Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great Nebraska Beerfest tickets, Brewing Janet's Brown Ale, Rakau Pale Ale, and BJCP Competition Season!

Whew it's hard to keep up with everything that's going on right now.  Gearing up for GNBF (Great Nebraska Beer Fest) and getting all of my "summer beers" ready for entry in the upcoming competitions for judging.  Not to mention I still have to brew my Marzen for the year and I'm sitting on tons of yeast I need to use.  Man there's not enough time in a day!  Luckily for me I have a few days coming up without weddings and other distractions.  If I can just keep myself away from the computer at home and stop playing video games.  I'll be all set.
GNBF 2013
So Great Nebraska Beerfest tickets just went on sale today.  And by the looks of it this year's event is going to be even bigger and awesomer than last years.  Get your tickets HERE.
I'll be making yet another GNBF video cataloging the events of the festival.  And interviewing several of the brewers out there.  So look forward to that video once it's online.
Mash hopping Janet's Brown Ale

In other news.  I have still been busy brewing.  Marking off the styles as I brew them in my Brewing Classic Styles Book.  All of my recipes may not be exact replicas from the book.  But I do my best to stay within the style guidelines and brew something that I find interesting, while keeping to the style guidelines outlined by the BJCP.  A little over a week ago I made an exception and brewed an exact recipe to style.  I made Janet's Brown Ale straight from the book.  Using all the exact techniques from the book.  This is the first time in a while that I have done this.  And it was refreshing to do so.  Here I am, brewing this gold medal winning recipe invented by master homebrewer Mike "Tasty" McDole.  The whole time I'm thinking to myself "Man I hope I don't mess this up, because if I really nail it this will be a really good beer!"  Now I'm in the dry hopping process and waiting for this to be ready to carb up.  Then it's being entered in a couple of comps soon.  I found the process of "mash hopping" to be interesting.  I have never done a mash hop before.  But this recipe called for it.  And I thought, hey, this could be neat!  Not really sure how much it will effect the final product.  But if this beer turns out as good as everyone says it is.  I'm pretty sure I will try this technique in a few other beers.
Don't forget the whirlfloc!
The Dusseldorf Altbier, Nelson Saison, Cream Ale and Amber Ale are all carbing up nicely in the kegerator right now.  I just brewed an American Pale Ale using all Rakau hops from New Zealand last week as well. (Recipe Here) Earlier this year I purchased a 55 lb. bag of Munich Light and I have plenty of it.  So I thought it would be fun to use plenty of Munich in a Pale Ale and see how it would taste as a base malt along with the 2-Row.  Along with the Northwestern Ale 1332 yeast this pale should have some nice malt backbone to compliment the hops.  Then again it could be a bad idea.  Experimentation on my part but sounded fun so I brewed it!  It's almost ready for a dry hop and has had plenty of activity lately.  I'm excited to get that beer ready for drinking as I'm a huge fan of Rakau hops.  My friend David brews a Rakau pale ale and I'm hoping mine turns out half as good as his.  Because it's excellent.
We will, we will Rakau!
So I'm sitting on quite a few beers lately.  Gearing up for my first real lager in quite a while.  And all of a sudden competition season is hitting.  There are quite a few state fairs this time of year, and the homebrewing competitions are plentiful.  I entered several of my beers in the Sioux Empire Fair, and I'm gearing up to enter more in the Nebraska State Fair and the River City Rodeo.  I'm hoping that some of my beers will come back with good comments on how I did overall on the brews.  And what I can do to improve them.  If I end up with an award or two I'll definitely be stoked too.  We shall see.  I have only ever entered one true BJCP competition before and that was a Nebraska Shootout a couple of years ago.  This year I plan on brewing and entering in whatever I can.  I figure it's good for my education about the styles.  And it will let me know if my recipes are landing where they need to be within the styles as I brew them.  Not to mention the best critic of your own work is going to be an outside party with no bias.  I have friends tell me my beer is great all of the time.  "I would BUY THIS!" is the common theme.  But any friend who tells me that is immediately on my radar as a person I will probably not take too seriously when asking their opinion.  I have found that usually the people who find faults in my beer are the ones who I strive to brew for.  I want to make good beer.  And I want people to enjoy it.  Anyone with a palette that can describe style, aroma, taste, and give me a good insight on their perceptions of beer.  Those are the people that get me stoked about brewing.  Don't get me wrong.  I still love to share my beer with all of my friends.  But the ones with good, useful information to reciprocate.  Yeah.  That's where it's at.

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