Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Amercian Style Tripel Recipe (Golden Xtra)

This Saturday (Feb 27, 2010) I plan to brew an American Style Tripel. The recipe is based on Captain Lawrence Brewing Company's Xtra Gold American Style Tripel. Recently the owner/head brewer from Captain Lawrence, Scott Vaccaro appeared on The Brewing Networks online radio show The Jamil Show Can You Brew It. The show archive can be found here. While this recipe is close to the one discussed on the show, I did make a few minor adjustments. Does anyone have an extra bottle of Xtra Gold? I would love to try some side by side with this clone once the beer is done. Also wouldn't mind having some on Saturday during brewing, so if anyone does feel free to stop by on Saturday!

5.5 Gallon Batch

Brew Day = 2/27/10

16 lbs of Belgian Pilsner Malt
2 lbs of Clear Candi Syrup

¼ oz of Simcoe – during sparge (First Wort Hop addition)
1 oz of Simcoe – 80 minutes
3/4 oz of Simcoe – 15 Minutes
1 oz of Cascade – KO
¼ oz of Simcoe - KO

3 oz of Amarillo for 12 days dry hop

Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity (ordered two packs and will make a starter)

OG = 1.085
FG = 1.010 to 1.012
ABV = 9.8% - 10.1%
IBU = 53

5 gallons of water at 151-152 for 90 minutes.

6 gallons of 192 water for 60 minutes. Add the .25 oz of Simcoe at this time (FWH)

80 Minute Boil

Allow to naturally rise for first day but keep under 74 F. After first day or two bring fermentation temp up to 85 F and let it go at 85F for at least a week if not longer. Dry hop when initial fermentation slows and keep dry hops in for 10 to 14 days.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

War of the Worts Summary and Results

As mentioned in my blog post from Friday I had a few beers entered in this years War of the Worts XV homebrew competition and also helped out at the event as a steward. While it made for a long day, roughly 8am until around 8pm it was certainly as worthwhile experience. The competition had a total of 816 entries which were judged at 35 different tables made up of a total of 85 judges. I was one of probably 20 or so stewards for the day. Basically a stewards job is to make sure the beers get out to the correct tables, the judges have whatever they need and last but not least everything gets cleaned up, paperwork gets filed and organized and basically the event runs smoothly. I was on my feet all day and while it was close to a 12 hour day it certainly didn't feel that long (they certainly kept us busy). I have pictures from the event posted over here.

Here is how my beers faired. The results for the competition are posted here. Homebrew competitions judge beers on a scale of 1 to 50. The scoring guidelines are as follows: 45 to 50 is Outstanding, 38-44 is Excellent, 30-37 is Very Good, 21-29 is Good, 14 - 20 is Fair and a score of 0-13 is Problematic. It's very difficult if not impossible to score a 50 and anything over 35 is certainly a nice score.

Death Metal Imperial Stout – 13F Russian Imperial Stout - This beer took a third place out of 24 entries and finished with a final score of 42.5. I should note that this beer was brewed over a year ago with my friend Tom Giachero. Kind of crazy that a 42.5 took third place but that is how competitions like this go with the mini-best in show voting at the end for each table.

Pop's Winter Wit – 16A Witbier - This beer didn't fair so well. It ended up with a total score of 19 which obviously did not place. I didn't have high hopes for this one though since it finished out as a slightly higher ABV beer for the style and I felt had some fermentation issues. Oh well, good to get some feedback on it. There were 13 entries in this category.

Belgian Chocolate Stout – 16E Belgian Speciality Ale - This beer did not take a top three ribbon but scored a 34. This beer and the Cherry Chocolate Stout were brewed with my friend Jesse Keenan

Belgian Cherry Chocolate Stout – 16E Belgian Speciality Ale - This beer did not take ribbon either but scored a 38. There was a total of 40 entries in the Belgian Specialty Ale category.

