Category Archives: Competition

Overdue 2013 updates – State of the Brewery 2014

It’s been an age since my last post. Due to a new job and a pregnant wife (due any day now) I had to take a hiatus from brewing last fall and haven’t quite gotten back into it yet (hopefully this Spring). I ended pretty strong by brewing a Russian Imperial Stout and an American Barleywine, among a few other batches.

Competition-wise I did not have as strong of a performance in 2013 as I did in 2012, however I am still pretty happy with the results overall (getting two beers to 2nd round of NHC was pretty cool even though neither placed in the 2nd round):

Summary:

2013 summary

2013 stats

The scoresheets I got back from the 2nd round of the NHC were a bit confusing and it doesn’t seem like the judges ever agreed on the APA (3 very different opinions with similar scores). There were 3 scoresheets for each – here’s a summary:

APA – Sheet 1 (36): Too much fruitiness – needs more hops, Sheet 2 (35): Large malt presence – needs more hops (no mention of fruit), Sheet 3 (38): A little sweet – otherwise excellent

Specialty – Scottish Ale – Between 80/- and Wee Heavy – Sheet 1 (37): A little thin – wee light, Sheet 2 (38): More of a Wee Heavy than Specialty, Sheet 3 (38): Should have entered as Strong Scotch Ale

I sent some subpar beers to the State Fair this year and my results reflect that (no placement). I’ll add that I was pretty let down in the judging/feedback from this competition (lots of non-ranked judges, vague comments, contradictory scoresheets, etc.), but I know I didn’t send my best group of beers in either.

In the year ahead I will for sure do some brewing, but probably not to the extent that I did in 2013. I’ll probably get back into it with some 2.5 gallon batches and work up to some 5 gallon batches when the weather improves. I’m sure it will take a few batches to get back into the swing of things, but I’ll make sure to do some blog posts as I go.

I entered my English Barleywine, Russian Imperial Stout and American Barleywine in Upper Mississippi Mashout – have no idea how any of them will do. The English Barleywine got a 30 back in August – should have improved some since then. I’ll have to do some posts on the RIS and American Barleywine pretty soon here – I’m really happy with how those turned out. The RIS was an attempt at a Surly Darkness clone (like the hoppier 2011 version) and the American Barleywine is similar to Jamil’s BCS recipe.

Cheers to you all in the New Year

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NHC Round 1 Results

NHC.2013

I received my scoresheets today from NHC Round 1 this morning. I had entered 4 beers and 2 advanced. I was hoping at least 1 would advance so pretty cool that 2 made it. I had actually tried the winning APA after the Mini BOS concluded and was about 75% sure it was mine, but I literally got one sip since so many people wanted to try it and had just been drinking Dark Lagers and eating chips so I couldn’t tell for sure and didn’t want to let myself believe it was for sure mine. As you can see above the APA advanced with a whopping score of 30 – that’s right the lowest possible score to be eligible for the 2nd round – I’ll wear that like a badge of honor. The judges for the APA were not even National in rank and one of the Mini BOS judges was a Grandmaster III so I’m pretty much disregarding the scoresheets. It was clearly a low scoring flight if a 30 advanced to Mini BOS.

I’ll be rebrewing the APA with no recipe changes in the next couple of weeks to be ready for Round 2 judging.

My Robert the Bruce clone was entered in the Specialty Category and scored a much more respectable 43.5. I won’t need to rebrew that beer. The Mild that got 1st at UMMO and 3rd at March Mashness scored a 39.5 and advanced to the Mini BOS, but did not place. My special Bitter did not score well with a 27 as I expected, it had the off flavor I posted about here, but by the time I realized it wasn’t going away it was too late to edit my entries.

 

Beer Entered Date Brewed BJCP Category Score Place
Crickhollow Mild 3.0 11/17/2012 11A 39.5 N/A
Bagshot Pale 3.0 2/23/2013 10A 30 1st
Bucklebury Bitter 2/7/2013 8B 27.5 N/A
Northfarthing Ale 12/27/2012 23A 43.5 2nd

 

On second thought I might even brew 2 versions of the APA and see which I prefer and in case I screw something up so I have a contingency plan – I have 3 bottles from the last batch, but they’d be 4 months old when judged so that isn’t much of a back up plan. I’m pretty confident in my brewing, but this is NHC after all..

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Bagshot Pale 3.0 – APA

APA_3.0

I spoke to the first and second iteration of this recipe in this post so I’ll keep this post brief. Obviously this is the third iteration of this recipe – I brewed this one with NHC in mind. I liked the previous versions a lot, but I think I nailed exactly what I was going for the third time.

