Iowa State Fair 2011 – Oenology Competition Results

Well I just received my scoring sheets in the mail on Friday from the Iowa State Fair, and I have some very good news. My final judging scores were high enough that I received two bronze and one silver ribbon from the state fair.

And in reading the scoring sheets, the most surprising thing that I noticed was that the cider that I thought was the worst of the bunch, which was the one that used the Lalvin yeast scored the highest of the three entries that I submitted, winning a silver ribbon. While the cider that used the Premier Cuvee yeast scored the lowest of the three, which I thought was the best of the three. So go figure. But this is most certainly motivation for next year, to work on my brewing techniques.

So here is the breakdown of the final scoring:

21A – Vegetable Beer – Pumpkin Ale – Final Score: 29.5/50

27A – Common Cider – Final Score: 28.5/50
Yeast: Premier Cuvee

27B – English Cider – Final Score: 37/50
Yeast: Lalvin 71B-1122

Iowa State Fair 2011 – Oenology Competition

One of my goals from last year was to enter a couple of beers into the Iowa State Fair. And what ended up happening last year, was that I totally missed the entry deadline, since I couldn’t figure out how to even submit an entry in the first place.

Well this year, I checked the State Fair’s website on June 28th (a Wednesday) to figure out the entry process, and talk about looking in the nick of time. This year’s entry deadline was July 1st (a Friday) so I just submitted my entries with only a few days to spare.

I ended up entering three different brews into the State Fair this year, with the breakdown being two hard ciders (one with batch #23 using Premier Cuvee yeast aged less than 1 year, and the other cider used Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast aged for 2 years) and the beer I entered was that pumpkin ale that I kegged back in November 2009.

With my entry application accepted, I swung by the fair grounds on July 23rd, since that was the date to drop off oenology entries. And the judging is going to happen before the fair starts on July31st.

The way that the read the entry form, it seems like the final results won’t be released until after the fair is over. Which doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but maybe they will post the results on the fairs website, when the fair starts in a couple of days. Personally I’m curious to see what the judges think of my entries, since this is the first time that I’ve entered one of my brews into a competition. Wish me luck.

Pumpkin Ale – Keged and Bottled this weekend

Boy did I leave this beer in the secondary a long time, just shy of a month. But this time around I’m doing something a little different, in that I’m priming the entire 5 gallon batch of homebrew before bottling & kegging. I’ve had this discussion with JRR offline, but the gist of the conversation was about the pro & cons of kegging homebrew. With the major downside of kegging being the inconsistency in carbonation, when the homebrew is force carbonated.

So I’m using this Pumpkin Ale to test out if priming in a keg will produce a better carbonated product compared to force carbonation. Conceptually when you think about it, its like you are basically carbonating one giant bottle of beer, when dealing with a keg. Plus with priming the whole batch, it allows me to bottle part of the batch and keg the rest. I ended up only bottling 13 bottles of the Pumpkin Ale. Since I had 13 open slots in the cardboard case that currently has 11 bottles of the Dry Stout I made a while back. I guess we’ll see in a couple of weeks, the results of this little experiment. Wish me luck.

Side Notes:
FG – 1.014
Priming ratio – 3/4 cup Corn Sugar (Dextrose) & 2 cups of water, with both brought to a boil
Brewed on 10/17/09
Racked to Secondary on 10/27/09
Bottled & Kegged on 11/21/09

Pumpkin Beer racked to secondary

Last week I ended up racking the Pumpkin beer to a glass secondary, and I took a quick FG reading and it was at 1.014. Which isn’t too shabby. At first I thought about saving the yeast from this batch, but as I kept racking the yeast between jugs. I just couldn’t remove all the spice aroma that the yeast was giving off, so I ended up having to dump it down the sink.

It’s a good thing that I saved some of the Wyeast 1056 yeast right out of the smack pack, so that it could be deposited in my personal “yeast bank” in the back of my kitchen refrigerator.

I’ll give the beer another week or two in the secondary, or basically until I can free up some space in the kegerator, which currently has a 1/2 barrel of BL (which was free) and three corny kegs of homebrew (JRR’s stuff, IPA & dry stout.)

