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24th Annual Dominion Cup
Official Rules and Frequently Asked Questions:


General Competition Info

How Do I Enter?

Entries may be delivered in person to Original Gravity Homebrew Supply, Artisons Wine and Homebrew, The Brew Shop (Fredericksburg), Brew & Bottle (Newport News), Homebrew USA (both locations: Hampton and Norfolk), Bull City Homebrew (Durham), Duck Rabbit Brewery (Farmville) or to any JRHB club meeting. Entries may also be shipped to Jim Morton. Shipping address will be made available when you print your labels. Additional clubs in Virginia and North Carolina are also working to setup drop-off points for us, so check with your club to see if this is being arranged. ONLINE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED THIS YEAR. Paper forms and other payment will NOT be accepted! Once you have completed the online registration, you need only deliver the 2 bottles and the bottle labels printed from the Online Registration site. Entries must be received no later than July 22nd at noon for consideration.

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Who runs the Dominion Cup?

The Dominion Cup is put on by the James River Homebrewers, an active homebrewing club in central Virginia (Richmond area). The Dominion Cup is sanctioned by the Brew Judge Certification Program, and follows all rules therin. Beginning in 2017, JRHB and the Dominion Cup became part of the Southeastern Homebrewers Association Competition Schedule.
The James River Homebrewers meet the 2nd Wednesday of every month at Mekong Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. We are always looking to meet new beer enthusiasts and brewers of all levels. Feel free to come to a meeting and find out more!

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What can I try to win?

Every year, we make an extraordinary effort to provide some of the best prizes for our winners. We are able to provide some level of prizes to the top beers in each flight as well as the best in show for the entire event. Please take a moment to check out our sponsors (see links to the right) who have been extremely generous again this year in providing prizes for the event. Prizes range from growlers, textbooks, ingredients (including yeast, malt, and hops), brewery merchandise, magazine subscriptions, and all sorts of other items.

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What is the Plato Award?

Again this year - we have established a "Brewer of the Year" style award known as the Plato Award. This award will have prizes similar to the B.O.S. award in quality and will be given to the brewer with the most 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place finishes at any first-round table based upon the following points scale:

  • 1st Place at table: 5 pts
  • 2nd Place at table: 3 pts
  • 3rd Place at table: 2 pts.

The points are weighted to give more points for first place winners, but to allow those brewers who have a lot of finishes to have a chance at it. In addition to more prizes and goodies, the winner will be immortalized by having their name added to the Plato Plaque (Plaque has have a nice hydrometer mounted to it with names of each annual winner below).

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How does the ProAm with Trapezium work?

One beer from the Best Of Show round will be chosen by representatives of Trapezium Brewing to scale up and enter into the 2018 GABF. Please see the Pro Am page for more details.

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Who will judge my beer?

Due to the overwhelming size of the competition, judges may have a variety of experience levels. Every attempt is made to have at least one BJCP or similarly qualified (Cicerone, Professional Brewer, etc.) judge with every entry. However, there may be a few instances where this is not possible. Mini BOS rounds and the BOS table will have BJCP and/or highly experienced / qualified judges making the final determination of the winners. The Dominion Cup also works to foster judging experience and help train new judges to move up. Some of the senior judges in Virginia began by judging at the Dominion Cup.

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Who/What is the BJCP?

The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) is non-profit organization whose goals include promoting the appreciation of real beer, recognition of different styles of beer, and recognizing judging ability and certifying judges. They have collectively over the years provided a guide for different styles of beer used to compare similar types of beer and provide a basis for competition.

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Who/What is the Southeastern Homebrewers Association?

The Southern Homebrewers Association (SHA) is an organization of twenty (at last check) member clubs across TN, VA, GA, SC, and NC that work together to promote homebrewing, meadmaking, and cidermaking as well as the camaraderie of those in the hobby. One of the SHA's missions is to bring homebrewing clubs from the southeastern US together to compete and judge in an effort to help all club members make the best beer, mead, or cider possible. As such, there are currrently 12 competitions that make up the schedule. Member clubs earn points toward the Brewer of the Year, Mead and Cider Maker of the Year, and SHA Homebrew Club of the year. JRHB joined the SHA in 2017 and currently fills the August slot with the Dominion Cup Competition.

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Why are you qualified to judge my beer?

