add to this list of ways to win the beer awards, please added your comments below.
** we did notice mould under a number of the Renaissance caps, maybe the use of a water sprayer after the beer has been capped might solve this issue.