Tag Archives: Competition

English Mild – take 5

DSC_0537 HDR copy small

For my first batch in about 6 months I figured I’d start with the last recipe I had worked on before I took a break from brewing. If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know I’ve brewed quite a few Mild’s and never quite been happy with them (even though some have done quite well in competition). It’s not my favorite style to drink, but for some reason I keep brewing them! It’s also a category I qualified for in the MCAB competition so I figured if I liked this one I’ll use it as my entry. I spent a fair amount of time on this recipe and also got some help after trying several of another homebrewer’s Mild’s. The homebrewer in question recently won BOS at Midwinter with, you guessed it, a Mild.

The biggest change is using Mild Ale malt as the basemalt instead of my typical Floor Malted Marris Otter. I also greatly increased the Simpson’s Extra Dark Crystal and removed the higher-kilned malts (leaving only Pale Chocolate). I also added some Golden Naked Oats since they contribute some unique flavor and texture and finished with a bit of domestic Crystal 60 (a bit sweeter than the English equivalent I think). For hops I stuck with Goldings and added a small 5 min addition to enhance that “English character” judges love to hunt for. Stuck with my usual WLP002 for the yeast – althought I have to admit I’ve enjoyed Wyeast 1469 in other Milds and will likely have to give that a try at some point.

Mild 5.0

60 Min boil

Mash at 152F for 60 mins

1.038 OG

1.013 FG

17 IBU at 60 mins – EKG

2 IBU at 5 mins – EKG

79% Briess Ashburne Mild Ale Malt (5.3L)

3% Briess Crystal 60  (60L)

9% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal (160L)

3% Simpson’s Pale Chocolate Malt (220L)

6% Simpson’s Golden Naked Oats (10L)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

30 seconds O2 (2.5 gallon batch)

Hit gravity and volume – fermented down to target as well.

DSC_1254

Here are some notes I wrote when working on this recipe: Looking for a quaffable mild with flavors of bread/toast/biscuit, light chocolate, hint of roast, hint of coffee, burnt sugar and some dark fruit, caramel/toffee, nuttiness. Want some slight silkiness/creaminess from the oats. The diff types of crystal malt in addition to different lovibonds should add some complexity and help achieve the flavors I’m looking for. 5 min addition of EKG should help with an assertive “English Beer” character. Pale chocolate should underline the toastiness with hints of chocolate, roast and even coffee.

The Mild Ale malt definitely helped with this, but even beyond that I must finally be learning something about recipe formulation because this beer hits all those descriptors – so much so that I see no need to go too in depth with a description.  There is a definite sweetness from the basemalt – you can pick that up separately from the crystal sweetness. It’s got a lot of toasted bread qualities and hints of coffee and chocolate.  It’s slightly creamy from the oats – not so much that you really notice though (probably wouldn’t call that out if you didn’t know there were oats). The only change I’d consider is adding a small amount of a darker chocolate malt – both to make the beer darker and to add a little more roast character.

I sent this into the March Mashness competition and I’ll likely send it to MCAB in April.

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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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Off flavor issue, other updates

I had several posts planned for some batches that are now in kegs, but due to an off flavor that kept rearing it’s ugly head I decided to condense some batches into this post.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a big believer that BIAB (mash in a bag) is as good a method as other methods of all grain brewing – after all it’s basically batch sparging without the sparge and a simpler/quicker lauter. That being said I had several batches in the last few months that had a fairly strong grainy flavor to them that was not there by design. It started with Crickhollow Mild 3.0 and I thought it was caused by the Amber malt I added to it, but I have since realized that the bag I was using (purchased from an online vendor) from that batch on was allowing too much husk material to remain behind after removing the bag. Boiling a little bit of husk material isn’t the end of the world, but when you find a bunch in the trub after you rack to a fermenter you probably have too much. I have since replaced that bag with another homemade bag for my 2.5 gallon batch setup, and am using my original bag until I can get another bag made up for my 5 gallon setup. At first I thought I might be having PH issues as I’ve never really had to pay attention to mash PH it didn’t seem likely. I figured if a new bag didn’t fix the issue I’d dig deeper, but as usual the simplest answer was the right answer.

The reason it took me so long to figure this out is that the grainy flavor was only coming through on batches that utilized Marris Otter as the base malt. Those happened to be batches that were a bit more subtle (Mild, English Bitters, etc) as opposed to batches that I used Domestic 2 Row in (APAs, IPAs, IIPAs, Robert the Bruce clone, Barleywine) – all of which used the same bag. I’m not sure if this is due to the size of the base malt (MO might be slightly smaller than 2 Row) or if the bigger flavors have masked the grainy flavor in the batches that used 2 Row.

