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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dbeechum on December 29, 2009, 06:57:31 PM

Title: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: dbeechum on December 29, 2009, 06:57:31 PM
So let's reflect on the year to be remembered (and brag just a bit).

What was the most interesting / creative / experimental beer you did this year

What was the beer you were happiest with / proud of / sucked back so fast it vaporized?

For me - I think the most interesting ones I did were the series of "Fantome" inspired beers that I talked about over here: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=111.0

The best beer that I made in terms of kicking my ass, taking names and flashing out of existence about as fast as I've ever seen was a beer I brewed with my cohort Jonny Lieberman - The Audacity of Hops / The Audacity of Aretha Franklin's Hat. The Hat version was fermented in steel, the Hops was in glass. They each got different dry hopping schedules. The Hat, straight out of the keg, was potent enough to slap your head into LEO and you couldn't wait to get back down to Earth to take another sip. We poured both through a set of Randalls at the Southern California Homebrewer's Festival and despite the sick, sick plethora of beer on tap, each keg was blowing foam within 3 hours

Damn that was a good beer. Slap yer mouth good.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: hamiltont on December 29, 2009, 07:38:19 PM
Well, I’m not sure I can be quite so colorful   ;D  but I did have a few that turned out okay.  The State & County Fairs produced 19 - 1st places, 8 - 2nd places and 1 - 3rd Place.  Maybe I went a little overboard there?? 

I guess my two favorites were a Sweet Stout and a DIPA. 

The most interesting was a California Common.  Might have used a little too much Northern Brewer hops in that one.  I wanted to really get a feel for the flavor & aroma. Definitely got that…  :o
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: babalu87 on December 29, 2009, 08:00:49 PM
What was the most interesting / creative / experimental beer you did this year

What was the beer you were happiest with / proud of / sucked back so fast it vaporized?


Darkness Imperial Black Ale

Used brown malt AND roasted malts
Not just a color thing, this beer has a lot going on.

Wife said its the best beer I ever brewed.

Batch 2's keg is already getting light  >:(
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: Robert on December 29, 2009, 08:46:56 PM
What was the most interesting / creative / experimental beer you did this year

What was the beer you were happiest with / proud of / sucked back so fast it vaporized?


1)I actually made the beer in '08, but bottled my Flanders Red this year....mmmm yummy. I also did a Belgian Dark Strong with WY3789 that has brett in it. Coming along wonderfully, 1.085 to 1.003 right now, pellicle has fallen and I'm thinking of bottling early next year.

2)A tie. I made 20 gallons of a simple bitter recipe this year and drank all 20, and also killed a keg of DC's RyePA, which I did a small bittering addition, then loaded up in the last 15 minutes for the rest of the IBU's, in quick fashion. 
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: corkybstewart on December 29, 2009, 09:09:40 PM
2 stand out but for very different reasons.
My wee heavy required a new process.  I boiled to gallons of first runnings down to less than a quart of goo.  It fermented from 1.098 to 1.036 and stopped, but after 2 months in the keg it is magnificent, no sweetness but incredibly malty.
The other was my Oktoberfest Hefewiezen.  I waited until 2 weeks before the party so that it would be fresh and then realized I had no yeast for it.  My kids and I drank 5 or 6 different brands of hefeweizen from the grocery store and poured the dregs into a starter.2 days later the starter was ready, I brewed the hefe and we drank 10 gallons of it at Oktoberfest.  Everybody there said it was their favorite of the 3 beers I brewed for the party.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: sir_eldren on December 29, 2009, 11:27:50 PM
I'm still a bit of a novice when it comes to homebrewing, but as is my normal way in life, I jump into new hobbies head first and ask questions later.  I made two versions of a lime ale that were amazing.  The first was about 5.1% ABV and had a very "fresh" lime flavor to it, but lacked a good body to support it.  Luckily, I was the only person I know who was disappointed in it, but it was a good beer.  The second version added a little more caramel malts to add more body.  I also started experimenting with sparge times and I ended up increasing my mash efficiency from around 65% to 75%.  The second beer finished at 7.2% ABV, was popping with fresh lime and a nice, malty body that sits on your palette for a while and leaves you with a smile.

