Tag Archives: Hamfast the Gaffer

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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Getting the Most Out of Your Yeast (packs/vials)

Greetings Readers,

With mostly higher gravity (Barleywine) and hoppy beers (APA with dry hops in primary, Pliny clone coming up) being made here lately it hasn’t been an option to wash and harvest the yeast after fermentation. I still wanted to be able to brew multiple batches off a single vial of yeast. I decided to try making starters slightly larger (3-400 ML) larger than necessary and pour off a bit of slurry into a sanitized flask or mason jar.

DSC_2025Here is some leftover yeast from a starter made about 2 weeks ago – the pitching rate showed a 1L starter on a stir plate, so I made about a 1400ML starter and poured 400ML into the flask before the yeast floc’d out. I then pitched the remaining 1L into the APA.

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I want to keep the yeast fresh until I brew with it in the next 2-3 weeks so I decanted the wort and later poured about 300 ML of fresh starter wort into the flask.

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Once that finishes fermenting it will go back into the fridge until I make a final starter prior to brew day with this yeast. I know I’ve read that you shouldn’t make starters smaller than 1000ML, but I figured I’ll be making a starter at least that big before I brew with it so hopefully any potential negative impacts would be counter-acted by the larger starter.

DSC_2022

I made the starter wort for a starter of WLP001 that will be used for a Pliny the Elder clone (which I dubbed Hamfast the Gaffer) later this week. Once the WLP001 starter finishes I’ll pour off some slurry (200-300ML) into a mason jar so I can then build that back up and use it in a batch in January.  So basically this starter is supposed to be about 1750ML so I made a 2400ML starter and put 300ML into the flask with WLP002 and 2100ML into the 1 gallon glass jug with the WLP001. Once I take the WLP001 off the stir plate I’ll pour about 300ML of slurry into a mason jar to use later. I’ll be left with about 1800ML in the starter to decant and pitch later this week.

DSC_2033

This will allow me to get a minimum of 2 batches per vial of yeast, but when I make starters with those I can easily repeat this process or, depending on the batch, harvest yeast from the fermenter. I actually think that pitching a 1st generation for brewing a particular recipe for competition that you’ve brewed over and over again is ideal because it’s less variable than pitching yeast from a previous batch which, in theory, would lead to more consistency batch to batch.

I still plan to wash/harvest yeast, but I think this is an equally viable method and is in some ways superior, but I’ve had the best fermentations when pitching freshly harvested/washed yeast (harvest to pitching in a day or two). The downside to this process is that you don’t have as much yeast and will have to make multiple starters.

DSC_2038

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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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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is nearly here, lots of brewing stuff on my mind:

  • Kitchen remodel is nearly complete at Bag End – not brewing related, but deal with it
  • Janet’s Brown Ale is tasting mighty fine
  • Crickhollow Mild 3.0 is fermenting away, should be ready to keg in time to pitch an upcoming big beer on the yeast cake (stay tuned) – will be trying the oxygen free transfer “system” out for the first time
  • Fermentation Chamber of Secrets 3.0 is performing admirably – had to take apart the old chamber as I built it in front of the water shut off for the house
  • Oatmeal Stout Chili batch 2 is on the horizon
  • Weather isn’t too cold here in MN, shouldn’t make brewing this Saturday too difficult (chilling with frozen hoses doesn’t work well)
  • Got scoresheets back from LOTMW (1st 1st) and SCH*ABC V (2nd 3rd) with some useful feedback as I get ready to rebrew Hamfast the Gaffer (Pliny clone) and Bagshot Pale (APA)
  • Have 4 batches planned between now and mid-December, good times

Mild 3.0 in the Fermentation Chamber of Secrets 3.0

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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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Brewday prep, other stuff

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Got a small starter of washed WLP001 from a Scottish Ale (MacAulish) that was brewed in August. I typically don’t use yeast that is this old, but figured I’d make a small starter and give it a shot. It’s looking fine this morning so I’ll probably step it up to maybe 2 liters tomorrow so it’ll be ready for brewing Tasty McDole’s Janet’s Brown Ale this weekend. I’ve heard nothing but good things about that beer – been meaning to brew it for some time now.
Got a couple entries (Hamfast the Gaffer and Bagshot Pale) shipped off to both the Land of the Muddy Waters and SCH*ABC V competitions for judging on 11/10/12. These are 2 beers that I’m planning to rebrew for some competitions early next year so I want some feedback on them since it was the first time I brewed both of those.
I’ll get a new post up this weekend after brewing – hopefully with good news from Hoppy Halloween for which judging starts tonight!

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Hamfast the Gaffer > Pliny the Elder?

Brewed up a Pliny clone (which I have dubbed “Hamfast the Gaffer“) on 9/1/12 using the recipe Vinnie provided in his “Brew a Double IPA” writeup for Zymurgy. My friend Brandon brought over some Pliny several weeks before we brewed this so expectations were high (that was my first taste after hearing about Pliny for years).

The brew sesh was pretty solid, everything went real smooth and we hit target OG of 1.072. We pitched some washed WLP001 from a Scottish Ale (Jamil’s 70/-) that had been brewed about two weeks earlier. Fermentation was kept at 67F until things were slowing down and I let it rise to 70F as I usually do with WLP001 to encourage the yeast to finish out and clean up. FG was slightly low at 1.009.

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Racked to secondary on 9/8 with first dose of dry hops (loose pellets)

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Added second dose of dry hops on 9/16 (loose pellets)

Moved to chest freezer to cold crash on 9/18 and racked to keg on 9/21 leaving most of the hop matter behind

Poured a sample on 9/21 and the beer tasted good, but it was still settling and mellowing and there were hop flakes in the glass.

Waited until 9/28 to try again and the beer was crystal clear and had really smoothed out. The bitterness is very pronounced, but I wouldn’t quite call it harsh. The aroma is like nothing I’ve ever smelled, seriously. I imagine Pliny at the brewery would smell this good, but I don’t think anything that gets bottled and transported to a liquor store, purchased and shipped across the country could ever smell like this. Upon comparison, I think we all agreed that the commercial version tastes a little smoother and has a little more sweetness, but the aroma is just not that great (due to circumstances mentioned above). Brandon even brought a bottle back from GABF that was bottled on 10/4 and we compared this a second time on 10/14, but again the aroma just wasn’t that good.

Hamfast on the left, Pliny on the right
The shape of the glasses and bottle reminds me of something, what could that be?

I am really happy with how this one turned out, probably my favorite beer to date that I’ve brewed. I entered it in the Hoppy Halloween competition and may send it off to a few others in November – we’ll see how it does..

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