I entered both previous versions in 3 competitions each and ended up with some pretty good results. In one competition it was dinged for high diacetyl, which I think was probably from another beer in that flight because the same batch did well in 2 other competitions and I never picked up any diacetyl. I took the feedback from all the scoresheets giving more weight to the 2nd version as well as my notes and decided on a few changes:

  • The hop flavor seemed a bit muddled so I decided to move the Amarillo from the Dry Hop and use it all in the hopstand while moving the Centennial from the hopstand to dry hop. I really liked the aroma of Janet’s Brown Ale which was dry hopped with 2 oz Centennial. I also thought having Cascade and Amarillo in the hopstand without Centennial would focus the flavors a bit more.
  • I thought the bitterness could be a bit higher and some scoresheets more or less concurred, but I didn’t want to add a large bittering addition – in an attempt to preserve the integrity of the original recipe (which focuses on the “whirlpool” hop stand for nearly all bitterness) I decided to use the water profile I use for all my other hoppy beers, which is the one Tasty McDole uses (I had previously used Firestone Walker’s profile for this recipe). I do not know much about water chemistry, but I know this profile works and accentuates bitterness so I figured this was a pretty safe change without modifying the hopping schedule.
  • A couple of scoresheets mentioned malt aroma as being a bit low. The style guideline says low-moderate for both malt aroma and flavor so I opted to increase the Victory from 3.6% to 5.8%. I’m hoping that gets me a hint of malty/toasty aroma as it was pretty much all hop aroma before – hopefully the 2.2% increase was enough to be noticed. I modified the grist percentage for everything to accommodate this change, but only slightly from version 2.0.

Bagshot Pale 3.0:

5 finished gallons (6.5 gallon batch size – 1.25 left in kettle, 5.25 into carboy)

90 minute boil

1.054 OG

1.014 FG

73% Rahr 2 Row

15.4% Weyermann Munich (8L)

5.8% Briess CaraPils

5.8% Briess Victory Malt

5 grams Cascade 5.6% 90 mins

5 grams Cascade 5.6% 30 mins

46.8 grams Cascade 5.6% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

56.8 grams Amarillo 9.2% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

28.4 grams Cascade 5.6% Dry hop for 6 days

56.8 grams Centennial 8.7% Dry hop for 6 days

WLP002

Pitch at 63, let rise to 66F. As fermentation wraps up increase temp to 68F. When within about .002 gravity points of target final gravity add dry hops. After 3 days cold crash for 3 days before packaging.

I have found that this beer is very drinkable after a week in the keg, but even better if you wait until about 6 weeks from brew day. This particular version has an intensely citrusy and spicy aroma with hints of orange,  grapefruit and some clean malt character. The spiciness is a bit higher than in 2.0 and I’m really liking it – overall the aroma screams American C hops, and more importantly it screams American Pale Ale. The color is golden with a hint of orange – brilliantly clear (it’s lighter than the picture above shows – had trouble with lighting). The bitterness and moderate carbonation hit you first, but the flavor quickly shifts to citrus/grapefruit with some breadiness and orange flavor. I don’t pick up any toastiness still, that is one thing I’d consider trying to increase, but it’s just so drinkable as is I think any more malt character might detract from the beer overall. The finish is dry by design with a hint of lingering bitterness and even hop flavor. The older it gets the more the malt flavor comes through (as the hops fade).

I entered this in NHC, but category 10 is never easy so I’m not holding my breath.

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The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha results

medals

The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha competition was last weekend and I entered 3 beers. The scoresheets were mailed on Monday and I got mine on Tuesday – pretty cool to get them that fast.

Bagshot Pale (APA – 10A) scored a 38.5 and got 1st place out of 12 other APAs. Interesting that there was not even a hint of diacetyl mentioned where in UMMO they said it was far too high for the style – maybe they had some leftover on their palates from a previous entry or something – who knows. I took some steps to reduce diacetyl anyway in a Bitter brewed last week and will do the same when I brew this APA again. One judge went as far as saying no flaws detected in both aroma and flavor – diacetyl (and marked it as flawless) would have been mentioned if they picked any up. Anyway though, the scoresheets both were quite good and neither noted any real criticisms nor recommendations to improve. 39 is a good score, but it would have been nice if one or both judges had given some feedback on how this would score higher. Aroma was 8/12 on both and I’m thinking it could use a little more malt aroma so I might increase Victory by a little bit, we’ll see though. I think I might also change the hopping slightly.

