Monday, October 31, 2011

Zincinnati Octoberbest Homebrew Competition

Over the past 7 years that I have been brewing, I have played with recipes and developed some interesting beers. Things that I brewed have greatly improved, because of feedback that I have gotten. I get feedback all of the time, from friends, and for the most part I trust them, but they are friends. Lately, I feel that it is necessary to get profession feedback on the beers that I make. This feedback that I get from professional judges and other people in the industry helps me continuously develop my beer to get them to fit styles that I want. Sometimes the beer doesn't fit the style, but has the exact characteristics that I am looking for it to have and it is nice for the judges to make that distinction in my beer. For example, one of the beers that I had judged in this homebrew competition is really hoppy edition for a barelywine style ale and it is nice that the judges to make notes on it (though I really scored low for this beer).

This year's Zinncinati Octoberbest Homebrew competition, hosted at the Covington Radisson Inn by Cincinnati Malt Infusers, is the third competition that I have entered this year and second time that I have entered a homebrew in this particular competition. This is competition is larger than the one that I entered earlier this month in Dayton, OH, but is still a small local competition. There were two beer entires that I put into this competition. I am glad to say that I took third in my flight for the Porter that I brewed, but the American Barleywine did not place. Though the style is not a Porter that I tried to brew, but because it did not fit any other style category, the one it fit closest to was the Porter. The beer that I tried to brew, in which I entered into the Porter, is a North American Dark Ale (NADA, or as others call it a Cascadian Dark Ale or Black IPA).

The American Barleywine, as I said above, was very hoppy and this is what the judges had to say of it:

Beer Judge #1
Beer Judge ID: B0636
Judge Qualification and BJCP Rank: N/A

Descriptor Definition: N/A

Aroma (7/12): Rich malt complexity with lots of raisin, caramel, and toffee. Rich dark fruits, hops come through late with citrus.

Appearance (3/3): Very clear, ruby color Small white head that goes to ring quickly.

Flavor (10/20): Opens with sweet malts and fruits notes. Middle charges in and blasts through with hops. Malt and hop balance is gone. Finish lingers on for a very long time – bitter.

Mouthfeel (4/5): Middle-full body, light carbonation, hop astringency.

Overall impression (4/10): A beautiful ruby red ale with lots of malt complexity that is crushed by the hopping rates.

Total (28/50)

Beer Judge #2
Beer Judge ID: B0252
Judge Qualification and BJCP Rank: Recognized

Descriptor Definition: N/A

Aroma (7/12): Toasted malt and hop aroma, with some hoppiness apparent.

Appearance (3/3): Nice dark amber color, good head retention.

Flavor (10/20): Good toasted, sweet malt flavor at front, but very aggressive, almost over-bearing, hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3/5): Medium body and smooth, but definite bite from hops kicks in rapidly.

Overall Impression (5/10): Good maltiness and sweetness to start, but the hop influence is bit too aggressive and over-bearing. Longer aging may help to mellow, but probably cut back on the hops a little.

Total (28/50)

The Robust Porter (NADA) took third in the flight and this is what the judges had to say of it:

Beer Judge #1
Beer Judge ID: N/A
Judge Qualification and BJCP Rank: N/A

Descriptor Definition: N/A

Aroma (7/12): Slight tartness, some fruit and roast chocolate emerges as it warms and tart recedes (reappears with fresh pour).

Appearance (3/3): Dark brown/black clear with a light brown head. Looks inviting.

Flavor (15/20): Good balance of chocolate and roast, with hop backing into finish. There is some decent fruitiness, but overall clean, well-attenuated. Maybe could use a little more “robust” roastiness, but I like it.

Mouthfeel (4/5): Nice creamy mouthfeel, appropriate carbonation. Hidden alcohol, roast comes in the nose after the swallow.

Overall Impression (7/10): Not sure why there is a sourness to the initial pour smell, but it is easily overlooked as I move in. Well done beer I could drink plenty more of.

Total (36/50)

Beer Judge #2
Beer Judge ID: B0654
Judge Qualification and BJCP Rank: Certified

Descriptor Definitions: Musty – Stale, musty, or mold aromas/flavors. Oxidized – Any one or combination of winy/vinous, cardboard, papery, or sherry-like aromas and flavors

Aroma (7/12): Slight oxidation / carboard up front. Moderate raost with slight acidic note. Slight alcohol more is apparent. Moderate hops.

Appearance (3/3): Very dark brown, clear around edges with creamy, persistent brownish head.

Flavor (16/20): Very malty flavor of toffee, caramel, and chocolate. Finishes med-sweet. Moderate bitterness balances well seems a it high gravity – like an imperial. Some roast / coffee notes and hop flavor. Clean flavor profile.

Mouthfeel (4/5): Heavy, chewy body, with creaminess. Carbonation helps cut the body fullness.

Overall impression (7/10); Very strong, malt / roast porter. A slight off-aroma up front, but cleared up nicely and did not leave any off-flavors. Good beer.

Total (37/50)

Again, I am very gratified with my showing and notes on my beer. I'll let my American Barleywine sit for a couple of years and re-enter it into another competition. Very soon I will have notes on my brewing of an Imperial Oatmeal Chocolate Stout that I did yesterday (10/29/11) and hopefully some notes on a Belgium Dubbel that Brandon and I brewed at Quarter Barrel. All notes on brewing will be released when the beer is on tap at Quarter Barrrel.

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