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Brew to Style

medalPosted on January 25th, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you’re going to enter competitions, make sure you brew beer that is to style. Read the guidelines, taste your beer and taste commercial examples of the style you’re trying to brew. Unless you’re going to enter a beer in to one of the specialty…

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Flanders Red with ECY20

ecy20Posted on January 24th, 2014 by in "Beer Recipes"

I finally got my hands on some East Coast Yeast and I can’t wait to brew a Flanders Red with ECY20. Love2Brew posted they had it available on their website and I immediately jumped on it. I opted for the 2 day priority delivery from the USPS, because the option from UPS cost more than…

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Enter Your Beer in Competitions!

medalPosted on January 24th, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

This may seem like a silly tip, but just enter your beer. Like anything else, practice makes perfect. This keeps you brewing and keeps your chops up. I try to enter every competition that has less than a 2 day transit time via UPS. I also try to avoid shipping over weekends. The sooner my…

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Keep in Mind That Your Beer Will Usually be Judged Against Similiar Beers

medalPosted on January 23rd, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

Competitions are usually judged by main style categories – category 2 – Pilsners, for example. Sometimes in smaller competitions categories are combined, but they are usually combined in logical fashion. Combining Amber Lagers with Dark Lagers is common, or Dark Lagers with Amber Hybrids for example. Your German Pilsner isn’t going to be going up…

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Develop Dreaded Diacetyl? Don’t Despair… How to Fix Diacetyl

1L starter wort in flask ready to go on the stir plate.Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by in "Brewing Tips"

Well it happened. It finally happened and you don’t know what to do. You tasted your beer. It’s slick and tastes like butterscotch. It’s diacetyl. In the post I’ll give you some quick tips on how to fix diacetyl. You spent 8 hours in the cold, huddled over a steaming kettle, stirring your 3rd decoction….

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Don’t Do Anything Drastic Until the Same Beer Gets Several Sets of Scoresheets

medalPosted on January 22nd, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

Judging beers is, unfortunately, a pretty subjective endeavor. Some judges have difficult times picking up certain off flavors. Some have a low threshold for bitterness, or just plain think XYZ hops are disgusting. Even what they had for breakfast can impact their judging, especially if you’re one of the first beers they judge for the…

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Learn to Brew Consistently

medalPosted on January 21st, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

If you can’t consistently re-brew a beer, practice until you can. Being able to brew the beer the same every time allows you to make subtle changes based on feedback. If your beer is always substantially different, you’re not going to be able to control the improvements as well. Let’s say the comment was to…

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Submit Beers that Taste Like What the BJCP Guidelines Describe

medalPosted on January 20th, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

Don’t focus too much on the actual numbers, but rather trust your palate. Does the description match your beer? It doesn’t have to be right down the middle, but your beer will be judged and scored based on these guidelines. If the guidelines say that your beer should have no fruity esters and your beer…

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Don’t Take Criticism or Low Scores Personally

medalPosted on January 19th, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

This one took me some time to get used to personally. It’s hard to not get upset if you have tons of time and money invested in something… albeit something as ultimately trivial as beer. The overall goal should be to improve the beer that you’re brewing. If you get a low score sheet, review…

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Keep Detailed Records

medalPosted on January 18th, 2014 by in "Homebrew Competition Tips"

Invest in some brewing software like Beersmith and keep excellent records. Did you miss your mash temp by a degree? Record it. Did you overshoot your pre-boil gravity by a point? Record it. Software like Beersmith also helps you manage your recipes and maintain different versions. Make a slight change based on some feedback? You…

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