Crickhollow Mild

Crickhollow Mild 3.0

The grainy flavor didn’t prevent Crickhollow Mild 3.0 from doing well in competitions so far (38 and 39.5 so far 1st and 3rd) so I ended up entering it at NHC since I didn’t really want to drink it. Luckily some grainy flavor/astringency is allowed within that style, but one judge did say it made the beer finish a little dry and 3/4 scoresheets said additional sweetness would improve.

The batch I’m most concerned about this flavor in is my Special Bitter that I sent to NHC. I don’t think this off flavor would help that beer at all so I decided to add some Polyclar to the keg to try to strip the tannins/proteins that I believe were causing that flavor. It definitely helped, but it didn’t get rid of all of it so I don’t have much hope for this one advancing to the 2nd round.

I brewed another Mild as my first batch with the small batch setup and had just gotten to the point of realizing that there might be too much grain in the kettle when I saw some swirling around during the boil as you can see in the picture below:

grain_in_boil

I strained a lot of it out during the boil, but obviously I couldn’t get it all out at this point in the process. The batch did turn out to be a lot more drinkable than the Mild 3.0 version and the grainy flavor does seem to be fading the longer it cold conditions. If my Mild happens to make it to the 2nd round I might send Mild 4.0 vs Mild 3.0 to Philly if for no other reason than I like 4.0 better and it has a little more malt complexity.

As a true test I decided to brew a really light flavored Ordinary Bitter (90% MO, 10% Carastan) which I’ll post up in a week or two when it’s ready, but initial samples out of the keg had no trace of grainy/husky/tannic flavors.

NHC 2013

In other news I stewarded at the St. Paul judging center for NHC last weekend. It was the first time I had volunteered at a competition and I had a great time. Thanks to the 2 bottle format for Round 1 us stewards got to try whatever beers we wanted when the judges were done with them. It was pretty cool to try some beers and sit in with the judges as they discussed them or to have a beer and read the scoresheets that they handed you for it. If any of you have the opportunity to help out with a competition I’d highly recommend it, even something as boring sounding as ‘stewarding’ turned out to be quite fun.

It was interesting to see how beers are handled, judged, etc. I was surprised how subjective the Mini BOS process is – it taught me that you really have to nail a beer to get place, let along get 1st place. Any little flaw, or deviation from style, slight imbalance WILL prevent you from placing – assuming there is some decent competition in your category.

I’ll have some more posts up soon as I have several batches fermenting/conditioning at the moment.

Cheers

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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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MILDly annoyed

Crickhollow Mild

Crickhollow Mild

So back in November I brewed the third iteration of a Mild recipe thinking I’d nail it with the tweaks from version 2 to version 3 (long-winded blog post here), but after giving version 3 plenty of time to condition and mellow out I still don’t really like it – as gorgeous as it is in the picture above. I think the Crisp Amber malt just brought in an astringent flavor that is really unpleasant. As I mentioned in the competition post I did enter this in UMMO just to see if a trained palate can figure something else out that may be process related – it might even score well – it’s not bad I just don’t really like it and the guidelines do allow for some astringency in roast based versions.

Anyway though – dejected and demoralized I was thinking of just giving up on perfecting a Mild recipe for a while, but as I was reading through the style guideline when I was debating even entering version 3.0 I got an idea for a new recipe that I think could be quite delicious and decided not to give up!

I decided to target a more chocolate forward Mild and utilize some delicious  Simpson’s English Chocolate Malt instead of using Pale Chocolate and either Black Malt or Amber as in versions 2 and 3. I think with the amount I plan to use this should bring in plenty of chocolate flavor while hopefully adding just a bit of coffee and roast flavor. The Carastan and Extra Dark crystals will bring plenty of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, burnt sugar, and other crystal type complexity while the Floor Malted MO will bring plenty of bready maltiness (I sometimes get a hint of honey even – in a very good and pleasant way with this malt). I’m sure with everything going on there will also be plenty of toasty, nutty and other flavors mentioned in the style guidelines as well.

I might cask condition this and serve it on the Caskegerator if I can figure out a good way to bottle some for competition at the same time.

This recipe is subject to change at this point – probably brew it in a week or so:

Mild 4.0

60 Min boil

Mash at 154F for 60 mins

1.038 OG (factoring in .002 pts either way as I haven’t brewed a really low gravity ale since I got my own mill so I’m not sure what the efficiency will be)

1.012 FG

18 IBU (EKG most likely)

83.5% Warminster Floor Malted MO (4.5L)

6% Baird’s Carastan (37L)

6% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal (160L)

4.5% Simpson’s Chocolate Malt (430L)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

Readers – I’m open to any feedback/suggestions/criticisms that you may have on this recipe. I’m debating on the percentages, but I think it’s close. I also toyed with changing the Carastan to a darker crystal (probably the medium), but I think the combination of the Carastan and Extra Dark Crystal could be magical.

Cheers

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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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Filed under Brewing, Competition, Homebrew

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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Filed under Bitter, Brewing, Competition, Homebrew