In the end, judging is of course a very subjective manner, and many qualified judges may produce different results based on the situation at hand. As such, we try to provide experienced, BJCP certified judges in a panel to compare the beer to basic style guidelines and come to a consensus in the most fair manner known. In the end, remember that we all try to learn more about brewing and the appreciation of beer. In the end, the homebrewer should be the most competent judge of his/her beer - brew what you like!

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Will I get feedback on my beer?

Yes! We will return all score sheets to the brewer's address listed on the entry form. Beginning in 2017, we will try and scan in all entry forms during the competition itself so as to ensure we have records available to send to every entrant. One of the most important parts of any competition is the valuable feedback on beer sensory evaluations detected by the judges and suggestions for improvement.

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When will I get results?

We will try to return all score sheets within 1 month of the competition. If you are a club member, we will bring the results to the next club meeting to save on shipping. If not, we will promptly mail the results back to you. We may also elect to email the scanned documents in lieu of shipping.

PLEASE contact us if you don't have your results or anything else owed to you within a month from the competition. We take this very seriously and will do whatever we can to make sure you get what you are due.

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How many bottles do I need to send in?

Please provide 2 bottles for competition. As we anticipate a large number of entries, extra bottles beyond 2 will not be stored for competition. It is necessary to have 2 in order to have a beer succeed at the first round and then proceed to the best of show round.

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What are the requirements for the bottles?

For storage reasons: bottles must be standard brown bottles between 10oz and 14oz in size. No recognizable marks may be visible (reuse of nation-wide commercial branded bottles with raised lettering is okay). Caps must not have any distinguishable marks (scratch out with black sharpie if necessary). No permanent labels may be attached (the Bottle entry lable should be attached via rubber band only). Grolsch style bottles are acceptable, but keep in mind you will not get them back. Please, no bombers, growlers, stainless steel, cans, or otherwise exceptional bottles. Mead entries MAY use wine bottles - these must be entered in the actual Mead categories.

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Will I get my beer or empty bottles back?

No, it is not feasible for us to keep track of the empty bottles (once we open them, we cannot track them anyway), nor is it practical to ship them back to you. Unused beer is typically used by the club for training in the beer styles and judging in future BJCP classes or club meetings.

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How do I know what style to enter my beer in?

We will be using the BJCP 2015 guidelines again this year. Refer to the BJCP style guidelines found here. You can always ask your other brewing friends and get their feedback on this as well. Pay critical attention - even if you attempted to brew a particular style, it may actually fit better into a different style than you aimed for. It is important to enter your beer in the proper category to be judged fairly.

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Can I enter my beer in multiple categories?

You may enter as many beers/categories as you desire (up to the entry limit of 12!), as long as you submit the proper number of bottles and entry forms/fees. Please keep in mind that entering the same beer across multiple categories, especially extremely similar categories, may be judged by the same table and you probably will not get a great variety of feedback as a result.

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What categories do you accept for competition?

We accept all categories from the 2015 BJCP Guidelines including mead and cider.

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Is there a limit to the number of beers I can enter?

Beginning in 2017, there is a limit of 12 entries per brewer or team. This requirement is part of the Southeastern Homebrewers Association rules.

We also have an overall entry limit of 750 entries total. This is based on PAID entries. We instantiated this rule because we belive that is the absolute limit to providing the high quality competition we are known for.

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I don't live near Virginia. Can I still compete?

Yes, we will accept beers from just about anywhere, as long as they are brewed by a non-commercial home-brewer. If you do not live nearby (or even if you do in some cases), we will ship your results and any prizes you win to the address on your entry form. Last year we had 518 entries from all across the US.

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How much does it cost to enter? What is done with the money?

The entry fee is $7 per entry. This year, online registration is mandatory, and you may pay via PayPal. We use the money to put on the event (including reserving the rooms for the event, lunch for volunteers, paperwork, glassware, shipping of prizes, etc. If there is any extra money (this would be rare!), we put it into the club fund to support other events/activities/learning for the homebrew club.

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I think I deserved better scores - can I appeal?

No. It's really not possible to recreate all the conditions on a given day that led to a particular score and then re-judge it relative to the other beers in the same flight. Although many times beers perform very differently from competition to competition, this is often due to bottle-variation, problems in shipping, distractions or problems at a particular judging table, or individual judges' perception abilities varying from person to person. We realize this is not a perfect science, but should rather be looked at as a way to gather valuable feedback on your beers, learn more, and grow as a brewer.