Belgian Single – 16E Belgian Speciality and also entered it in 18D Belgian Golden Strong Ale - This beer scored a total of 37 points as a Belgian Golden Strong and took a 2nd place ribbon out of 31 entries. It received a total of 34 points in the Belgian Specialty category. One good thing about being a steward is you have the opportunity to listen in on some of the discussions that the judges have. At the Belgian Specialty table the judges ended up with around 6 beers in the final round where they determine the mini-best in show for that category (that is how the award the ribbons at each table). This beer made it to the final 4 and was thrown out at the very end. I knew they were discussing this beer since it was the only beer in that category which had Nelson Sauvin hops listed as the "specialty ingredient". It didn't sound like any of the judges were familiar with the hop and I think they weren't exactly sure why it was entered in the Belgian Specialty category. Plus it was up against a Flanders Pale Ale, a Saison which I believe had brett in it and Blonde with brett. I'm happy to have witnessed that mini-best in show conversation though.

Double IPA – 14C Imperial IPA - This beer scored a total of 39 points and placed 2nd out of 25 entries. I was beat out by my friend and co-worker Blake Morris. I also had the opportunity to listen in on the discussions between the judges at this table and spoke with one of the head judges at the table after the competition. It came down to two Imperial IPAs and there was quite a bit of discussion. Mostly around wether the more malty and "imperial" IPA or the more hoppy, citrusy, dryer IIPA should be awarded the blue ribbon. Well on this day maltier and bigger won out over hoppy, aromatic and dry. Congrats Blake, that was certainly an awesome conversation to witness and pretty amazing that it came down to our two beers. Was also fun going up to accept the 1st and 2nd place ribbon in the same category. The challenge is on for next year! Blakes Imperial IPA did score a total of 44.5 points, which I believe was one of the highest scores of the day. I still have a bottle of each in my fridge, might have to have a blind tasting soon before these beers start to lose their edge. Anyone game?

Friday, February 19, 2010

War of the Worts XV

The War of the Worts XV Homebrew Competition is being held this Saturday February 20th, 2010 at the Iron Hill Brewery in North Wales PA. This is one of the biggest if not the biggest homebrew competitions in the Tri-State area. This year the competition has over 800 entries. Like many homebrew competitions this one follows the BJCP Guidelines and all judges are BJCP certified. I'm not a certified judge but I signed up to help steward this event. I'm interested in finding out what goes into running one of these competitions and will try to provide a summary here in case anyone is interested.

Judging starts at 9am and is closed to the public. The public is invited to the awards ceremony which is scheduled to begin at the Iron Hill North Wales location around 5pm. So if you are in the area and feel like hanging out come on over and I'll buy you a beer while we wait for the awards to be presented.

I have a total of 6 beers entered (one was entered in two categories). Here they are:
Death Metal Imperial Stout – 13F Russian Imperial Stout
Pop's Winter Wit – 16A Witbier
Belgian Chocolate Stout – 16E Belgian Speciality Ale
Belgian Cherry Chocolate Stout – 16E Belgian Speciality Ale
Belgian Single – 16E Belgian Speciality and also entered it in 18D Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Double IPA – 14C Imperial IPA

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cigar City Brewery

So our recent trip to Florida was cold, rainy and I was sick for three days with a stomach virus but we still managed to have a great time (and we somehow avoided two PA blizzards). I had to cut a bunch of the beer and food related activities out of our vacation, however I did manage to make it over to Cigar City Brewery. We drove from the Orlando area down to Tampa on a cold and rainy Friday afternoon. There was a rather nice local mall that my wife and son spent some time at while I headed over to Cigar City Brewery to check out one of the most talked about new breweries in the USA.

The brewery is basically a medium size warehouse in an industrial park in Tampa, FL. Think Weyerbacher but on a smaller scale. The tasting room is basically a sectioned off area in the warehouse, but it works. They had about 6 beers on tap when I stopped in to visit at noon on a Friday afternoon. I was the only one there for about an hour and then a few others showed up. I was able to get a quick tour and sample all their beers before it was time for me to move on. I have posted a bunch of pictures here if you want to check them out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Time for a Vacation

Haven't posted anything lately and not a whole lot going on with the homebrewing. The Jolly Pumpkin beer is in bottles and should be ready in a week or two. The final gravity came in at 1.013 and it's tasting good. Looking forward to sharing it.

Will be heading to Florida in a few days and plan to pay a visit to Cigar City Brewery in Tampa as well as Orlando Brewing. Orlando brewing is a certified organic brewery and they offer weekday tours so I'll try to take some pictures and write about both breweries when I return. Until then, cheers!