SOBA NHC bottles for entry

Well, the SOBA NHC judging takes place tomorrow, November 5th. It may have already begun, or even concluded, by the time many read this post. Just to get everyone up to speed here, almost a year ago I started what became dubbed Project NHC. This came about after I missed winning last year’s Champion Brewer award by just a point or two (or so I was told), and as such I become somewhat obsessed with trying to take home the title this year. The plan was simple, I was going to attempt to brew a BJCP style every two weeks (give or take) and enter the best of those beers in this year’s National Homebrew Competition.

Well, I kept up my end of the bargain in terms of brewing, but I’ve fallen dramatically behind on posting the recipes and details about each brew. Who knew how time consuming it was to gather and post all those finicky recipe details and notes?

But as the eve of the NHC is upon us, I thought I should muster up a project-wrap-up post and at least document where I’m at with things…

As behind as I may have been on the blogging, the year was a productive one in terms of brewing. I put down 29 different brews this year and had 2 more that I’ve been holding onto from last year. Win or lose, this in itself was no small accomplishment for a homebrewer with two young children, a business to run, and a busy life in general. Unfortunately 4 of those brews were ciders and 1 was a mead; and this year SOBA decided to exclude ciders and meads from the competition. I also had 4 beers that I didn’t feel were good enough to make the cut, 2 that just didn’t carb-up in time, and 1 that I accidentally drank all of without remembering to save a bottle for the comp… Doh!

That left me with 19 beers to submit to the competition. Not a small number by any stretch. I feel pretty good about most of these beers. There are a couple that I felt were just OK, and a few others that haven’t aged as well as I would have liked. But all-in-all, I think this is a good collection of beers and if my tastebuds are any indicator, I stand a good chance of pulling in a few medals. Soon enough we shall see…

Here’s a list of the beers that I submitted it into the competition (listed by style). I will hyperlink to the recipes that I have already published and will add links to the remaining recipes as I find time to post each one. I will also post notes next to any beer that wins a medal once the judging concludes.

So that’s the long and short of it. It was a big effort, but I have no doubt that many others have made similar efforts as well. This year was a a record breaking year for the NHC with nearly 750 submissions, so there is no doubt that the competition will certainly fierce. Regardless of the results, this has been a fun project, and it’s certainly made me a significantly better brewer.

Thanks to those of you who have been reading these posts over the last year and to SOBA for putting on such a well run competition. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens…

Update*** This year’s competition was a tough one. I ended up winning 6 medals (5 bronze and 1 silver), which was not nearly as well as I had hoped (or frankly expected). Nevertheless, the experience was a fun one and has certainly given me a few areas to focus on for the future. Back to the brewery to start brewing for next year.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the score distribution across the entire competition…

Homebrew competition score distribution chart

And a big congratulations to Jamie McQuillan who ended up winning both Champion Brewer and Champion beer. Well done!

Leave a comment below if you have any questions about the recipe or process.