So with that hi ho, hi ho, its off to drink I go!

Pumpkin Ale – Recipe and Notes – Mid-October 2009

There is no point in rehashing the post from 10 days ago about the Pumpkin Ale. So then lets dive in head first into the nitty gritty from this brew session.

Last Saturday morning I headed out to the farmer’s market to pick up a butternut squash, after a quick walk around to gauge what was available for purchase. I found a vendor that had a 5.5 lb butternut for $2.00. Consider it sold! Now with the butternut in my possession, it time for all the prep work.

I already had a yellow neck squash from the end of season harvest in the garden. I had no idea what to do with, so I though that I might as well use it along with the butternut. After prepping both squash (peel, de-seed & dice), I tossed all the squash with 1/4 cup of light C & H brown sugar (4oz by weight), before putting it under the broiler. It turned out to be just enough sugar to coat everything evenly, but not so much that I had leftover sugar in the bottom of the mixing bowl.

I roasted the butternut/yellow squash under a low, then high broiler for about 90 minutes. After about 45 mins of no broiling action under low, I cranked it up to high so that it would actually roast. Now with that bit out of the way, here is the complete recipe:

Jack-off Ale Recipe (Powers Brewery format at the bottom)
6 lbs – Pale Malt (6 row) USA
2 lbs – Munich Malt – 10L
.25 lb – Chocolate Malt (UK)
1 lb – Caramel/Crystal Malt 20L
1 lb – Flaked Barley
.25 lb – Light C&H Brown Sugar

Wyeast American Ale – 1056

~5 lbs of cleaned Butternut squash – 75 mins

Fuggles – 1oz pellets- 4% AA – 60 mins
East Kent Golding – 1oz pellets- 5% AA – 15 mins
Fuggles – 1oz pellets- 4% AA – 3 mins

Spices added during final 30 mins of boil:
2 tsp – Nutmeg
2 tsp – Cinnamon
1 tsp – Allspice

Other info: Mashed for about 90 minutes at 150-154F with 3 gallons of water; batch sparged with 1.5 gallons of boiling water & 3.5 gallons of 170F water; First running was 2.75 gal and the second/final running was 3.75 gal; 90 minute boil; 10 days in the primary, OG 1.048 @ 80F.

I actually spent some time this go around, looking at how the Powers web page was set-up. And after making a couple of adjustments for the dead space in my mash/lauter tun, I basically hit the recipe right on the nose, both in OG and final volume, which is a first for me. Now for the hardest part…..waiting to drink the final product.

RO^Jack’off Ale^October 17, 2009^94^75^5^60^9^4^73^100^8.8^0.3^0.1^0.4^0.4^0.25^72^72^6^64^64^2^41^41^0.25^31^31^
^0^0^0^1^0^0^0^0^1^0^63^153^1.2^^^^~5 lbs of cleaned/diced/roasted Butternut squash, coated in
4 oz of Light C&H brown sugar; All spices added during final 30 mins of boil, Nutmeg 2 tsp, Cinnamon 2 tsp,
Allspice 1 tsp.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^5^5^5^0^0^0^0.1^

Brewing Pumpkin Ale this Weekend – Mid-October 2009

Since I really don’t have anything lined up this weekend, other then swapping the battery in my truck. Why not brew up another batch of beer, since I’m starting to run low on the dry stout and IPA down in the kegerator. This time I thought that I would brew up something totally different, but very fitting for the Fall Season, that being a Pumpkin Ale. I’ve had a couple different pumpkin ales over the years, with the most notable being the Pumpkin at Lakefront in Milwaukee.

Yesterday I stopped by the LHBS to get all the raw materials, now I just need to stop by the farmers market on Saturday morning to get a large butternut squash. I talked with the guys at the shop, and one of the guy said that if I was going to roast the squash in the oven that I should toss it in a little bit of brown sugar to help the butternut caramelize when broiled. Plus the brown sugar will add a little bit to the gravity, but I only plan on use a couple of tablespoons. So the gravity difference will be negligible.

Wish me luck, and I’ll post the recipe after the brew session.