Homebrewing: Savannah Summer Suds Results
Over the Labor Day weekend three of my latest brews were entered into a homebrew competiation centered around the Savannah Craft Beer Fest. If you remember earlier in the year, I entered my American pale ale in the Peach State Brew Off and finished fourth, with good remarks. So to build on those remarks, I re-brewed it with the judges recommendations. Or what I thought I could do to correct the flaws. I also had a recently brewed IPA and Belgian saison I wanted to enter.
New Bee Pale Ale – The name comes from two different perspectives. The first being I’m still relatively a virgin in homebrewing. Correction, I’ve screwed a couple of batches, so lets say young in brewing. The other being I add honey (from bees) to the end of boil. At PSBO, this beer scored a 35 out of a possible 50 points with all positive remarks. The only flaws were it wasn’t hoppy enough. So I swapped the hops around again for more bittering. I also added carapils for better head retention and removed the vienna malt thinking it was the cause of the ‘biscuit’ flavor. It scored a disappointing 29.7, but still placed 4th. So the class was weak, or the top 3 severely outscored mine. All three judges commented it suffered from oxidation, which may or may not have been hot side oxidation. Lots of comments on hop aroma and grapefruit, citrus taste. So it pays to dry hop for two weeks with Citra hops. Head retention was good with nice lacing. I knew this brew would score lower, but it will shine next year.
Inaugral IPA – This is originally named ‘Just Another IPA’ because I didn’t much thought into my first attempt at an IPA. But I thought the name would be deterring for judges, so renamed it as such. This beer just like the pale ale is dry hopped for two weeks with Citra hops to give a nice citrus aroma. The IPA class is usually tough with plenty of entries and it shows with my IPA scoring 40 out of 50 possible points and not placing. 38-44 points is considered excellent, defined as ‘beers in this range may have no flaws but may be missing the intangibles for a world class beer’. I’m not sure what intangibles are, but it hurts, haha. The most common comments were the malt balance was weak compared to the hoppiness of the beer. No esters, not astringent, and some alcohol warmth (allowable by style). So I’m thinking slightly more malt flavor or adjust timing of hops addition to lower BU:GU ration and it’s a solid trophy next year.
Imperial Summer Saison – While this is a typical Belgian Saison, or farmhouse ale, what ever name you prefer, the 8% ABV pushes it out of the typical saison BJCP style guidelines. However it does say some brews may have higher ABV, I didn’t want to take a chance of it being disqualified for being out of style. So I entered it in the 16-E Belgian Specialty, a catch-all group for Belgian ales. This was brewed with lemon zest and coriander, and unfortunately, not enough of either to taste in the end result. So I’m okay with the 32 of 50 I scored. Honestly, with all the trouble I felt with this Wyeast Belgian Saison yeast to fully ferment, I’m surprised it ended up as beer. The comments on this one are often contradicting. For instance slightly cloudy should be good, but I missed a point in appearance. Unless I misread the hydrometer, it finished at 1.002 (distilled water is 1.000), so it’s about as dry as you can get. Yet both judges knocked it on not being dry enough. So I may seek help from Gratis Brewing on how to dry this up some more. I will more than likely brew it with a lower ABV next year. For a first time brew, I’m quite happy with the finished product.
The good thing about homebrew competitions is it gives you direction to approve. Most people that I like enough to offer free beer to are nice enough to not say it’s horse urine. If they did I would still welcome it, they probably wouldn’t get more. Ha, I kid people. The next line-up? A double IPA with rye malts to age in the whiskey barrel, followed by haus pumpkin ale, then a dark chocolate sweet stout before rebrewing the above mentioned beers.
Bring on homebrew season! #PintsUp
For the complete results visit their website – 2nd Annual Summer Suds