2015 #DPBC Homebrew Champion
We had a brilliant turn out for the #DPBC Homebrew Competition Awards Night! The food was great, the beer was great, and everyone was really excited to see who would take home this year’s trophy and prizes.
I know some of you are eager to see the lineup, so without further ado:
1st Place: Matthew Hurst – Lygophylia Black IPA
2nd Place: Brett Irvine & David Talbot – Sundays Chores American IPA
3rd Place: Nic Appleby – Coconut Lime Black Thai PA
Passion Prize: Samantha Nolan – Finneas Fog Misty Weiss
Our sincere thanks to everyone who entered and helped organise this event. We couldn’t have done it without you!
I also had a chance to pose some questions to this year’s winner, Matt Hurst. Check it out for some insight from a homebrew champ!
Which beer did you enter and why did you pick that style?
Matt: I entered a Black IPA, and I entered for three reasons. Devil’s Peak make a phenomenal Black IPA and its one of my favourite beers, so I wanted to see how I did against that, and I guess to try and honour it in a way. It was also my first time brewing the style, so I wanted to get feedback for the next time I brewed it. When I tasted it, I knew I was on to something good, so winning in itself was very good feedback that I’m on the right track. I think it’s a style that appears simple to brew but actually has a lot of details to keep track of. Regardless, I love Black IPA!
What is your recipe development process?
Matt: First, I decide on a style based on season or whatever I’m in the mood for. Then I’ll read up on the description in the BJCP to try and get a feel for what sort of aromas and flavours should be prominent, and where the balance should lie (hops or malt etc). Then I’ll put in my recipe on Beersmith to see if I’m within the guidelines. Then leave it for a week or two, come back and make some tweaks. Sometimes I’ll have changed my mind about something or read about something that I overlooked. I focus a lot on balance because that is extremely important.
What’s your current brewing setup and has winning made you consider an upgrade?
Matt: I have a very basic brewing setup – still using a coolerbox mash tun with a copper manifold and a basic 50 litre pot on gas in which I do 20 litre batches. I’ve been thinking of upgrading for awhile, but will postpone until I’m ready – the long term goal is to open a brewery. I know this system very well now and its obviously producing good beers, but I would like to upgrade to stainless steel as soon as possible, especially to control boil off a bit better. I won’t go too fancy because I like being very involved on brew day and not letting too much technology get in the way of a great brew.
What was it like to take be crowned the homebrew champion?
Matt: In a word – surreal. I knew the beer was pretty good, but when they announced 3rd and 2nd, I assumed I hadn’t placed so when they announced my name in 1st, I was speechless. It is now standing proudly on my trophy shelf (it’s the only one on there, but I hope to add a few more). I drove home a bit more carefully as well.
Do you have any advice for homebrewers who are trying to crank out world class beer?
Matt: My advice to homebrewers is focus on creating a balanced beer, practice exceptional sanitation, control your fermentation temperature, and always be willing to learn. I only recently upgraded to a proper freezer with temperature controller and it has made all the difference. Speak to lots of people. And don’t be afraid of entering competitions. The feedback is invaluable and the always constructive.
We can’t wait for next year’s competition, so start your brainstorming now!