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How will I know who won?

There will be an awards ceremony at the Dominion Cup just after the Best of Show round for all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in flight results. The Best of Show winners and Plato Award winner will also be announced at that point. We will post the results with the winners on the Dominion Cup website after the event. Winners will also be notified via email. Some of the previous winners:

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Online Registration Information

Is there an online registration system?

Yes! We have worked hard to provide an easy to use online registration system that will ensure proper entry of your beers into our database. The system will allow you to register as a user, add your entries, pay for the entries, and then print the bottle labels.

Please use the same system to register to judge or steward.

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What are the steps to complete Online Registration?

  1. First - register as a user on the system. Click on the "Create a new Dominion Cup User Account" from the Online Registration Menu.
  2. Once you have an account setup, Click Add Entries to add a beer for competition. Include all information required for your beer and style. Refer to the BJCP guidelines to ensure you include additional information that may be required. Additional information IS visible to judges.
  3. Repeat step 2 as needed for additional entries.
  4. Click on the Pay For Entries link to pay for your entries. You will be directed to the PayPal Website to complete payment details.
  5. Once your entries are paid for and the payment has processed (usually instantly), You can Print bottle labels.
  6. Click on the "Print Label" link next to each entry to print the bottle label for that entry. You must print each entry individually.
  7. You can ship entries to Dominion Cup Entries C/O James Morton, 2820 Waterford Way West, Richmond, VA 23233
    You may drop off entries at any of these locations:
    Original Gravity (6118 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, VA 23228).
    Artisons Wine and Homebrew (3829 Village Place Drive, Midlothian, VA 23114)
    The Brew Shop (11047 Pierson Dr. Ste. A, Fredericksburg, VA 22408)
    Brew & Bottle (304 Oyster Point Road, Newport News, VA 23602)
    Homebrew USA (both locations: 5802 E. Virginia Beach Blvd. #115, Norfolk, VA 23502 OR 96 West Mercury Blvd, Hampton, VA 23669)
    Bull City Homebrew (1906 E. NC Hwy 54, Durham, NC 27713)
    Duck Rabbit Brewery (4519 W. Pine St., Farmville, NC 27828)
    You can also bring entries to a JRHB club meeting. Remember to ship via commercial carriers like UPS or FedEX only. It is illegal to ship via the USPS. The deadline for us to receive your entries is July 22, 2017 at noon. 2 bottles for each entry are required. Attach the bottle labels via rubber band ONLY. No other paperwork is required for online registration.
  8. That's it - if you need to make changes to an entry or your user information, there are links available for that from the main online registration system.

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What if I forgot my username / password?

Click here and we will reset your password and email your log-in information to the email address you have on file. Note that if you registered online last year, we have purged the database and you will have to re-register this year. This is because we have found that data from year to year is not reliable and we end up with confusing duplicate people.

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Why is my address / email address / etc required?

We will need to mail your score sheets back to you after the competition is done as well as any prizes you may have won. Therefore, it is necessary to have your contact information on file with us. Also, if for some reason you have lost your log-in information, we need your email address to reset your login information for you.

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What is your Privacy Policy?

We take privacy very seriously, but there are a couple of areas that we have to share information with to make this whole thing work. However, we want to make it very clear where that is and why.

  • We share information with the BJCP when we file our required organizer report. This information is limited to those individuals who volunteer as judges, stewards, or other Staff. We only include your Name, BJCP Id, Participation (e.g. Judge, Staff, etc.), and Number of Points to give.
  • We share information with PayPal in order to process payment. This is limited to your name, email, entry numbers, invoice information, and costs.
  • We share information with the Southern Homebrewers Association in order to process their awards. This information includes winners of the major flights, the number of entries in each of those flights, and for the awards given, the name and SHA member club for the entrant.

We reserve the right to share other information as required by law enforcement or other legal processes. We also reserve the right to share information that is not listed if it is necessary for putting on a successful competition.

We will not share your information with advertisers, sponsors, or other 3rd party people for marketing reasons unless you specifically grant us permission to do so. We will not sell your information for profit.

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How do I pay for entries?

