2014 Homebrew Competition Winners
We see you over there – fervently calculating, scheming, obsessing.
“Columbous or chinook?”
“Munich or Vienna malt?”
“Does anyone have the latest pH readings for Newlands springs?”
“My GOD, does no one in this country stock Comet?!”
Calm down there, champ. You’re doing damn good, and we’re sure your epic beer will be ready in time for the 2nd annual #DPBC Homebrew Competition.
But what does it take to be a winner? What separates the good from the great? Are you looking for some homebrew competition advice?
We caught up with Greg and Shawn, the winners from last year’s comp, for a retelling of their victory and to see if they have any tips and tricks for this year’s hopefuls.
Mitch: “Thanks for taking the time to sit down for a chat, gents! I know you’ve been busy getting your new brewery ready – exciting times!”
Greg: “Stressful times! I haven’t slept properly in 3 months. It’s not as easy as it looks.”
Shawn: “Well I’ve slept fine.” (grin)
Greg: “Then clearly I’m not working you hard enough!”
Mitch: “Alright, alright – before we get completely off topic, why don’t you guys fill me in a bit on your experience with the #DPBC Homebrew Competition. Which beer did you enter?”
Shawn: We brewed a Russian Imperial Stout. It was our “Cold War Stout” – a RIS with a bucket-load of American hops. While it was fermenting, we purchased two small refurbished barrels which was a combination of barrels which held red wine, brandy and whiskey. We decided to age the beer in the barrels, which really was a spur of the moment thought. It sat in the barrels for about four months, and we then transferred to kegs. At that time, the beer was really vinous – it tasted like red wine. Fortunately, that mellowed and we bottled the beer after six months and submitted to the competition.”
Mitch: “Red wine, brandy and whiskey. That’s an interesting combo! I remember the beer being quite complex. I’m sure that had a lot to do with it.”
Greg: “Well we sure as hell weren’t going to brew a pale ale.”
Mitch: “Fair enough. Well you guys won, so you must have done something right. What was it like to take home the trophy?”
Shawn: “It was amazing to hear our names called out. We work very hard trying to make really good beer – even if just for us and our friends – so it was incredible to be recognized that we made a beer that tasted really really good!”
Greg: “Yeah, we were pretty stoked! Especially considering this was the first competition we had entered.”
Mitch: “It must have been exciting. I tasted most of the beers on offer and there were some serious contenders. Are you going to enter this year?”
Shawn: “We are not entering this year, as we are busy setting up the brewery which will be upstairs in Banana Jam Cafe. The brewery will be called Afro-Caribbean Brewing Company, and we hope to make beers that are as good, if not better, than the RIS we submitted last year! But we will be at the competition and are looking forward to trying the latest entries.”
Greg: “I’ll be sad to see the trophy go – it has become my favourite pint glass.”
Mitch: “Well that sounds like some pretty exciting stuff. There are plenty of homebrewers entering this year who will be keen to take the title. What advice do you have to offer them?”
Greg: “Don’t go mainstream. Brew something exciting. Bigger beers tend to do better in comps where all the styles are judged together. Get creative and don’t be afraid to fail!”
Mitch: “Some rock solid advice. Thanks for the chat, and I’ll see you guys at the comp!”
Your next question might be, “When is this epic RIS available to drink?” Soon! Keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks for an announcement.
Have you entered your beer yet? Time is running out. Submit your entry email to firstname.lastname@example.org! Don’t wait – all beers must be submitted by 1700 on Friday, 10/07/15.