The Next Homebrew Contest

If you read the Editor’s Note in the Winter Issue of California Beer & Pizza you may recall that I wrote about a first experience with entering a homebrew contest.  After five or six years of immersion into the homebrewing hobby, I decided it would be a good idea to get some objective feedback from BJCP judges.

Encouraged by the initial results, and appreciative of the judge’s comments, I decided to look for another contest, this time to enter my chocolate stout.  Since there was nothing coming up locally I opted for the Kona Homebrewers Contest  Thus began a first experience with the shipping procedure.  The cost for shipping two beers from California to Hawaii produced sticker shock but since I went through the effort of careful packaging the beers I decided to bite the bullet and pay it.  From that point forward I worried about exploding beer bottles and rough handling during transport.  Apparently, the shipping process went well as my beers did arrive and were judged.

I had gotten a lot of good feedback on my chocolate stout from friends so I was feeling fairly confident that I would get a decent score.  However, you never really know if friends are being completely honest with you. They may not want to insult your beer or they may be more interested in keeping the free beer flowing than in offering constructive criticism.  Fortunately, I do have a couple of friends who understand that honest feedback will help me improve my beers.

One concern I had with the judging involved the chocolate I used in the chocolate stout.   In the past I have used chocolate extract but I had purchased a Dutch cocoa powder for a dessert that I never made and decided I would use that in the beer rather than let it go to waste.  Just prior to brewing I was reading Brewing Classic Styles, which is the book I consult most often for inspiration in forming recipes.  In the book it recommended that if using cocoa powder one should use a low-fat cocoa. I looked at my package of Dutch cocoa powder and saw that it was a high-fat powder so I decided to use 70% of the original planned amount and hope for the best.  When I opened the first bottle I was worried there would be an excessive and overbearing chocolate flavor but that was not the case. In fact, when I brew this beer again I will follow the same plan in regards to the chocolate because for me, it was just right.  But I still wondered if the BJCP judges, with their expert palates, would be able to tell I’d used a high fat cocoa powder and lower my score for it.  In retrospect I think using the Dutch processed cocoa was a good idea. Here is a description of the effects of Dutch processing: *“It has a mild flavour, dissolves easily in liquids, and is a reddish-brown colour. Dutch processed cocoa is best used in cakes and pastries and products where its delicate flavour can compliment other ingredients.”  Sounds like a good addition to the kettle to me.

My initial interest in entering a contest was so that I could receive comments and suggestions that could help with my brewing, but after receiving my first scores my hyper-competitive nature kicked in and what I really care about now is earning higher scores.  Better beer and higher scores will naturally go hand in hand but the scoring system seems to have emerged as the dominant factor in my mind.

If you’re unfamiliar with the scoring system here is a brief overview.  The beers are scored by two judges on 0-50 scale.  The two judges’ scores are averaged for the final score.   The value of the scores are as follows: 45-50 (Outstanding), 38-44 (Excellent) 30-37 (Very Good), 21-29 (Good), 14 – 20 (Fair), and 0-13 (Problematic).  These categories are described further on the score sheet.  In the first contest I entered with a Belgian Blonde I had a final score of 32.5.

In the Kona contest I was hoping to improve on the 32.5 but with different styles of beers being scored by different judges it’s not accurate to compare from one contest to the next but as I’ve mentioned, I’m becoming score obsessed.

When an envelope from Hawaii arrived in the mail I quickly opened it to find my score sheet and a refrigerator magnet and sticker from Ninkasi Brewing (If you want to check out some of Ninkasi’s beers on tap, check out my favorite pizza place in Bend, Oregon – Pacific Pizza & Brew – they have an awesome selection of micro-brews on tap.) I saw that I had received a final score of 34, a slight improvement.  One judge awarded me 36 points (getting closer to the Excellent category) and the other a 32.  A lot of the comments were difficult to read but both judges seemed to think the chocolate component was well balanced.

My best category was appearance as both judges gave me the maximum score, so at least it was a good-looking stout!  The Mouthfeel category was a bit problematic as both judges criticized the carbonation.  One said there was too much and one said not enough. Inconsistent carbonation from bottle to bottle has been one of my problems as a homebrewer.  I also received a check mark in the Metallic box in the dreaded off-flavors section from one of the judges.  She also mentioned in the Flavor section that the beer had a slight metallic taste.  I’m not sure what causes that so I’ll have to do some research.  One comment I found particularly beneficial, which I will ad to my brewing notes was, “Leaves bitterness on palate, not maltiness.”  I will try to make adjustments to correct that next time.

I think it was worthwhile to enter the contest and hopefully the feedback will help in brewing better chocolate stouts in the future.  I have a Belgian Dubbel ready to go and since I had registration problems with the AHA Homebrewing Competition I think I will package up the required three bottles for the Great Arizona Homebrew Competition.

