Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Couple Wins at Schooner

This year I entered a handful of beers into the Schooner Homebrew Championships put on in conjunction with the Great Lakes Beer Fest in Racine, WI. While dropping off these entries at Perfect Brewing homebrew supply shop in Libertyville, another man dropped off eight of his own. This used to be a pretty small competition, but overnight, well I guess over one year, it has doubled in size with 504 entries. This either means there are more people brewing beer, or North Mid-Western homebrewers are becoming more competitive. I think that as each brewer brews another year, they should be getting better at it. As a result, these competitions grow and become more competitive with higher quality ales and lagers.

Though my Rat Bite IPA this year was pretty good, I didn't think it would do as well as last year's Hop Blend IPA. It was aggressively hopped, and may not have the malt sweetness to back it up.

Two others I felt were pretty darn good didn't' place. Perhaps they didn't fall nicely into the categories I designated. The Nut Brown 2 was very dark, and maybe the judges felt it was like a "brown porter." And the Robust Porter, though it has no roasted barley, could have felt more like a thick and rich stout.

The two winners were definitely better, and perhaps more accurate in taste. First, the Rauch Bock took second place in the Rauchbier/Smoked Beer category. It's a beer that came out very balanced with enough smoked malt to mix with the residual dark malt sweetness.

Second, the Blended Old Ale (I called Vintage Stock Ale) took first place in the Specialty Beer category. This is a beer that has aged very long and nicely, mostly in bulk, with Lambic Blend yeasts and bacteria. The quality of this ale is definitely more refined and quite flavorful and aromatic. Since the Brett yeast and acidic character is fairly pronounced, it would have fallen way out of the old ale category. Straight-up old ales are sweet and rich tasting, and most commercial examples don;t really have any "wild" yeast/bacteria flavors. So that's why it ended up as a specialty beer. It's also a coincidence that, like last year's win, this one fell in the category with the most entries (21).

I am very surprised. I knew these beers were good, but to get these wins is really fantastic. It feels good to know that people with a good sense of quality rated my beers so well. I look forward to see what they said as the results soon come in the mail.

Also, it's great to see a fellow brewing friend place again in this competition with a second place win for his Premium American Lager. A very difficult style to get right. Congratulations Russ!

5 comments:

David said...

Excellent Brewing Ted! Cheers to all your great brewing efforts!

Ted Danyluk said...

David,

Remember when this old ale was first brewed? It was the annual "Teach A Friend To Brew Day" at the beginning of November in 2005. Wow! A long time ago. This beer really has come a long way, and you're right...has matured nicely. Its funny that the handful of folks who showed up have never tasted it. I really didn't think it would take so long to age. I have enough so that they will finally get a bottle.

I remember when you were my right hand man on most brewdays back in the beginning. I miss those days.

It feels great to brew, but it's a bit lonely at times. I know everyone appreciates the end result...great tasting beer...and that is what really keeps me on my quest to make the finest beer I can here at home.

Home brewing is really one of the most rewarding pastimes I've ever done. I'll keep it up...for now.

Cheers Bro.

The Bearded Brewer said...

congrats Ted!

Jonathan said...

Congrats! That's awesome. Hey, I ordered a burner from Perfect Brewing in February. Still haven't received, have given them numerous calls, can't get them to call back. Any suggestions?

Ted Danyluk said...

Thanks guys.

Jonathan, Sorry I don't. I only stopped in there to see the place, and bought some neat caps. They said they had a couple people in Chicago they ship to. And their operation was much bigger and more organized than any other homebrew shop I've been too. So I don't see why they would be able to support your needs. So, just keep try to get a hold of them I suppose. Good luck bro.