The beer I'm most proud of is a recipe that started off as a McMenamins' Nebraska Bitter clone (No McMenamin's beers where I live!), but it ended up being a slightly darker, less bitter pale ale that was amazingly great.  About 4 months later I visited a McMenamins pub in Lincoln City, Oregon, and my wife and I were floored to taste MY beer on tap!!  I had inadvertently cloned their Hammerhead Ale!!!  My friends and I love the stuff!  While I certainly wouldn't argue that McMenamins makes the best beer in the Northwest, they do happen upon a few gems every now and then that are absolutely fantastic.

Ahh ... beer!
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: BrewingRover on December 30, 2009, 01:58:01 AM
My most interesting was a Belgian Strong Golden-ish based on Poperings Hommelbier I've had the beer exactly once but it was so good and different, I wanted a clone. I got some good advice from a Dutch homebrewer on the NB board and ended up with a very tasty beer. I need to track down the inspiration beer again and see how I did.

My favorite  beer was an Imperial Stout, which I think is the best beer I've ever made. I used a ton of roasted malt and Wyeast's Imperial Blend, which was a Private Collection release and I think that made the beer. It's bitter and roasty, with just a hint of tartness to it. I've had a few people tell me I should enter it in a competition, but that would mean less for me ;D
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: bluesman on December 30, 2009, 02:48:04 AM
Well my most interesting beer probably won't surprise many folks around here, but it's Denny's VBIP. Really different. Really good recipe!

My best beer has to be my Wringler Bock. It's funny because I really didn't expect that beer to turn out as great as it did. I actually took 2nd place in the Northeast division and went to the finals in the NHC with that beer and I only have two bottles left.  :(

 Looks like I'll need to brew another batch soon.  8)
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: akr71 on December 30, 2009, 03:13:04 PM
Well, I only started brewing all-grain this past April, so each brew session has been better than the last.  I made an 80/- which was pretty tasty when it was fresh but didn't age well at all.  My weissbier was a hit too with friends and family, but the one I was happiest with was the Oktoberfest - it was my first attempt at a lager, a stress-free brew day and disappeared quite quickly with many compliments from friends and family.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: barliman on December 30, 2009, 04:51:54 PM
I didn't really get too crazy this year, so my most interesting beer was taking a 5 gallon batch of cream ale, I added some honey and boiled it down to 3 gallons making it into a barleywine (only 1.080).  I have three bottles of this left, so I was thinking of entering it into the UMMO next month.

My favorite beer this year was the Caribou Slobber kit from NB that I fermented with Denny's yeast.  It only lasted two weeks >:(, which is why it will be my first brew of 2010.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: tankdeer on December 30, 2009, 05:18:55 PM
What was the most interesting / creative / experimental beer you did this year

What was the beer you were happiest with / proud of / sucked back so fast it vaporized?


Trying to remember.... the most interesting, at least the one that most other people have showed an interest in was probably my Chocofunk. Of course it's not done yet, but it's coming along. Going off memory the numbers were about 1.055, 11 SRM, 20 IBUs, sitting on 1/2lb of organic cocoa nibs and some bugs. I also did my first round of lagers this year which was fun, especially in a swamp cooler. The vienna lager turned out amazing, and was probably one of the fastest to blow this year. Otherwise I made a really excellent American Brown, a brett infused brown session ale and a bretty saison that were all fantastic and didn't last long at all. Did well in the few comps I entered too. Entered the nationals for the second year in a row and advanced to round two - for the second year in a row. And my Berliner Weisse swept the local comps in the sour category - again.

Overall not a bad year
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: majorvices on December 30, 2009, 07:14:02 PM
Most interesting would probably be my Christmas Ale that I have on tap right now, it is basically a saison noir with ginger and lime leaves (bumped up version on one of my other saison recipes but with some roasted malt and higher OG). The roasted malts play nicely with the flavors - a real winner for my tastes. A close runner up is my Belgian Tripel IPA - basically a tripel recipe (wlp550) with a blend of Amarillo, Aurora and French Strisselspalt hops.