Ivy Bush Oat Stout (Oatmeal Stout – 13C) scored a 34.5 and did not place (11 entries). I entered this one for feedback, didn’t really expect it to place and I’m pretty happy with the 35. The judges both noted that it needs more oatmeal to get some additional creaminess and oatmeal flavor. One noted that it had poor head retention as I had noticed as well and he said increasing the oatmeal would help. I probably will brew the same recipe as before and will just increase the flaked oats or maybe do flaked oats and Golden Naked Oats. Even with toasting the flaked oats I didn’t pick up very much oatmeal flavor in this one.

Hamfast the Gaffer (Imperial IPA – 14C) scored a 36.5 and got 1st place out of 28 entries. I didn’t realize it until I read the summary sheet that came with the scoresheets, but this was the biggest category in the competition – which makes the 1st place win a little sweeter. I was really impressed with one of the scoresheets, I’ve seldom seen so much writing on one (filled every line and the section between each category as well as some in the margin).  The description and detail was great and I appreciated it enough to email the judge and thank him as well as ask a question as he adjusted the score down to average with the other judge. Essentially he is a really high ranked judge and gave it a 43, but had to average the score down to be in line with the other judge who, in my opinion, didn’t seem to be real knowledgeable on Imperial IPAs. I don’t want to go into it too much or it’ll look like I’m whining, but I’ll just post both sheets below. The 2nd judge gave it a 33 and changed to a 35, but the 1st judge didn’t know that it had changed from a 33 or he would’ve given it a 40 instead of a 38 to be within 5 pts (he confirmed this in the email) which was a requirement of this competition.

Scoresheet 1 (click and zoom if necessary):

14C sheet 1

Scoresheet 2 (click and zoom if necessary):

14C sheet 2

Midwinter Competition is this weekend – they have some cool medals I’m hoping to get at least one. After that I’ll probably enter 2 or 3 beers in March Mashness and there really aren’t many more competitions around here until 1st round of NHC.

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UMMO Results

UMMO.medals

The scoresheets came back from the first competition we’ve entered so far in 2013 (Upper Mississippi Mashout). As I said in an earlier post, this is supposed to be one of the best judged competitions of the year so I wasn’t really sure what to expect having not entered this one before (or possibly even a competition as well ran/judged as this one).

The results were posted sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning (I checked when I woke up) and the scoresheets were apparently mailed out right away, but there was a postage issue and they had to resend them all out last weekend – no big deal, still had within about 10 days of the competitions which is plenty fast.

We ended up with 1 gold (Mild 3.0), 2 silvers (Scottish 70/- and IIPA)  and 1 beer that didn’t place (APA 2.0). I talk about each beers in the post linked in the top paragraph as well as other posts so I won’t go into great detail in this post.

The Mild that got 1st (39.5) is one that I don’t like and neither has anyone else that has tried it so far. Apparently it’s a good example of the style though, but I won’t brew that recipe again. I am going to enter it in NHC though since it did fairly well and I don’t know what else to do with the rest of the batch. The judges stated it could improve with a little more fruity ester complexity – that’s the problem with competing in the English styles- if they don’t taste like fruit-cake you will hear about it on your scoresheets, I just like my English beers with very limited ester character so I won’t be changing that.

The Scottish 70/- got 2nd (41 adjusted to 39) and was noted to be slightly over carbonated which detracted from the malt flavor – I blame my piece of shit regulator, but ultimately that’s my fault and overcarbonation is something I’m almost never accused of (quite the contrary…). One judge thought it had a little too much roasted grain and slight diacetyl (from WLP001?!?) – this was Jamil’s recipe and I probably wouldn’t tweak much if/when I rebrew it.

The IIPA got 2nd (37 adjusted to 43!) was the 2nd time I brewed a Pliny clone with some minor changes. One judge thought it had too much hop flavor and aroma, the other thought it needed more hop flavor and aroma. Both seemed to like the beer though, but the aroma was a bit subdued from the last batch which, I think, came from using gelatin. Based on the timelines though I had to use it and it really does make the beer sparkle. I think I’ll try to not use gelatin on APAs, IPAs and IIPAs when I can help it though.

The APA didn’t place (28.5) and that really surprised me as I thought it was about as classic of an APA as you can get. It also tasted really clean and I didn’t pick up any flaws. The judges thought it had too much diacetyl, which I either am not sensitive to or the judges maybe had some on their palates from a beer earlier in the flight – I’m not out to make excuses, but it’s got to be one or the other.

