Monday, April 26, 2010



Ahh yes, it is freaking sweet. I received my scores from the first round regional judging for the National Homebrew Competition and one of my brews placed 1st! So on to the national competition, for that beer at least.

The scoring guide is as follows:

45 - 50: Outstanding
38 - 44: Excellent
30 - 37: Very Good
21 - 29: Good
14 - 20: Fair
0 - 13: F'ing Terrible, just kidding, Problematic

Here were my results:

-Old Woodie Ale entered in category 22C (wood aged beer), received a final score of 39 and 1st place in the region

-Tripel Sunrise entered in category 18C (Belgian Tripel), received a final score of 33.5

-Marzbock entered in category 5A (Maibock), received a final score of 28

All in all, I was pleased with the overall results. Though, I was shocked that Old Woodie was rated the best of the three and the Marzbock was rated the lowest of three. I would have thought it to be the opposite. Regardless, I'll take victory where I can. The next 2 rounds of competition take place in Minnesota this summer.

I also did some brewing and bottling this weekend. If you haven't read in my posts, I've fallen in love with Flemish ales, in particular, Duchesse de Bourgogne. So I thought I'd try my hand at one of these delicious brews. The real kicker is that they take 18 MONTHS to brew. All those bugs take awhile to do their job souring the beer.

Recipe the recipe I decided on was...

Partial Mash for 75 mins at 154 degrees:
-2 lbs Crystal 40L
-1 lb Honey Malt
-2 lbs Flaked Maize
-2 oz. of Black Patent

Then a 90 minute boil consisting of the partial mash and ...
-5 lbs of DME (2 lbs. of Pilsner, and 3 lbs. of Amber)
- .5 lbs of sugar

-1 oz. of East Kent Goldings at 90 mins
-1 oz. of Fuggles (isn't that fun to say) at 10 mins

The primary yeast is US-05 and most importantly the secondary yeast was the Wyeast Roselare Blend. The description of the Roselare Blend from the Wyeast website:

"A blend of lambic cultures including lactic bacteria. Produces beers with a complex, earthy profile and distinct pie cherry sourness from a Brettanomyces culture. Aging for up to 18 months is required ..."

The only ingredient I'm wavering on is adding maybe a quarter ounce of medium roast french oak for the long haul, but it might be too over bearing to have in with the beer for 18 months. Not sure, so I'll keep mulling it over. Another funny thing about this beer is that in 10 months I have to brew an identical batch and let it age for 8 months and then blend the two batches before bottling. I'm sure it will be worth it in the end.

I shot some footage from the brew day, and one clip from bottling the imperial wit:


Sunday, April 25, 2010

HolzBrew goes to work

Every other month or so, I get organized enough in the morning to bring in some homebrew to enjoy after hours with my friends at work. As you might be able to see above, I brought in a couple of varieties: Tripel Sunrise (which you can see in the picture is a foamer for sure), MarzBock, Not-Quite-Black IPA, Brune, Red Dawn, and Old Woodie. I think the MarzBock was the "crowd pleaser." I entered that beer in this year's National Homebrew Contest, I hope the judges feel the same way about it as my co-workers did. Fingers are crossed.

We also just renovated the kitchen at my office and it looks great, all the more reason to bring beer in for sampling after work.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Get Witty Wit It

It's a shame that working has to get in the way of the important things in life, such as writing about beer. Thus is the burden I bear.

No major news in HolzBrew land. On Monday I racked the Imperial Wit that I brewed a few weeks back into secondary. The sample I tasted was coming along nicely. Per the picture, I have been soaking 1 oz. of medium french oak cubes in Grand Marnier for last 3 - 4 weeks and I added those cubes as well as the rest of the bottle in the picture to the secondary fermenter. In short, I liquored up my brew and I'm hoping to score.

Dogfish's Red and White has served as inspiration for this interesting brew. Wit beer is generally a style that I hold in the realm of good. Tasty and refreshing, but not quite fully satisfying. If you don't believe me, pour up a glass of Allagash Wit and then do a side by side tasting with Allgash's Tripel (or better yet the Curieux), most likely you'll find the Wit to be somewhat bland when compared to something like a full flavored tripel. That's not to say that there isn't a time and place for Wit, just that the time and place is usually low on the HolzBrew list of thangs to brew. BUT after trying DFH Red and White for the first time a few months back I realized that a Wit pared with another libation might take the beer into the taste stratosphere. We're talking flavor country here folks (as opposed to flavor county) DFH brews their Wit with Pinot Noir and ages it in Pinot barrels. Additionally, their brew tips the scales around 10% ABV. My only knock on this near perfect brew is that it is a little too syrupy and sweet for most everyday consumption.

Now I realize that Grand Marnier isn't pinot noir, but in my usual style, I like making up a recipe that is truly my own. That being said, a traditional Belgian Wit is usually brewed with bitter orange peel, so my thought was the wonderful orange essence that is GM would naturally jive in a slightly larger than normal Belgian Wit. Success? I'll keep you posted.

Stay Witty,