Top 10 Web Design Branding Advices

Nashville Web Design – a respected Nashville website design firm – provides the subsequent top 10 recommendations in regards to website design:

1. Possess a solid, brand information that is distinct
The impression you would like – to be seen by the entire world should be projected by your online site as well as the good media is the fact that through web site design that photograph can be controlled by you totally. With regards to real layout this implies placing important meaning or your emblem within the top-left hand place – the screen’s part our eyes are obviously attracted to.

2. Supply a navigation approach that is concise
A web-designer that is good can make sure that they utilize the consumer to be led by style processes across website and the monitor. Obviously classified sub-sections even a niche site guide and may assure a brief, simple to follow navigation course, while excellent usage of dimension, color, comparison and location all may support target the attention. Stick with one primary menu, stay steady use subscription, through the website -navigation and retain it clean by preventing dropdown menus.

3. Ensure it is intuitively simple to use
Guests might be if a website is difficult or sluggish to steer they’ll be down and unpredictable. Assure navigation links are apparent and easily towards the page’s most effective is superior – and also have correct links straight to site from site therefore when something catches their awareness the individual can easily move,. Eventually, individuals that were stick to the uses have come to anticipate. For instance, if wording is underlined your individual may normally assume it to become a link.

4. Keep it steady
Consumers prefer to learn where they’re inside a site and when the kind of a full page modifications significantly or somehow seems distinct readers will not become engaged and will begin to feel lost. From going measurements to create, coloring and type of photograph preserve consistency by ensuring everything suits.

5. Keep it easy
The entire pull of utilizing a site is the fact that it must be fast and simple to utilize. To the conclusion ease is essential.

Concise, data that is helpful must not be unavailable at the button’s hint. Surfers won’t that is Today’s loaf around thus make certain the site is scannable. Meaning unafraid to-use (study: leavein) of white-space lots. An idea is behind this – our eyes don’t normally workin a linear manner. Offered the possibility they’ll take more in after which zoomin to a place of curiosity from your dilemna.

6. It’s that is guarantee straightforward
Guests arriving at your site generally won’t wish to invest time that is much therefore make certain that all facets is not difficult to comprehend; in the navigation towards the content. You can find layout strategies which will help produce the info on the site more straightforward to realize – assume great utilization of whitespace faster paragraphs, bigger font, parts classified by comparison and coloring and, as stated. For this stop, there are a few typical recommendations: never employ even more than three unique stage measurements to get a font, or significantly more than three typefaces and maintain collections of wording to 18 phrases – max that is 50-80 figures –!

7. Degrade gracefully
Not everybody gets the newest computer as well as the broadband therefore make sure that as it can certainly be without limiting to the components you will need your rule is really as straightforward. Not slow-down or cause troubles to lessen specification pcs and html page must degrade. Trigger you will make sure that consumer won’t be again and an IT problem in your guests laptop… or be promoting your website to someone else!

8. Produce it together with your market in your mind
While composing commissioning or – – the backup for the site, do keep in mind your target market. If technological conditions are inevitable appealing because it is to utilize the choice to bombard the consumer with all the current data you’ll be able to, do maintain it brief in-style and employ laymen’s conditions if correct – or add a reference. If you’re wishing to attract readers through searchengine optimization (SEO) you’ll must look at the key phrases people is likely to be applying inside their searches. Place these in to the backup normally as-is suitable to aid launch your internet site up a search engines results.

9. Consider functionality
Like a mouse readers is likely to be off – as fast at the afternoon in case your site isn’t usable’s end. Consequently, when taking care of the net design, look at the site’s conclusion user’s experience.
It could be recommended to create a set of what exactly when required are plentiful in the homepage then examining why these are simple to obtain and a person may wish to utilize your internet site for. Present presents, begin buying, Guide a scheduled appointment etc. Then check through the procedure test and early and examination again. The path to actually examine as it can certainly be your website is really as easy to use is always to test out drive it on those who knownothing about your organization.

10. Be sure it’s certified
Specific directions should be adhered to by an excellent site. For instance, most of the web sites created by  Yelp web design conform to the Net Accessibility Initiative (WAI). This assures their websites are appropriate and available if you have problems and address facets of web-design such as for example monitor flickering – range with all the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

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How Round Ice Packs Help Treat Botox Injections

Round ice packs are a perfect gift to help patients with the associated swelling and bruising caused by injections such as Botox and Collagen.  Cold therapy gel pack have been shown to slow the flow of blood and other fluids to the injected area, as well as reduce redness and irritation that may occur after any type of injection. 

The benefit of round ice packs is that they better conform to different face shapes, are more comfortable to wear and easier to use on the delicate area’s of the face, without affecting the results of the procedure.  Once the swelling has gone down, these round packs can also be heated to help bruises heal faster.  The really great thing about round ice packs is they are gentle and sturdy at the same time. 

The packs can be used over and over for any type of first aid, burn or injury, and to alleviate pressure from tired eyes, headaches and allergies.  If you would like high quality, handmade round ice packs visit Gelpax Facebook Page for a full buyers guide. will tell you exactly what to look for when you embark on your journey of purchasing customized gel packs.