Its been a while since I updated things. A couple more beers/meads are ready for packaging without “Official” names. I won several awards in the New England Regional Homebrewer Competition which has me pretty excited. The first award was 3rd place in the German Rye/Wheat beer catergory for Slam Dunkelweiss. Good comments, good scores. Basically, it was what I expected.
The other award was 2nd Place for the long forgotten and rarely sampled “Bad Ass Barley Wine” which I entered in the Imperial Stout category. This beer was the real surprise of my pool of entries this year. BABW was originally brewed between two style guidelines, the American Barleywine and the Russian Imperial Stout. A strong beer at 12% ABV. Too dark and too strong to even measure at work on our high tech equipment. Rich, Full, and way overkill in 22oz bottles. I figured I would enter it as an imperial stout because I know the popularity of the style is through the roof with regional craft offerings like Kate the Great, Dark Lord, the Abyss, Black Tuesday, etc. I figured it would be easier to get judging comments in this style. Its a difficult style to truly master as it takes the right mix of malt, hops, yeast, and TIME. Bad Ass took me 2+ years to perfect the first batch.
The real highlight was not the second place but was the offical BJCP score of 42.5 (out of 50). This is the range of beer excellence. One of the judges gave it a 45 and mentioned that he would love the recipe. The only negative comments from the judges where the barleywine characteristics. Yep, you heard it. My Imperial Stout was not perfect because it had “fruity esters that dominated the hop aromas. Very much like a Barleywine”. In my mind the beer is perfection, so its nice to see it judged similarly.
The rest of the submissions did well but struggled to score well for being out of style guidelines. I guess I like to explore the boundaries of brewing and find it hard to put my brews to a single style. I know that the Dunkelweiss was probably one of the few that I have produced to a specific style. Even the current Oktoberfest beer (just about ready) was designed to push the limits a little. I guess I feel like its just a guideline not a rule.
Anyway, I promise to post more often. Production in the Jamaica Lane brewery has slowed as Tom’s crawling has sped up. Oktoberfest and the Raspberry Melomel should be ready for Christmas festivities. I am looking forward to sharing a glass of a fine Champion City Brew with you this holiday season.