NHC Score Sheets Arrive

On July 18, 2011, in Homebrewing, by Mark Ranes

Shameless self-promotion:  You can view the awarding of my bronze medal at the 1 hour, 11 minute mark, of the award ceremony video, over at Justin.tv.

Today, I received score sheets for my two entries into the National Homebrew Competition final round.  The bronze medal American barleywine scored a combined 38.3 points and advanced on to the mini-Best of Show round.  It came in 3rd out of 252 entries in the strong ale category.  Here are the score sheets (click on the images to view a larger size version you can actually read:)

Cover Sheet Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

Cover Sheet Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

Score Sheet 1 Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

Score Sheet 1 Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Score Sheet 2 Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

Score Sheet 2 Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

Score Sheet 3 Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

Score Sheet 3 Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beanilla Porter scored a combined 34 points and did not place in the finals. I was surprised at some of the comments saying that the fresh vanilla overpowered the underlying robust porter style.  Upon further research in the BJCP style guidelines for spiced beers, they do repeatedly talk about a balance of the spice and the underlying style.  Strangely, this received much higher scores in the first round (and a first place regionally), and the level if spice was complemented several times.  Go figure…

Cover Sheet Beanilla Porter

Cover Sheet Beanilla Porter

Score Sheet 1 Beanilla Porter

Score Sheet 1 Beanilla Porter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Score Sheet 2 Beanilla Porter

Score Sheet 2 Beanilla Porter

Score Sheet 3 Beanilla Porter

Score Sheet 3 Beanilla Porter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, this has been a good experience.  I was always just a bit wary of the whole judging process, and some of that is still there.  I can’t help but feel that judging beer ultimately comes down to very subjective calls by judges.  Aside from strong ales that didn’t meet the primary BJCP style guidelines, how exactly was my bronze medal barleywine better than 249 other strong ales?

The barleywine keg blew last Monday, but I’ve bottled eight bottles for potentially entering the ale again next year and see how it does after another twelve months of aging.  But, I also need to brew the barleywine again ASAP:)

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NHC 2011 Day 2 – A Marathon, Not a Sprint!

On June 18, 2011, in Homebrewing, Travel, by Mark Ranes
The CVBG Crew the NHC Club Night

The CVBG Crew the NHC Club Night

Day 2 of NHC 2011 brought several new, amazing beers to my lips.  In my first session, I had the opportunity to taste Firestone Walker’s Saucerful of Secrets, a dark Belgian ale that has been mellowing in bourbon barrels for three years.  It was incredibly smooth and even with its high ABV, very very drinkable, even at 9:20 in the morning:)  I also enjoyed a Firestone Walker double IPA, some Pliny the Elder and another Russian River IPA, Hop 2 It, which uses a new still unnamed experimental hop.  Today I attended the following sessions:

Cooking with Beer with Sean Paxton, The Homebrew Chef

Historical Extreme Beers with Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing

Pragmatic Brewing with Denny Conn

The White Labs Hangover Kit!

The White Labs Hangover Kit!

The highlight of the day was Vinnie Cilurzo’s keynote address.  It was captivating hearing about the early days of his brewing career – the struggles and successes, and then the development of the Russian River Brewing we all know today.  On top of it all, Vinnie is a down to earth, humble man.

Tonight’s social event was the annual Club Night, where homebrew clubs from across the nation offer their best homebrews out to NHC attendees.  The best ale I had tonight was Nathan Smith’s double IPA, from the DOZE booth – a big, spicy IPA, but dry and lacking the overpowering sweetness that too many IIPAs have.

We enjoyed Club Night for about an hour and a half and then retired to our room for some much needed sleep:)

Yum!  Firestone Walker's Saucerful Of Secrets - at 9:20 am

Yum! Firestone Walker's Saucerful Of Secrets - at 9:20 am

Oh, yea!  This is going to be good!

Oh, yea! This is going to be good!

Vinnie Cilurzo giving the 2011 NHC Keynote

Vinnie Cilurzo giving the 2011 NHC Keynote

Vinnie Cilurzo, Mark and Steve

Vinnie Cilurzo, Mark and Steve

I'll Have What He's Having!

I'll Have What He's Having!

Steve and Maggie Supporting Dust Bowl Brewing

Steve and Maggie Supporting Dust Bowl Brewing

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So I Get Home From Work…

On October 2, 2009, in Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes

 

Hmmmm?  What's this?

Hmmmm? What's this?

 

…and on the porch is this white, unassuming package.  My daughter said she had a delivery coming, so I assumed that it was her package.  But no, it was a package from Hop Union!  Here’s the back story…

Back in June, Stephen and I went to the 2009 National Homebrewers Conference in Oakland.  I attended a session called Commercial Hop Production and Sales and Its Effect on Homebrewers with Ralph Olson, of Hop Union, since I have an intense interest and love for hops.  I had the opportunity to ask Ralph a question during the Q&A part toward the end of the session.  I asked what was new in the hop world – basically what was coming down the pike that I should be looking out for.  Ralph said to look out for a new high alpha hop called Citra.  He said that Citras were not widely available last year, but were being used by Sierra Nevada in their new release, Torpedo Extra IPA.

 

It smells good!  Still very mysterious...

It smells good! Still very mysterious...

 

When  got home from NHC, I e-mailed Ralph a couple weeks after the conference and asked him if he could somehow hook me up with some Citra hops.  He said to get in touch with him around harvest time in September.  Well, it’s harvest time!  Last week I again contacted Ralph and asked about the Citras.  He promptly responded and asked his folks to send me half a brewer’s cut of Citra hops.  I instantly hit Google to find out what a brewer’s cut is and discovered that it is a rectangular  15 x 10 x 10 cm sample from a hop bale, wrapped in stiff, light-proof paper, held together by a pin.  “These samples are cut from the sides of representative bales using a sharp knife and a special pair of hinged tongs, which grips the sample on the pressed sides of the cones and enables the sample to be withdrawn without breaking apart.”  Ooooh!  Now this sounds intriguing!

