Vicbrew 2016 Rule Changes

Important information for all VicBrew 2016 entrants, judges and stewards.
1. Entries will be online only.
2. Closing date for entries will be 20 August, three weeks before VicBrew 2016, which is tentatively set for 10-11 September 2016.
3. New bottle size limits will be strictly enforced (max. 90 mm diameter, max 300 mm height including cap)

Background
The running of VicBrew 2015 was a challenge. The hugely increased number of entries, combined with limited available manpower stretched the limits of the systems that have been used for previous competitions. This caused quite a few issues and a lot of problem solving on-the-fly during the Competition. Everybody involved deserves credit for pulling together and making it work despite those challenges.

In order to address these issues and in anticipation of increasing entries in ensuing years, robust discussion has been had within the organising committee and some changes made to the way VicBrew will be run for 2016. These are designed to enable us to cope with 600+ entries and make the competition run more smoothly for all involved – entrants, judges, stewards, and the organising committee. All of these changes will be subject to review after VicBrew 2016.

Changes affecting entrants
1. Entries will be online only. There will be no provision or allowance for paper entries of any kind. Offline entries make up about 30% of all entries, but take 3-4 people several days to collect entries from all the drop-off points and collate the information associated with them. An online-only system will free up a considerable number of hours and reduce the number of registration errors. It will also provide us with full details about entry numbers in each category as soon as entries close, which will allow us to better plan the competition and finalise the judging roster much earlier. We are working on a re-vamped online system with better stability and functionality, which will be up and running for VicBrew 2016. We expect that entrants without computer access will be able to ask a friend to assist with entering.

2. Entries will close 3 weeks before the competition instead of 2 weeks to allow us to better deal with the expected increased number of entries, to improve planning, and to reduce stress for all involved.

3. Bottle size limits will be strictly enforced. The absolute maximum dimensions are:
Diameter - 90mm.
Height - including cap or cork 300mm.
Minimum volume requirements remain unchanged.

These values are determined by the dimensions of the crates we have available, as there will be no flexibility to deal with over-size bottles. Do not enter anything that's “Just a couple of mm over”, it will not fit and will be disqualified.

Changes affecting judges and stewards:
Because of the large number of entries in many categories, it is no longer feasible for the same set of two to three judges to judge every beer in a category. For example, at VicBrew 2015 half of the 20 categories had more beers than could be judged in a single day. Thus we really needed 20 to 30 judges able to judge both days, but many judges were only available for one day. This led to a shortage of judges for some categories but other judges who we couldn’t use or who were under-utilised.

The judging system will be changed to better deal with this:

1. All large categories will be split into flights (group of about 12 beers) with each flight judged by a different judging panel. The scores from the panels will be compared directly against each other and used to determine the winning beers. There will be no scaling to account for potential differences between the judging panels. This is effectively the system we use to determine Champion Beer, which is selected as the highest scoring beer across all categories. In some competitions, additional judging of the best of the flights is done (often called a mini-BOS, e.g. www.bjcp.org/docs/MiniBOS.pdf), but this requires an additional bottle from all entrants and this is considered impractical at our current venue. We realise that this system is not perfect but consider that it is better than the system we’ve been using with some judges having to evaluate 30+ beers in the one day, sometimes very strong and very bitter, with consequent consistency issues.

2. Where necessary, VicBrew will adopt a queued judging system. This system is explained at www.bjcp.org/docs/Queued_Judging_judges.pdf. It still uses several sets of judging panels, but instead of having a pre-determined list of beers for each panel, as each panel finishes judging a beer, they are served the next beer off the master list for the whole category. This means that only one steward is required for the category and it simplifies the serving procedure.

3. Where necessary, some entries may be pre-judged before the main competition. This will allow us to make more efficient use of judge availability and space.


Competition Entry Rules & Information
1. Maximum of 2 entries per category per brewer. Within this limit, only one entry per style. The beer style nominated must be a designated style for the category, as listed over the page. Entries open to Victorian residents only. The organisers reserve the right to reclassify a beer to a listed style. Style guidelines (to be used in the judging) available at: www.vicbrew.org
2. Entries must be amateur brews. Beers fermented in a commercial brewery are ineligible.
3. Cost of entries is $8. Entries can be submitted online via Compmaster after August 1st
4. One bottle per entry (750ml preferred) with a minimum of 500 ml beer. Maximum bottle size 90mm X 90mm X 300mm.
5. Judging will be by blind tasting. Judges decision will be final. Completed judging sheets will be returned to brewers.
6. Prizes will be awarded for the best three beers in each Category. Beers within a Category will be judged together using the Style guidelines. (See rule 1.)
7. Trophies will be awarded for the 3 highest scoring entries in each Category. In the event of tied scores, placegetters will be decided by progressive countback as follows: a) highest score for Overall Impression; b) highest score for Flavour; c) smallest spread in total scores (smallest difference between highest and lowest scores); d) the judging panel will be requested to resolve the tie.
8. “Champion Brewer” and “Best Club” will be determined by the sum of points awarded: 1st: 3 points, 2nd: 2 points and 3rd: 1 point.
9. Champion Beer and Best Novice will be based on the highest number of judging points received for any beer, with rule 7 to be invoked in the event of a tie. Entries in categories 19 and 20 are ineligible for the “Champion Beer” award.
10. Best Novice Trophy is open to brewers who have not placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in previous VicBrew accredited competitions.
11. Scott Vernon Perpetual Trophy will be awarded to the Club providing the greatest number of entrants.
12. Brewers of the best three entries in each Category will be invited to enter that brew (or a replacement) in the National Championship to be held in Adelaide on 13th October 2016. Entry fee to VicBrew 2016 includes cost of entry to Nationals and delivery from participating Victorian brew shops.
13. Presentations for VicBrew 2016 to be made after 5 pm on Sunday 11th September