I will have to dig in and figure out how to adjust my process if I’m throwing off diacetyl and not picking it up myself. The yeast in question is WLP002, which I’ve had diacetyl comments from in several batches now and it is a pretty notorious strain for diacetyl, but it is still precious to me and I will fight through this.

I’m brewing a Special Bitter this week and the APA (with some adjustments) in 2 weeks both for NHC and both with WLP002 so I need to make some adjustments immediately starting with going from a 1L starter to 1.5L and probably doing my D rest earlier in fermentation than I have been (instead of when krausen drops I think I’ll do this about a day after high krausen (probably 2.5-3 days from pitching). I think I will also rouse the fermenter as I ramp up the temp – not sure what else to do besides leave the beer on the yeast a bit longer (I usually give these about 10 days from pitching, maybe I’ll go closer to 2 weeks). I sent an email to White Labs, but I don’t know if they’ll respond or, if they do, if it will be real constructive.

There are a couple more competitions coming up (this Saturday and next Saturday) so I’m hoping to have more scoresheets back before tweaking my process too much. This kind of feedback is part of the reason I enter competitions – if I truly don’t detect diacetyl (which some people are not sensitive to) than I may be serving friends/family buttery slick beer which is unacceptable, but I wouldn’t have known without getting feedback. I’ll know more once I see the results from the next 2 competitions, but it has identified some simple things I can do to reduce the amount of diacetyl that ends up in the finished product.

I’m still looking for more gold and hopefully a BOS or two this year, stay tuned readers.

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In Search of Gold……Medals

As happens several times throughout the year there are several competitions coming up within weeks of each other in the area that allow drop offs at Northern Brewer – meaning no hassle with shipping. Whenever this happens I try to brew up a few beers to enter in each – which I’ve made mention of in some recent posts. I also had some bottles left of other beers brewed last year that I decided to enter. I was really hoping to volunteer at the Mashout, but couldn’t get out of work Friday and Saturday (during judging) so hopefully I’ll have that chance later this year as I’ve never helped out with a competition.

 

Bagshot Pale

Bagshot Pale

American Pale Ale – Bagshot Pale – this is the second iteration of the recipe, see the post for more info there. The first iteration got 1st, 1st, 3rd in the three competitions I entered it in. I’m really happy with the changes made in this version – the hop flavor is amazing. I’m planning to enter this recipe in NHC, which may or may not change depending on scores/feedback from the upcoming competitions. This is entered in Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26, The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha! 2/9 and MMXIII Midwinter Home Brew Competition 2/15.

 

Hamfast the Gaffer

Hamfast the Gaffer

Imperial IPA – Hamfast the Gaffer – once again, this is the second iteration of a Pliny clone – lots of info in that post. Also, once again, I’m really happy with how this turned out in it’s second iteration. I probably wont rebrew this to enter it in NHC, but I will brew it at some point again this year probably whenever the next group of competitions around here are together (probably late summer/early fall). Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26, The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha! 2/9 and MMXIII Midwinter Home Brew Competition 2/15.

 

Crickhollow Mild

Crickhollow Mild

English MildCrickhollow Mild – this is my third attempt at a Mild – I go into great (probably too much) detail about the recipe in the post, but in this case I’m not thrilled with what the amber malt brought in – almost an astringent-like flavor that is a bit strong at this point. I’ve read that the flavor can/will fade over time, but I’m not sure how patient I’ll be with it. I figured I’d enter it anyway and see if the judges like it better than I do or if they think the astringent flavor is a process issue or something. This is entered in Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26.

 

MacAulish

MacAulish

Scottish 70/- MacAulish – I brewed this back in August and it has been at about 35* F since early September – for whatever reason this beer really improves with extended cold storage. This got a silver medal in Hoppy Halloween scoring 36.5. This is Jamil’s recipe with Simpson’s Caramalt/Extra Dark Crystal (as opposed to American crystal) and Northdown for bittering. This is entered in Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26.

 

Oatmeal Stout w/ Espresso shot

Oatmeal Stout w/ Espresso shot

Oatmeal Stout – Ivy Bush Oat Stout – This was brewed in early October and turned out fairly good. This is essentially Jamil’s recipe with a few tweaks (UK crystals, toasted the oats, etc) – see recipe in the post (which is in the Oatmeal Stout Chili post) for more info. The only glaring issue with this beer is the head retention is fairly poor (unlike when you add a shot of espresso as in the pic) – I know that will count against the score as it’s mentioned in the style guidelines (“Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head.”), but I wanted to get some feedback anyway since I haven’t entered a stout in a competition yet. This is entered in The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha! 2/9.

