Monday, 30 April 2012

Ilkley Brewery / Leeds Homebrew Competition

We have been in touch with Ilkley Brewery following our homebrew meet on the 26th April, and are very pleased to be announcing an Ilkley Brewery / Leeds Homebrew competition.

So, if you would like the opportunity to get up close and personal with the shiny brew kit in the photo, then read on and start planning a brew day!

Ilkley have set the challenge of brewing a low ABV beer to the following specification:

Style - American Brown Ale
Target OG - 1038
Colour - Amber/Red
Bitterness - 35 EBU
Hops - up to you!
Yeast - up to you!
Water treatment -  up to you!

Entries will be judged by the Ilkley brewers and the winning entry will be scaled up and produced by Ilkley as their autumn beer.  If that wasn't enough, the winning brewer will be invited to brew the first Gyle. I think the appropriate word to use here is AWESOME!

Deadline for entries to be delivered to the locations below, is Saturday 14th July.

Entries should be bottled in 2x500ml brown bottles, with gold crown caps, and posted to:

Beer Paradise Limited
Unit 20, Centre Park
Marston Moor Business Park
YO26 7QF

Or bottles can be left at Beer Ritz, Headingley (14 Weetwood Lane, LS16 5LX) on or before the submission date (Saturday 14th July).  Please mark the parcel in some way with 'Ilkley Homebrew Competition' and include your name, contact telephone number and details of your recipe with your entry.  It would be helpful if these details were printed and stuck to the bottles as a label.

Friday, 27 April 2012

April meeting with Ilkley Brewery

Last nights meeting went well, a great talk from Chris Ives from Ilkley Brewery, as well as some new faces joining us.  Chris gave an insightful talk on the challenges of brewing low abv / hop forward beers, with some irony that the beers the homebrewers presented being upward of 5.8% abv, including an Amber Ale from Matt and Will, a 6.5% Cascadian Dark Ale from Ian, a 7% single hop IPA from Rob, a 9% smoked IPA from Pete and two versions of a 10% Barley Wine from Simon.  Safe to say that some hops were harmed in the making of these beers!

Chris made several points on the variables a brewer needs to control when brewing a low abv beer.  Interestingly, and from my point of view, each point is important to consider when brewing any beer; sanitation of your kit, water treatment, temperatures of your strike, mash and sparge liquor, boil length, hop addition timings and choice of yeast. However, these principles are arguably more important with a beer which is all about balance between its body and the hop character.  I can't speak from experience of brewing this style of beer, but I've drunk a few and any slight mistakes have nowhere to hide.    

This is not to say that brewing a low abv beer is necessarily anymore difficult than brewing any other style, but this leads on to what I found to be the most important advice of the evening.  Regardless of the style you are brewing, if you are going to produce exactly what you want and to be happy with it, then you will need to brew it a few times before you get it right.  Chris was honest enough to share with us that Ilkley beers took some development, no surprise there, but also that it is an ongoing process of incremental adjustments to the variables listed above, that allow them to understand where they need to focus to make the beer better the next time.  Food for thought and a big thank you to Chris for joining us.

Looking forward to our next meeting, we will be arranging a meeting sometime in late July (venue to be confirmed).  However, between now and July, Chris has extended an invitation to the group to visit the brewery for a tasting session.  Before we tackle the logistics of getting us all to the brewery, it would be useful if we can agree on a couple of dates that we can put forward.  The best days for this to happen are are Thursday late afternoon onwards (which could prove difficult for most) or a Saturday afternoon.

So, lets be having your suggestions below.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Next Meet - TOMORROW! Thursday 26th April

Just a quick reminder that our next meet is tomorrow at Mr Foleys, on the Headrow in Leeds.

 The usual format applies - arrive for a 7pm start when our guests from Ilkley Brewery will be talking about brewing low-gravity, hop-forward beers in general, and no doubt about their all-conquering Mary Jane Pale Ale in particular. After this, the floor is open for any Q's and A's to them.

Following this - at about 8pm - there is the usual ceremony of throwing yourself to the lions, or as it's more commonly known, an opportunity to have your homebrew assessed by a panel of professional and amateur brewers. Of course, it's not really that scary, but it's a great opportunity to get your beer in front of a panel who will tell you what they think, in the nicest possible way.

Game on!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Beer Ritz & Copper Dragon Home Brew Competition

With the idea of creating something a little different, and with the hopes that this could be quite an educational and interesting experience, Ghost Drinker from Beer Ritz and Rob Percival from Copper Dragon have teamed up to bring the first B.R./C.D. Home Brew Competition entitled:

Operation Remix

The idea behind this Remix is twofold: Firstly - choose one of the three Copper Dragon beer recipes given. Secondly - take the ingredients specified, and do what ever the heck you want with them to create what you think will be a creative and tasty beer!

If you want to know the full scoop and details, visit this post on Ghosty's blog, but if you need an incentive, just know that there's some fantastic prizes available up for grabs. Not just that though... everyone who takes part in the event itself will be treated to a fantastic evening up at Copper Dragon after the final judging of the competition.

Time to show people the skills that local home brewers have!

Get those kettles and mash tuns warming...