Thursday, December 8, 2011

CAMRA Iron Brewer Competition

My local homebrewing club, the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale, decided to host a club-only Iron Brewer, based on club member experience with the real Iron Brewer competition and general interest in the idea.  We decided to adopt as many of the Iron Brewer rules as practical to make implementation of the contest easier.  The brewing timeline was extended slightly to fit with our meeting schedule.  The club reached out to Peter Kennedy, who runs Iron Brewer, to have him pick the three theme ingredients.  He selected:

In a similar manner to Round 6 of Iron Brewer, I was well-acquainted and comfortable with two of the theme ingredients, and completely unfamiliar with the other one.  The chocolate malt again guided me in the brown ale direction because to use it in any paler beer would not highlight the malt character enough to allow it to stand out.  But, I did not want to repeat another American brown ale, and the Palisade hops provide a fruity, but not aggressive citrus character, that does not match American styles on its own.  So, I thought I would go the Belgian Brown route, but not in the vein of an Oud Bruin.  I decided to use a standard brown ale recipe, but selected Abbey Ale yeast that I hoped would provide some complementary fruit character and some light phenolics to enhance the Palisade hops.  The agave nectar was an unknown factor and I decided to use it instead of simple sugar that is often found in Belgian beer recipes.

The beer is brewed and carbonated and the competition will occur at the CAMRA meeting next week.  I am happy with how the flavors have melded together, though they took a while.  Several flavors are in the background of the beer that I attribute to the agave syrup, which can be primarily described as melon with hints of citrus.  The Belgian yeast phenolics and fruitiness are also there, and in balance with the other flavors.  We will see how it does.  

Have any other clubs out there tried to do an internal Iron Brewer competition?  If so, leave us a comment with the details and how the event was received by your club.




Boosted Belgian Brown
Brewer: Tom Wallace

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 8.0 gal
O.G.: 1.051
F.G.: 1.013
SRM: 22
IBU: 26
ABV: 5.0%
Mash: 151 F for 60 Minutes
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name      
7 lbs                 Pale Ale Malt 2-Row (Briess) (3.5 SRM)      
1 lbs 8.0 oz          Vienna Malt (Briess) (3.5 SRM)  
12.0 oz               Chocolate (Briess) (350.0 SRM)    
8.0 oz                Caramunich I (Weyermann) (51.0 SRM)        
8.0 oz                Victory Malt (biscuit) (Briess) (28.0 SRM)
1 lbs                 Raw Blue Agave Syrup      
28.00 g               Palisade [6.70 %] - Boil 60.0 min  
1.00 Items            Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)    
14.00 g               Palisade [6.70 %] - Boil 5.0 min    
1.0 pkg               Abbey Ale (White Labs #WLP530)          

Brewed for CAMRA internal Iron Brewer competition

11/13/2011 - Dropped to lager temps.

11/14/2011 - Added 3 tsp gelatin in 1 cup 140 F water to help clarify.

11/16/2011 - Kegged.  SRM ~ 22.  Beer is very dark brown with no head.  Aroma is faintly yeasty, with some hints of black pepper.  Initial perception of flavor is watery, with mid-palate spice and fruit, followed by a dry finish.

12/04/2011 - Flavors have melded much better together.  Hints of Belgian phenolics and a strange citrus/melon character I attribute to the agave syrup.

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