 

Janet's Brown Ale

Janet’s Brown Ale

American Brown Ale – Janet’s Brown Ale – brewday post here and tasting notes here. I happened to have exactly 2 bottles left of this after giving some away and decided to enter them instead of drink them. Last time I had one of these (1-2 weeks ago) it tasted excellent so I’m hoping it’ll hold up for another month until the competition. They’ll be picking one Brown Ale (English or American) to be ramped up and brewed at the Milwaukee Ale House sometime this year so I figured it was worth a shot, just wish this was fresher (brewed 10/27/12). This is entered in MMXIII Midwinter Home Brew Competition 2/15.

 

I’ll get a post up at some point after each or all of the competitions. For past results see competition results page.

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Hamfast the Gaffer (Pliny clone) take 2.0

pliny_2.0

Good Day readers,

Brewed up another pliny clone on 12/13/12. Instead of following the same recipe from the Zymurgy article as I did last time I came across another blogger that believed he had a more accurate and up to date clone recipe and decided to tweak my recipe a bit. I want to compete with this beer and I’m not looking to make an exact clone at this point so I didn’t make all of the changes, but here’s the updated recipe and thanks to Scott for posting the info on his blog (which, if you like beer blogs you should check out):

Hamfast the Gaffer 2.0

Tasty McDole’s “hoppy” water profile

5 finished gallons (6.75 gallon batch size – 1.5 left in kettle, 5.25 into carboy, 5 into keg)

90 minute boil

Mash at 150* F for 90 minutes

1.072 OG (ended up at 1.073)

1.010 FG (measured)

88% Rahr 2 Row

5% Corn Sugar

4% Briess Carapils

3% Briess Crystal 40

110 grams CTZ 17% 90 minutes

24 grams CTZ 13.9% 45 minutes

32 grams Simcoe 13% 30 minutes

1/2 tablet Whirlfloc 5 minutes

74.5 grams Simcoe 12.2% 0 minutes (hot steep for 15 minutes before chilling)

32 grams Centennial 11.6% 0 minutes (hot steep for 15 minutes before chilling)

Servomyces added prior to chilling

After chilling whirlpooled with a spoon and let kettle sit for 2 hours before racking to Better Bottle, transferred only a small amount of pellet hop material – left the rest behind with 1.5 gallons of wort/trub.

60 seconds pure 02

WLP001 pitched at 65* F, allowed to free rise to 67* F for fermentation, ramped up to 70* F as fermentation slowed down. Racked to secondary at 1.013 onto 10 day dry hops – second dose also added in secondary.

28.4 grams Centennial Dry Hop 10 days

28.4 grams CTZ Dry Hop 10 days

28.4 Simcoe Dry Hop 10 days

21 grams Amarillo Dry Hop 10 days

7.1  grams Centennial Dry Hop 5 days

7.1 grams CTZ Dry Hop 5 days

10.7 Simcoe Dry Hop 5 days

10.2 grams Amarillo Dry Hop 5 days

Kegged/fined with gelatin on 1/2

1/8 pours crystal clear, tastes really great, still a bit harsh (always find that beers need at least 1-2 weeks in the keg to mellow out).

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After 2 weeks in the keg this beer tastes really good. The flavors have mellowed and the harshness has faded. The addition of amarillo is very evident surprisingly enough, the aroma is pine, resin, floral citrus, a bit of earthiness/dankness and maybe a hint of fruitiness (from hops, not yeast). The flavor is all of the above with a bit more pine/resin. The mouthfeel is great, the hop oil lingers on your tongue – this is obviously from the large amounts of oily hops, but the 15 minute hot-steep before chilling increases this dramatically – and in a very good way. The bitterness is perfect and the malt flavor is right where I want it. I don’t think I’d tweak the recipe at all for the next batch. The color is lighter than the first batch and I like where it’s at. The gelatin didn’t seem to strip aroma/flavor and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it again (previously I had refrained from using it in hoppier beers, but I think I’ll use it in all beers going forward).

This is a great recipe and every IPA/IIPA lover should brew it at least once. This will be entered alongside Bagshot Pale and maybe some other beers in Upper Mississippi Mashout, Great Northern BrewHaHa and MMXIII Midwinter Home Brew Contest. I’ll get some results posts up afterwards. The first attempt of this recipe got 1st, 2nd, 3rd in the three competitions I sent it to – I know that the competition will likely be stiffer in UMMO at least though.

