Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Round NHC - 2014

This year I decided to enter the National Homebrew competition.  They implemented a random lottery to enter this year. You had to give them a few choices for judging location and a max number you wanted to enter. It was said you might not get exactly what you wanted. I ended up getting my first choice for location and the max numbers of entries that I requested, which was four. 

I am very happy to say that three of those four ended up taking a spot in the top three in their respective categories!

I sort of entered at the spur of the moment and had not planned out anything at all. I didn't really have much in the way of options of what to enter. It really was just what I had around at that particular time. Three of the beers were my most recently brewed, and one was brewed in 2010 (entered because I really did not have anything else).

#1 American Bastard - 8A English Standard Bitter – 2nd Place

Brewed with Tim Cantwell and Ryan Buxton

This is a really good 3.8% pale ale. Honestly this is more of an american style beer. It was fermented with conan yeast (said to be English), and uses some fruity american hops like mosaic and amarillo. Most of those were added towards the end of the boil. I entered it into English because I was a little worried about a small session beer like this competing against American pales that would have had higher OGs. Guess it worked!

#2 Tropic Thunder – 23A Specialty Beer – 3rd Place
This is a beer brewed in the style of an American Pale ale with two big differences. Of the 23 ounces of hops used in this 10 gallon batch only 6% were used in the boil, and those were @ 15 minutes. The other big difference is that it was fully fermented with brett brux trois. This was brewed right at the start of 2014. I thought this beer was amazing when it was young, but still really good at it's current age. The fruitiness from the brett early on has started to be replaced by some nice funkiness. A version of this beer has been brewed a number of times now. Here is a link to the first one I made.

#3 Behemothic – 26B Other Mead (Braggot) – 2nd Place

This is a massive 15% abv braggot I brewed back in 2010. It is very experimental and was brewed to have some similarities to a gruit. It was brewed with chamomile and meadowsweet and fermented with an old ale blend of sacch and brett. This has given it a slight tartness which I think helps with the very sweet nature of this brew. Here is my original post on this brew.

#4 High Seas – 22C – Wood aged Beer – Did not place  Brewed with Tim Cantwell

This was one I was unsure of entering. It is a blend of beers with the main one being a baltic porter that had just finished aging in a 1st use rum barrel. At that time it was really hot with rum so I blended in a little bit of a imperial coconut brown ale. The crazy thing is that now that rum baltic has mellowed it might be one of the best beers I have ever had. Seriously! I guess it was still pretty rum forward when it was judged.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hair of the... IPA (Blue Dot inspired IPA)

This past weekend we did a second brew of a pilsner based IPA. It is very loosely based on Blue Dot from Hair Of The Dog. This is by no means a clone attempt. However the grain bill should be very close to Blue Dot. Blue Dot grain bill is just pilsner and flaked rye. For our version we replace a little of the flaked rye with some chocolate rye. I like the beer with a little more color.

We also went for a full 20 gallon batch. The boil kettle was ridiculously full. It was quite an effort the first 30 minutes to make sure it didn't boil over.

Here is our 20 gallon recipe

I am hoping to bring at least 5 gallons of this beer up to the Mountain brewers festival in Idaho Falls this June. My home brew club has registered for a booth. We will be serving our beers right alongside all of the commercial brewers!