Saturday, February 26, 2011

SODZ British Beer Fest Judging

Nothing says fun on the weekends like getting up even earlier than you do during the week. But alas, such is my dedication to beer. Today’s event was the SODZ British Beer Fest at the Winking Lizard in Columbus, OH; that meant an early start from Dayton to get there for the 9 a.m. start of judging. Egads. At least I got to carpool with Jeff Fortney so I had some inspiration to stay awake for our droll commute. The competition focuses on British beer, which means that it covers BJCP categories 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, and 24-28, cutting out any of the categories that aren’t appropriately British. Indubitably.

I was assigned to judge category 9D, Irish Red Ale. Since there were 17 entries, we had two sets of judges with a queued pull. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your perspective), Sandy and I ended up judging 9 beers, while Dave and Rick, the other pair of judges, only did 8. Slackers. As well, as we found out afterwards, Irish Red Ale was the category for the Lucci Cup Informal Club Brew Challenge for 2011. The basics of the Lucci Cup are as follows: Frank Barickman chooses a style, provides both an all-grain and an extract recipe, and then taunts his fellow club mates to brew something that can beat his version of the beer. This year, he even went so far as to only brew an extract version. Those who participate have to both enter their beers in the BBF competition as well as publicly declare that they are participating in the Lucci Cup; as Frank observes on one of the SODZ club posts, “I will make my scores public regardless of how they place in the competition. So if I score 15, I will have live with it! If I score 40, you will have to live with it!”

This year’s recipe was from Jamil Zainesheff’s and John Palmer’s Brewing Classic Styles. To give you a sense of the exchanges, after the inital post above, a week later Frank offered the subsequent follow-up post:

Based on some of the comments on the board, I have revised the recipe that I will brew. I apologize for not fully disclosing what I intended to make for the Lucci Cup. I realize for some of you this will not be hard to replicate even if you do not have the exact ingredients.

Irish Red Ale
O.G. Why bother?
F.G. 1.014
IBU 27
ABV 5.2%

20 min. boil.
Boil volume: 3 gallons.
Then add unfiltered Bellefontaine water direct from the tap to get 5.5 gallons in the fermenter.

8.1 lbs Canned LME (preferably from an aged can)
6 oz Crystal Grains (40L)
6 oz Crystal Grains (120L)
6 oz Roasted Barley
23 oz Special Roast
10 oz Buster Brown Shoe Box
4.125 oz Cluster 5%AA (60 min)

Yeast: Wyeast # 1084 Irish Ale that has been contaminated with Brettanomyces andLactobacillus (or get a yeast cake from the AGB).

Process: Steep grains at whatever temperature you like for 30 min. At 15 min., add 5 oz. of cardboard to the steeping water. Wash grains with water at 212+ degrees (pour 1 qt. hot water over grain bag to extract final sugars). Add the aged LME and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes (it’s not important). Make sure that the flame is on when you add the LME. This will help caramelize and burn some of the sugars. Add hops at beginning of boil (or sometime in the process if you forget). At end of boil, add 5 oz. cardboard to the wort and steep for 15 minutes before chilling (this is critical). Cool overnight preferably in an old dirty basement with no lid on the kettle or fermenter. Ferment at 87 degrees or higher for 10 to 14 days. Make sure you underpitch and only partially ferment. This will help promote diacetyl. If are lucky enough to have one, it’s highly recommended to pitch one of Sixty’s beers before bottling. This adds complexity to the depth of the brett and lacto character of the beer.

Needless to say, I had a good time at the event.

Michael Noonan won the Lucci Cup, Best of Show went to Kyle Bullock for his Robust Porter, while Frank Barickman was the Runner Up with his English IPA. Full results can be found here. After the Awards Ceremony, I also got to try a Jolly Pumpkin Bambic, which was made for the Winking Lizard’s 25th Anniversary. Dee-licious.


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