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Thursday, 5 January 2012

UK National Homebrew Competition

The UK National Homebrew Competition for 2012 has recently been announced.

This one completely missed my radar until after the closing date for entries last year so I missed out but from what I understand is was a very well supported competition.

What I particularly like about this one is that all entries receive a judges score sheet and feedback within a week or so of judging. It is always very useful to receive constructive criticism on our home brewing efforts and I believe is a key step in progressing as a brewer or brewster.

The competition opens for registration from 1st January 2012 and registration then closes 8th September 2012.

Entries can be received from 20 August 2012 through 7 September 2012.

Judging will be 15 September 2012 at a location to be confirmed. Prizes will then be awarded from 4pm.

The judging is based on BJCP 2008 categories with the best beers in each category being entered for a chance to win best of show.

It is also possible for clubs to win awards by accruing points from individual entries.

All the information for the competition is available here.

Lets hope for continued good support for brewing competitions like this one.

Happy Brewing!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Lazy Brew Day - Update

So, if you read  my last post you'll also know that recently I brewed a full mash kit, designed and packaged by a real micro brewery.

The Fulstow Brewery Fulstow Common is a copper coloured session bitter that comes in at around 3.8% ABV.

As I wrote before, the kit was very well put together and good value for money. The fermentation went well and I bottled the beer about a week ago.

One week in the bottle, even for AG brewing, is quite soon to be sampling but I was keen to try it out and see if it in anyway matches what I would normally drink at the pub. I have got to say that it does, although it could do with a few more weeks to mature and come into condition.

The carbonation levels at the moment are quite low and the lack of conditioning can be seen from the pitiful, almost non-existent head on the beer at the moment. However this I am sure will improve given time.

At this stage it definitely gives hints of the commercial beer but lacks a bit of that rounded flavour that comes in a well conditioned beer. At the moment it is still possible to pick out some of the flavours which are still very distinct and haven't blended together like they should but even now it resembles the beer that I can buy from the brewery tap on any night of the week.

Given another week in secondary fermentation and then a few weeks at cellar temperatures then this should be spot on. I think the outcome of this "kit" has been much better than I had hoped for. Although the instructions accompanying the kit were comprehensive and detail, the scaling down of a commercial recipe and the brewing of that recipe on home brew equipment can be difficult to get right.

The other factor is that people brew using different processes. I ignored some of the instructions on the kit so I could brew using my usual process, including my own water treatment, mash schedule and brew length.

The reason for doing this is that I know from experience that it's the process works best on my setup and produces predictable results. The instructions provided would work just as good for anyone that is just starting out in their AG brewing journey and is uncomfortable in winging it with their own process.

For the beer to have turned out as good as it has it testament to the time and thought that must have gone into designing and producing this full mash kit. I would certainly recommend any of the kits in this range to any home brewer, whatever their level of experience or expertise.

All that is left for me to do is to sign off with a picture of the beer. Ok.... my brewing is better than my photography (and indeed my writing).

Happy Brewing!