 

Yup!  It's a brewer's cut!

Yup! It's a brewer's cut!

 

Flash forward to today…

I opened the package and was instantly hit with the familiar aroma of fresh citrusy, piney hops!  Woohoo!

I’ll be checking out the properties of the Citra hops by using them in my standard single hop recipe where the malt bill is always the same, and only a single hop is used.  This really lets me focus on what any particular hop brings to a ale.  I’m hoping to brew this ale next weekend.  I’ve been waiting on twelve pounds of 2009 new crpp hops (Centennials, Cascades, Columbus, Magnums, Goldings, Northern Brewers, Simcoes) to arrive, so I didn’t get a starter ready for this weekend.  I guess I could have brewed:)  I do need to make a B3 run soon to get some bulk base grains, but I may brew twice next weekend to get ready for the holiday season if I have enough base malt.

 

Brick of Citra hops!

Brick of Citra hops!

 

Now don’t you all go hitting up Ralph for free samples!  This whole thing came out of his very informative and interesting session at NHC, and I didn’t see all of you there!  But I have to say, Ralph swims with the sharks of the brewing industry.  I’m but a plankton floating in the sea of homebrewers!  For him to set me up with this sample of Citra hops is waaaay more than he had to do.  Jeez – I was just a guy sitting in a conference audience, asking a question!  But from what I’ve seen over the last few years, and particularly relating my experiences at this year’s NHC, this is typical of the type of quality folks you find in the brewing industry.  Even the Ralph Olsons, the Sam Calagiones, the Ken Grossmans, the Charlie Papazians, the Vinny Cilurzos, and on and on, show respect and appreciation for us little guy homebrewers.  They don’t need to, but they do:)

 

Ralph Olsen at NHC

Ralph Olson at NHC

 

Simply put, Ralph – you da man! I owe you an ale or two when I get up your way:)

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NHC Wrap Up

On June 21, 2009, in Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Homebrewing, Technology, Travel, by Mark Ranes

Stephen (formerly known as Some Guy:) and I got back home from NHC shortly after 11:00 a.m. this morning.  As much as I really enjoyed NHC, it was nice to get home to familiar, comfortable surroundings and my family.

The 2009 National Homebrewers Conference was without a doubt one of the best organized conferences, on any topic, I’ve ever attended – and working in the education field, I’ve attended my share of conferences.  I was really pleased with the variety of the breakout sessions, as well as the fact that everything started and ended on time.  Timeliness sounds like a given, but when it comes to conferences it is an often overlooked aspect.    The Oakland Marriott was a gracious host for NHC and they seemed to roll well with 1100 people wandering around with ale, armfulls of brewing stuff, crazy costumes and generally eccentric people.  Finally, considering that alcohol was a key component of the conference, I was very pleased to not see a single incident of stupidness or assholiness by conference attendees.  Amazing:)

Jay and Shannon from Utah

Jay and Shannon from Utah

I had the opportunity to meet some really nice folks, like Jay and Shannon from Utah.  Rights like homebrewing are something that I take for granted, living in California, but I found out that Jay and Shannon were just recently legally allowed to homebrew in Utah.  They can now let the aromas of wort and boiling hops flow liberally from their brew house without fear of a visit from the local police department.  It amazes me there there are still antiquated laws on the books like prohibiting homebrewing in several states.  It’s really sad.  Jay and Shannon sat next to me at the Grand Banquet last night and I really enjoyed their company (and they put up with my jabs at Utah very graciously for most of the evening:)

Brett Glenna - my Twitter buddy!

Brett Glenna - my Twitter buddy!

I also got to meet up with someone I’ve been Tweeting with for a while, @BrettGlenna, and we got to visit a couple of times.  We talked about setting up a future beer exchange.  Brett has access to many east coast ales I’ll never be able to buy in California, and I found out he’s a bit of a hophead.  Boy, is he in for a treat with some of the aggressive west coast IPAs I have access to!

Stephen and I are already kicking around the idea of attending the 2010 NHC in Minneapolis.  I should be ready for a beer by then:)

Even though I previously facetiously blogged about coming home today to lovingly open arms on Fathers Day, I’m happy to report that it was indeed the case.  I had a shower of Fathers Day gifts from Brenda and DawBoy, and a nice “Happy Fathers Day” phone call from Meagan ( I drove past her apartment building, within 100 yards, leaving Oakland this morning)  this afternoon.  Brenda made a wonderful rigatoni dinner and we shared a lovely bottle of Merlot (yea, I said I was going to give my liver a break today, but Italian food screams for a glass or two of nice red wine!)

I also picked up my new iPhone 3GS, and I’m pleased to report that the migration went smoothly.  I simply backed up my previous iPhone and then restored the backup image on the new iPhone 3GS via iTunes and everything was there – even all my apps were in their same locations on the various screens.  Bravo, Apple for making things as simple as they should be!

The upgraded camera, with spot auto-focusing and metering, and 30 fps video are incredible.  The voice dialing (that should have been included in the iPhone Day 1) works perfectly and I was able to dial 3 out of 3 contacts perfectly each time, with no training.  Amazing!

Anyway, it’s good to be home:)

Here are the last couple of pictures from NHC:

Stephen, with his second wind - after a rough bout with Club Night

Stephen, with his second wind - after a rough bout with Club Night

Sean Paxton - the Homebrew Chef

Sean Paxton - the Homebrew Chef

View of Oakland from my hotel room on departure day

View of Oakland from my hotel room on departure day

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