Sunday, 10 November 2013

A good week

It's been a good week on the home brewing front. It started out with a marathon bottling session of the brews discussed in my last post:
  • American Red
  • (Not very) Black IPA
  • Imperial Stout 2 (Bourbon, Oak and Vanilla)
Monday was the London Amateur Brewers' Stout competition, where the club selects a brew to put forward to the Craft Brewing Association's club only competition, in which home brew clubs from around the country pit their selected beers against each other throughout the year. A total of fifteen entries were judged and I was delighted to win with my Imperial Stout. This is actually a very simple recipe (OG 1.088):


The beer finished off at just about 9% ABV and turned out to be pretty well balanced with a good roasty bitterness. It was bottle conditioned to a nice 'soft' feeling 1.9 vols, avoiding the mistake I'd made with over-carbonating my first attempt at this style.
Watching yourself on TV is a very strange feeling!

Wednesday was the airing of the Alan Titchmarsh show episode I'd pre-recorded back in September. The show's producers wanted a segment on the rise of craft brewing and home brewing up and down the country and I was invited on to give a quick demonstration of all-grain beer brewing. A very surreal experience that I won't forget in a long time. Alan was charming and seemed to like the NZ IPA he sampled on-screen! It'll be available on ITV Player here for a few more weeks if you'd like to watch!

Yesterday was the London and South East Craft Brewing Competition, also run by my club, London Amateur Brewers. I had entered two beers and dropped them off at the venue in the morning. Sadly I couldn't stay to sample the wares as I'd already arranged to go to a local beer festival. Of the two beers I'd entered, I was most hopeful about the aforementioned Imperial Stout. However, it was the other beer that ended up doing well - the Simcoe Citra Big Double IPA I'd brewed back in August.  This used Simcoe and Citra hops in a 1:1 ratio at various points of the boil followed by a big dry hop with T90 pellets. Here's the recipe (OG 1.082):


I recall the kitchen smelling pretty bloody amazing during the brew day. I had previously entered this beer into the national competition which was a huge gamble given it had only been in the bottle two weeks at that point. The beer was well short of condition and didn't do too well. Fast forward another month or so and it came good, scooping a silver medal in the IPA category. This was the same category my West Coast IPA clone had picked up a bronze medal in last year so to come back and go one better this time around was very rewarding.

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