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I'm going to start entering my beers in competitions. I'm really interested in getting good feedback from BJCP judges. To improve my showing, is there anything I should do with my bottle conditioned beer beer before dropping it off (or shipping it?)

In my experience the beer really benefits from some time in the fridge after conditioning has completed. Typically I let it condition at 70+F for about three weeks, then I move the beer to my cellar and put as much as I can in the beer fridge. The longer it spends in the fridge, the clearer the beer becomes and the more the yeast sediment compacts. For a competition, is it better to chill the bottles in the fridge for a few weeks before dropping them off, or will the return to room temperature adversely affect the beer? Is it better to leave the competition-bound bottles at room or cellar temp?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I don't think it matters all that much. I've entered and judged many comps and done it both ways. Chilling then warming will not adversely affect the beer. So I say follow your basic routine of chilling after carbing, then do whatever will work best for you.

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Keep in mind that there will be much handling of your bottle going on at the competition. This handling will most definitely end up stirring up sediment in your beer. Chilling for a long time will certainly not hurt, especially if the sediment compacts enough to not be easily stirred up.

Good judges should look past that, however, and you can take any comments on yeasty flavor with a grain of salt.

I would also ensure you remove as much trub as possible when racking to secondary (if you use a secondary) or bottling bucket.

For some more tips, check out a recent BrewStrong all about entering beers in competition: http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/736

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