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Bagshot Pale – American Pale Ale

apa7

What beer-lover doesn’t love a nice clean American Pale Ale? This is such an easy-drinking sessionable style. The first beer we ever brewed was Midwest Supplies’ Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone, this is the style that started it all for us. Looking back at the original brew log – that one was brewed 4/2/10  and was bottled on 4/15/10. Naturally when tasted on 4/22/10 it tasted green and was under-carbed (remember not being able to resist having a bottle during conditioning?). By mid-May we were drinking it and were hooked on homebrewing. Surprisingly I took hydrometer readings that batch and it started at 1.049 and finished at 1.012 – the next few batches don’t have readings.

Since that pale ale we’ve brewed about 15 gallons of a Mirror Pond clone and are on the 2nd iteration of a recipe that I developed.  The only style that has been brewed more is likely Special Bitter – which is a British ancestor of the American Pale Ale.

The recipe for Bagshot Pale is heavily influenced by Firestone Walker’s Mission Street Pale Ale. I listened to the CYBI series with Firestone Walker and was instantly enamored with Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster. He is 3rd only to Jamil and Tasty in my fantasies. One of the main things I liked about Firestone Walker’s Pale beers is that they all use a yeast similar to the Fullers yeast (WLP002 / Wyeast 1968) which is my favorite yeast to use. They also do most of their dry hopping in the primary fermentor, and since I’m lazy that means one less carboy to clean. Firestone Walker’s pale beers all seem to be really clean and easy to drink, which is something I typically aim for. In short, they just seem to do everything right – I’ve only had a couple of their beers, but based on the podcasts and other things I’ve read I feel confident in saying that.

The grist is that of Mission Street Pale Ale just higher gravity, I don’t do the Firestone Walker mash schedule, but rather a single sach rest temp of 148F. I follow a similar hopping schedule, just at higher rates to what Firestone does. Tiny 90 and 30 minute additions followed by a massive whirlpool addition, which for us, is just a 30 minute hot steep post boil.

Bagshot Pale 1.0

5 finished gallons (6.5 gallon batch size – 1.25 left in kettle, 5.25 into carboy)

90 minute boil

1.052 OG

1.011 FG

80% Rahr 2 Row

15% German Munich (8L)

5% Briess CaraPils

10 grams Cascade 7% 90 mins

10 grams Cascade 7% 30 mins

50 grams Cascade 7% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

39 grams Centennial 9% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

14 grams Amarillo 9.3% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

14 grams Cascade 7% Dry hop for 6 days

14 grams Centennial 9% Dry hop for 6 days

14 grams Amarillo 9.3% Dry hop for 6 days

WLP002

Pitch at 63, let rise to 66F. As fermentation wraps up increase temp to 68F. When within .002 gravity points of target final gravity add dry hops. After 3 days cold crash for 3 days before kegging.

The first version of this recipe got 1st place in it’s category at Hoppy Halloween 2012 (37.5 – 6 weeks old), 1st place at Land of the Muddy Waters 2012 (38 – 9 weeks old) and 3rd place at SCH*ABC V (35- 9 weeks old). The scoresheets from Hoppy Halloween stated that the beer is very clean and the hop the hops overpowered the malt and that the beer would benefit from additional late additions/dry hopping). At 9 weeks old the scoresheets stated that the body was a bit thin, but the malt/hops/bitterness were perfectly balanced.

The beer, when young, is all hops. The body was a bit thin, but I really didn’t want to make the beer too much bigger or mash higher because I think that would hurt drinkability and this is the type of beer that I like to have several pints of in a session. The gravity was boosted to 1.058. I decided to add some Victory Malt to give this a little bit more malt flavor especially when young. I also simplified the hopping to be in 1 oz increments. The “whirlpool” addition got slightly smaller, but the AA% was a bit higher on the Centennials. I didn’t want to increase the bitterness of the beer which is why the hops were reduced overall on the hot side, but the dry hops were all doubled to increase aroma and hop flavor.

Bagshot Pale 2.0

5 finished gallons (6.5 gallon batch size – 1.25 left in kettle, 5.25 into carboy)

90 minute boil

1.058 OG

1.013 FG

76% Rahr 2 Row

15.5% German Munich (8L)

5% Briess CaraPils

3.5% Briess Victory Malt

5 grams Cascade 7% 90 mins

5 grams Cascade 7% 30 mins

45 grams Cascade 7% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

28.4 grams Centennial 11.6% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

28.4 grams Amarillo 8.2% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

28.4 grams Cascade 7% Dry hop for 6 days

28.4 grams Centennial 11.6% Dry hop for 6 days

28.4 grams Amarillo 8.2% Dry hop for 6 days

WLP002

Pitch at 63, let rise to 66F. As fermentation wraps up increase temp to 68F. When within .002 gravity points of target final gravity add dry hops. After 3 days cold crash for 3 days before kegging.

