Here we’ll post information and results on the various contests to which we submit our beers. They are ordered below with the most recent results first. Scroll to the bottom to see notes from older competitions.

Peach State Brew Off 2011

Five brews were submitted to this contest – though one, strictly speaking, was not Hump’s.

  • Hump’s Naughty Monk Ale: Our best showing in the contest was a fruit beer – a Belgian Tripel infused with real watermelon purée. It was pretty good on tap, but not awesome. I saved some to bottles and let them sit in the fridge for a few months, and the age did amazing things. The beer was great, and was, in fact, the one I figured might do best. View score sheet.
  • Hump’s 10th Anniversary: This beer was absolutely amazing when fresh. It’s age could be a big part of the problem as the judges didn’t pick up the over-the-top hop quality that I appreciated in it right after I brewed it. They still seemed to like it. It was our second-best scoring entry. View score sheet.
  • Hump’s Last Minute IPA: This IPA is refreshing and tasty – and also quite fresh (still on tap, pouring through dry hops that are sitting inside the keg). Admittedly, it isn’t as dry or bitter as I would usually make an IPA. View score sheet.
  • (Not Quite Hump’s) Hooch: This was a mini-mash version of Hump’s Hooch brewed by friend Scott Stinson. It turned out very nice and was really pleasant and quite hoppy. The efficiency of the mini-mash was much higher than expected, resulting in a stronger brew than originally planned, pushing this beer out of IPA territory and into Imperial IPA. Or so I thought. View score sheet.
  • Hump’s Chocolate Milkshake: This brew began life as a fairly big but not overly bitter porter – plenty of black and caramel malts and an alcohol content of 6.0%. It was then racked onto cocoa nibs and fresh vanilla bean and pumped up with a touch of lactose. It was the weakest entry in the contest according to the judges. View score sheet.

National Homebrew Competition 2010

We submitted four beers to this contest. Two of the four beers made it to the second and final round. Alas – no medals were to be had this year. Below you’ll find links to the first round judges’ notes (for both rounds where applicable).

  • Hump’s Old Humperdink Barley Wine: We were hoping for a strong finish given how well received this one was at the Peach State Brew Off. No such luck. View first round score sheet.
  • Hump’s Back-Breaking Brown: After the Peach State took a little wind from our sails for this brew (one of my all-time favorites Hump’s brews), we were vindicated at the NHC. This brew took second place for the Specialty category in the first round (and scored 41/50!). View first round score sheet. View second round score sheet.
  • Hump’s Yankee Doodle Brown: This beer fared very similarly in the NHC as it did in the Peach State Brew Off. I apparently like it more than BJCP judges! View first round score sheet.
  • Hump’s Irish Dry Stout: The wildcard for sure! I wasn’t too hopeful because this beer really isn’t that dry if tried side by side with classic dry stouts actually from Ireland. I get just the right level of earthiness and Kent Goldings hop flavor, but a little more chocolate and sweetness than the classic examples. I was afraid that would be to its detriment – not being dry enough. But the judges liked it, and it took third place in the Stout category in the first round! View first round score sheet. View second round score sheet.

Peach State Brew Off 2010 (3/27/2010)

We sent five beers to the PSBO. It turns out that the judges liked three of the five with one of them even getting an Honorable Mention (but, alas, no medal). This one was an AHA-sanctioned event with BJCP-certified judges, so the objective is to brew a beer closely to a classic style.

  • Hump’s “La Brabançonne” Grand Cru: This beer was entered into the Belgian Strong Dark Ale category, and it did pretty well. The score sheet indicates 5th place for this category (top three get medals, fourth place may receive honorable mention if it scores very, very close to third place). View score sheet.
  • Hump’s Devilish Nectar: This beer was entered into the Belgian Strong Golden Ale category. This was possibly the weakest entrant, but I still like it. I don’t really pick up the hot alcohol notes that judges picked up, but I do agree that it is too sweet for the style (despite being quite dry and finishing rather low). I was surprised that one of the judges liked the level of carbonation: I struggled to get this beer really bubbly and didn’t really feel the finished product had enough gas. Classic examples can be ludicrously carbonated. View score sheet.
  • Hump’s Old Humperdink Barley Wine: Our highest scoring beer – this one received an honorable mention and 45 points! (45 out of 50 is very high.) I was a little surprised at how much the judges liked it. I like this one a lot, too, but side-by-side with what I feel to be the benchmarks for this style — Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Avery Hog Heaven — this one falls a wee bit short for me. View score sheet.
  • Hump’s Back-Breaking Brown: Our biggest disappointment – I absolutely love this beer and am frustrated that the judges didn’t dig it as much as I do. Since this beer isn’t really in any classic style, I entered it as a specialty. Specialty beers must be described so the judges have something against which to objectively judge the product. I described mine as a combination of American Brown Ale and Imperial India Pale Ale. Their comments indicate that it needs more malt character to balance the hops. I totally disagree. My intent was for this beer to end up closer to the Imperial IPA side of this combo. Perhaps I should have described it as a “Brown” Imperial IPA instead of invoking the name of the American Brown Ale style… View score sheet.
  • Hump’s Yankee Doodle Brown: The recipe for this one was formulated more as an India Brown Ale, but I felt the finished product was a bit sweet and not quite hoppy enough for that. Besides, India Brown Ale isn’t an official style, so it would have had to go in as a Specialty Beer. And I couldn’t do that since you can only enter one beer per category, and Back-Breaking Brown was already my specialty brew. So, expectedly, the judges marked it down for being too hoppy and needing more malt character. View score sheet.

BEERmuda Triangle Homebrew Contest 2010 (2/9/2010)

The very first contest to which we submitted beers was a non-AHA-sanctioned event. It was not a BJCP-based stylistic competition. Instead, it was a free-form contest. You can submit anything. May be the best tasting beer win.

That can certainly be a challenge for judges. Comparing two great beers of wildly varying styles can be difficult to do. Apparently the idea was that the most hedonistically enjoyable beer will be the winner. The upside is that a great beer that doesn’t fit well to any of the BJCP styles can do well. The downside is that the objectivity is removed from the judging.

We entered three beers. All of them advanced to the second round of competition. One made it to the top five finals round. Alas, it received fifth place. The first place beer — a double IPA brewed by a guy named Hamp Covington — was brewed at the 5 Seasons brewpub using their equipment and then served on draft at their bar.

Unfortunately, no formal feedback from the judges was ever provided to the brewers. But I got some informal feedback by going into Hop City (one of the three businesses in the “BEERmuda Triangle”) and asking about the results and about my beers.

  • Hump’s “La Brabançonne” Grand Cru: Apparently this was the most highly rated Belgian Strong Dark in the competition, but not highly enough to break into the top five.
  • Hump’s Old Humperdink Barley Wine: I was told that this beer, too, was highly liked by judges. But there were too many great beers for it to break into the top five.
  • Hump’s Back-Breaking Brown: This beer received fifth place in the competition – worth $30 in gift cards to the BEERmuda Triangle businesses: Hop City, 5 Seasons, and Octane Espresso.