The finishing touches have been put on the first two brews of the year. I’ve tried to give extra attention to both batches throughout every step of the process. Hopefully it pays off because I decided to enter both beers in a BJCP sanctioned competition. The War of the Worts is a local competition hosted by Keystone Homebrew that draws over 700 entries. It seemed to be a perfect opportunity to get some honest feedback. But enter a contest without even tasting the finish product? Why not!
The Lucky 7’s IPA ended up being 7.6% abv and crystal clear. Even though I dry hopped with over an ounce of Citra pellets, the beer was very bright during transfer. The long cold conditioning stage seemed to be a huge help to clear anything suspended. Although this beer fits in the guidelines of an imperial IPA, I decided to enter it as an IPA. This beer was right on the border of IPA and IIPA. It seemed to be better suited as a stronger IPA without the imperial notation. I have high hopes for this one.
The Citritine Ale ended up being more of an experiment towards the end. Just like Lucky 7’s, this one finished clear with some nice Citra aroma from the dry hopping. I was still getting a little sweetness from the clementines, but felt it could use another layer of flavor. Randy Mosher covers a technique of adding a spiced tea at bottling in Radical Brewing which I’ve been wanting to try.
The general concept is to take a small sample of beer, add the spiced tea and then scale it up for the batch. With a couple of unsuspecting friends visiting I decided to give it a shot. I prepared two teas: One with clementine zest and coriander and another with ginger. The consencious of everyone who mixed and taste tested was that the ginger lended itself best to this beer. One critique was the beer tasted a little watery, which I definitely agreed with.
In the end I decided to combine ginger with some fresh cinnamon sticks to hopefully create a ginger snap bite. The tea ended up being about 16 ounces made with three sticks of cinnamon and two tablespoons of fresh ginger. This one was entered in the contest as spiced beer (21A) because I felt the cinnamon and ginger would be more pronounced. Only time will tell…