I’m hoping these changes will get this beer into the 40’s in some upcoming competitions. Assuming it continues to do well I’ll likely enter this in NHC – I have just enough Amarillo to brew it again and for a rebrew if it advances. The beauty of this recipe though is that you really could put whatever hops you want in it and it will really showcase them well. When I run out of Amarillo I think I’ll replace that with Chinook (Simcoe and Citra both would do well, but I really prefer those in IPA/IIPAs as opposed to a session APA). As it is now the beer is citrusy, floral, a little spicy/piney/resinous, grapefruity, and slightly malty in both flavor and aroma. It tastes very clean behind all the hop flavor and only slightly sweet in the finish.

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Brewing/Competition Summary 2012

Good day readers.

2012 – and maybe the world – is coming to an end. We are done with competitions for 2012 so thought it would be good to have a post about what we have gained from competing this year.

I’m going to bring you back to 2011 – this is when we first attempted some all grain beers. The first beer was a Surly Bender clone that I found online (this was before there was a kit for it). This batch, in addition to the next 2 did not attenuate more then 50%. Eventually we figured out that the dial thermometer we were using, although calibrated in ice water, was not at all accurate in the mash temperature range. After several dumped batches a new thermometer was purchased which was a bit more accurate – close enough to be dangerous at least.

A couple more batches were attempted and were drinkable, but had some off flavors. Eventually these were found to be from the water in my city being very poor for brewing (mineral levels are not typical for the area, Mg is especially high and above ideal levels), so we started using water from another city and our beers improved again. By this point we were nearing the end of 2011 and had brewed 16 all grain batches. I’d say 10 of these batches were good enough to drink, the other 6 were bad and were mostly dumped. At the end of 2011 we were pretty dejected and weren’t really sure how much longer we’d keep brewing, there were just too many batches not turning out (due to process issues, recipe flaws, etc). This is basically like in Return of the King when Frodo is ready to give up and Samwise the Brave gives the inspiring talk about there being some good left in the world that is worth fighting for.

I (and my brew-partner Jay) still believed there was some hope, and it was worth fighting for. I immersed myself in brewing literature, podcasts, etc. and figured out a few things to work on. First was to start using Reverse Osmosis water and add back some minerals/salts to desired levels. Second was the use of pure O2 instead of just shaking the carboy to aerate. Third was to stop taking liberties with recipes or to try to create them until we knew more about recipe formulation.

The first batch we attempted in 2012 was Jamil’s Evil Twin. We used RO water and used the water profile that Tasty McDole uses for his hoppy beers (Ca-110ppm, Mg-17ppm, Na-17ppm, SO4-350ppm, Cl-50ppm). We pitched the proper amount of yeast and added 60 seconds of O2. A month later were were drinking a delicious IPA – it really is a great recipe. In addition to the use of RO water and adding O2, an important thing here is that we started to really pay attention to detail with this batch. We took detailed notes, followed the recipe to a T and didn’t really drink much during the brew day – a previous requirement while brewing.

After a very successful batch in Evil Twin we made a special bitter – Jamil’s ordinary Bitter recipe made slightly bigger (by accident). We thought this was a pretty fantastic beer, so we entered it in the 2012 March Mashness competition thinking this would reveal some process flaws we could try to fix next. To our surprise, this scored a 35 and took 2nd in the English Ales category. The only things the judges said was that it was lacking a bit in hop bitterness for the style.

After that competition we really became confident in our process and stopped looking to the next big technique or piece of equipment that could help us make better beer. We kept brewing and started entering more competitions towards the end of summer where we had some decent results. We kept tweaking the special bitter recipe and it eventually took 1st in it’s category at the State Fair (42.5), but since then it has not done well in competition due to oxidation issues.

This is one area of our process that we have now addressed as a result of competition feedback. Instead of racking with an autosiphon and gravity, we have started using a closed transfer system using CO2 to push the beer from a Better Bottle to a keg. We also started capping on foam when filling bottles from a keg – I believe these 2 process changes will eliminate oxidation issues. When we can fit it in, we will redeem ourselves by entering the Special Bitter again – it’s a matter of honor (“Well of course it’s going to be dangerous if it’s a matter of fucking honor” – if you haven’t seen In Bruges stop reading and go buy it – I know you don’t want to watch it because Collin Farrell is in it, but do it anyway – you won’t regret it).