After you have used the online registration system to add your user and entry information, click on the "Pay for Entries" link. You will be redirected to PayPal's website where you can pay for your entries. If you do not have a PayPal Account, you can still pay for your entries via credit card or bank draft on PayPal's website. Because PayPal handles this transaction for us, we will not see any of the payment specifics, only the payment status as reported by PayPal. We have chosen to use this method both for the convenience to our entrants as well as for the security of payment processing by a well-known, established payment processing company.

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What if I don't have a paypal account?

No Problem! PayPal will also accept major credit cards and bank drafts without signing up for an account. Just click on the appropriate spot when you are on PayPal's website to process your payment.

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Can I pay entries by check or cash instead of online?

No, due to the anticipated significant volume of entries, we are requiring all entries to be submitted online this year, including payment.

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Do I have to use the online registration?

Yes, this year we are requiring online registration due to the very large volume of entries anticipated. Paper entries are very difficult to load into the system and make it difficult to plan judging tables until EVERY entry is cataloged.

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Do I need to fill out BJCP Paperwork / Entry Forms / etc to go with the entries?

No, Use the Online Registration system.

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Why can't I print my bottle labels?

Your payment must have cleared through PayPal before the system will allow the bottle label to be printed. Sometimes this takes a few days if you paid with eCheck and don't have a credit card linked to your account. PayPal also occasionally flags certain payments for review. If your payment status is completed and you still can't print a bottle label, please contact coordinator@dominioncup-jrhb.org to address the problem.

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What about refunds?

Refunds can be issued within 60 days (This is PayPal's rule, not ours). You must delete your entry (it will ask you to confirm this) from the online registration system. Refunds will not be automatic - it may take several weeks for them to be processed correctly. Contact coordinator@dominioncup-jrhb.org for the status of your refund.

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Can I change an entry once it is entered online?

Yes, click on the "CHANGE" link next to your entry and you can update the information on it. If you have already printed bottle labels, you will have to reprint them. This will not affect your payment status.

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What is the deadline for online registration?

July 22, 2017 at noon (12:00 PM!) is the deadline for online registration. This is also the deadline to get your bottles delivered. After this date, the system will not allow further changes to be made to the entries online.

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Judge / Steward Information

How do I sign up to volunteer?

You can sign up to Judge or Steward via the online registration system. You can also sign up by emailing coordinator@dominioncup-jrhb.org directly.

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What is a steward?

Steward is a great job and anyone can do it. Stewards are typically assigned one per table with the addition of a few to help with cellaring, overall paperwork, etc. Stewards typically get to sample the beer being judged at their table along with the judges and it's a great way to see just what this judging process is all about. Steward responsabilities may include:

  • Distributing required materials to the judging tables
  • Bringing beer from storage area to judging area
  • Assisting Judge Director and judges as needed
  • Providing water, cups, bread, and forms for judging tables
  • Maintaining proper beer temperatures during judging
  • Emptying dump buckets as needed
  • Checking the paperwork as judges complete it for completeness
  • Additional tasks as needed to help the competition run smoothly

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Should I sign up as a judge or steward?

If you are a BJCP Certified judge, we will want you to help us judge! If you are new to this process, you should sign up to steward so you can see what it is all about. If you are an experienced judge, but not BJCP, it is okay to sign up to judge, but please list your judging experience level in liew of a BJCP ID. We may move around some judges to stewards and vice-versa depending on the experience level and needs that we will have for the event.

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Where and when do I need to show up?

The Saturday Session of the Dominion Cup will be held at Center of the Universe Brewing Company (11293 Air Park Rd, Ashland, VA 23005). We need to start judging the first flight by 9:00am to stay on schedule, so we ask you to please show up by 8:30am if you are judging or stewarding. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. If you are only able to help for the afternoon session, please show up by 12:00pm.
Directions / exact times for the Wednesday through Friday pre-sessions will be emailed to those who sign up for it.

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Can I volunteer for only part of the competition?

Yes, but if you are able to stay all day, please sign up for that! There are options to register for each session on the online registration system.

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What if I need to change my availability?

Log into the online registration system and click on "Update Volunteer Status". You can also email the competition coordinator directly.

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If I am volunteering, can I bring my entries on the day of the competition?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accomodate entries delivered on the day of the competition. We're just too big for that and some beers get judged in pre-sessions.

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Competition sanctioned by:
James River Homebrewers BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) Southeastern Homebrewers Association