There were 7 styles we competed with. We picked 4 styles to try to rebrew for some competitions coming up in early 2013 based on feedback received throughout the year.

English Mild

American Pale Ale

American IPA

Imperial IPA

I am not positive we’ll get to the IPA, but the Mild and APA have been brewed and the IIPA will be brewed next week. These will be entered in 3-4 competitions in January and February. I went into detail about the recipe evolution for the English Mild (Chrickhollow Mild) in this post. The IPA (Erebor Pale Ale), if brewed will not change much as it’s done very well in competition already, but the dry hopping will be increased as we only used 1 oz last time (would use around 3 oz in the rebrew). The IIPA (Hamfast the Gaffer) will be mashed slightly higher as it finished around 1.009 last time and was missing a hint of malt backbone that the judges are looking for. I think we could get it to finish around 1.011, but I wouldn’t want it any higher and this may not even be noticeable.

I was a bit torn on what to do with the APA (Bagshot Pale). This got 1st in Hoppy Halloween (judged in late October) in the American Ales category with a 37.5. The scoresheet stated that it was missing some malt flavor, which I agreed with. The middle was lacking some flavor, but otherwise this beer was exactly what I was shooting for. I also submitted it in SCH*ABC V and Land of the Muddy Waters, both competitions were judged on 11/10/12. By Mid November, the beer was about 8 weeks old and the hop flavor had started to fade a bit. The malt character was more noticeable. It took 1st at Land of the Muddy Waters and 3rd at SCH*ABC V. The scoresheets now were saying the malt comes through a little more than the hops, which makes sense as it ages. I decided to add about 3.5% Victory Malt and also increase the hot steep (basically whirlpool addition) by about 25% and the dry hop by 50%. I’m hoping this will provide just a little bit of malt flavor when fresh, and the increase in hops will keep the hop aroma/flavor around a bit longer (which probably won’t happen, but we’ll see). This was brewed last Saturday so we’ll see how this ends up coming out in a few weeks.

I can honestly say that competitions have helped improve the quality of the beer that we brew. They are a great source for feedback for your brewing process as well as your recipes. One important point is that you aren’t going to get much out of entering a beer one time, it really pays to send it to as many competitions as you can.

We entered 21 beers in 7 competitions and ended up with 16 top 3 places and 1 best in show. For all the 2012 results, go to the competitions page here.

We’ll definitely be entering competitions throughout 2013, but are likely only going to enter and brew beers we really like as accurate stylistic interpretations (like a Mild, Special Bitter, IIPA, APA, etc) so as not to limit ourselves in whatever else we become inspired to brew (Pacific hopped IPA, smoked/oaked Hobbit Mild, etc.) and also because we want to use the Beer Engine Caskegerator a bit more and typically beers are better when you brew them with cask conditioning/serving in mind as opposed to brewing them for competition.

Cheers

Hamfast “the Gaffer” Gamgee

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Hoppy Halloween results

I received scoresheets and prizes last weekend from the Hoppy Halloween competition put on by the Prairie Homebrewing Companions. This club is pretty hardcore about this competition, respect.

The results were posted live on facebook during the awards banquet – it was pretty cool to follow along, especially since 6/7 beers that I entered received a medal. I didn’t end up winning the conical for best in show, but never truly expected to.  I ended up having 2 beers in the best in show round so I did what I could.

Click Image to enlarge:

The feedback was generally very good, but some were off the mark (guessing recipe, telling me to add something that was already there, etc). I’ll be taking the feedback into account as I rebrew the Mild, APA, IPA, IIPA in Nov/Dec for some upcoming competitions in Jan/Feb.

Ended up with a lot of prizes, some t-shirts, hat, New Zealand Hops, grains, bottle opener, 7.5g stainless kettle and a temp controller. Most precious of all though are, of course, the medals:

The lanyards are way superior to the typical red, white and blue. The skulls and mummies were clearly a labor of love. The engraving on the back for the category and place is a nice touch as well, much better than the usual sticker.

Bagshot Pale (APA) and Hamfast the Gaffer (IIPA) are both in competitions (Land of the Muddy Waters & SCH*ABC V) this weekend, will post after those results are up on Saturday or Sunday. I’m a little worried that these are out of their prime, but hopefully I get some useful feedback regardless.

Original post on Hoppy Halloween

Overall Competition Results page

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