Hard to say what the best beer was - the one I probably enjoyed brewing and drinking the most has been my house IPA with a blend of Centennial and Columbus (just brewed this again yesterday).  Runner up would be a tossup between my kolsch and my hoppy American Wheat.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: akr71 on December 30, 2009, 07:37:22 PM
I forgot the first part of the question - most interesting.  Definitely my first AG.  I made a blonde ale but substituted maple sap instead of water.

I never intended for my first all grain attempt to be an original recipe, but I was given the maple sap for free and had to use is quick or it would spoil (or keep it cold).  Lucky for me, a day after I got the stuff we had a snow storm, so I buried it in a pile of snow on the deck until the end of the week.  Since it was my first attempt, I wasn't surprised that my efficiency was horrible.  I bumped the SG with a pound of maple sugar.  It ended up being a dry, crisp blonde ale - my non-beer geek buddies drank it quite readily, which in turn made them less tentative in trying my later brews.  I would definitley do it again if I can get my hands on more maple sap.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: redbeerman on December 30, 2009, 08:11:28 PM
Most interesting and best beer.  Hopbursted Rye IPA.  Came out great.  Went real fast.  Scotch ale is always a hit as well.  Brewed my first AG DIPAs this year.  Many different hop combos, all good.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: tfries on December 31, 2009, 03:24:11 AM
Most interesting/creative was an Strong Amber Lager predominately hopped with Mt. Rainier Hops.  OG: 1.070 FG: 1.012 46IBU

Sucked back fast- Most of the beers that my wife made (she makes session beers).  The other beer sucked down fast was my Christmas Double Alt. Big malt bomb hopped with Saphir.

Another experimental beer is one that will be kegged this weekend.  It is an Amber Ale that was hopped with Northern Brewer, Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy.  Tasted a sample last night and I think that this will be a very interesting beer.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: Kaiser on December 31, 2009, 07:11:59 PM
I didn't brew anything really interesting this year. A lot of run-of the mill stuff.

The beer I was most pleased with however, was my Schwarzbier. In particular after having been to Germany again and having had a few good commercial exaples I feel that my version is pretty much where I want to be with that style. I made 4 batches of that beer this year.

Kai
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: pjj2ba on January 01, 2010, 12:39:50 AM
Most interesting would be the two beers where I was messing with cooking the hops in oil first.  The first was deep-frying hop pellets and then after realizing most of the bitterness went into the oil, brewed another batch where I sauteed the hops (everything added to the mash).  Add to the second batch that I boiled all 9 lbs of grain (intentionally) and the drained into the fermentor.

Best I guess would be the American lager that took 1st in the NE region of the AHA national comp.  I probably though liked the kolsch and IPA I brewed better
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: yugamrap on January 03, 2010, 03:57:47 PM
Well, the most interesting for me was a Jolly Rancher American Wheat.  I made it for our club's "Strange Brew" contest where we drew "strange" ingredients (e.g., licorice, oysters, marshmallow fluff, Jolly Rancher candies, etc.) from a hat.  It tasted pretty good and took 3rd in the contest out of about 20 entries.  The color was pretty weird, though - a little greenish-gray, because I used the Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers.

The beer I was most pleased with was a batch of Amber Ale I made with my first harvest of homegrown hops.  It probably wasn't the best beer I made in 2009, but I was really pleased with the results and my family killed the keg in just a few days around Thanksgiving.  I think the best beers I made in 2009 were a batch of Altbier, and one of ESB.  I think the overall quality of all my beers improved over last year as I improved my ability to control fermentation and lagering temperatures, and made other improvements to my brewing techniques and practices.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: majorvices on January 04, 2010, 01:49:12 PM
Most interesting would be the two beers where I was messing with cooking the hops in oil first.  The first was deep-frying hop pellets and then after realizing most of the bitterness went into the oil, brewed another batch where I sauteed the hops (everything added to the mash).  Add to the second batch that I boiled all 9 lbs of grain (intentionally) and the drained into the fermentor.

Dude, that's just crazy. Sauteed hops??? In butter or olive oil? Deep fried hops??? What the...??? How was the head retention on those beers? :o
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: pjj2ba on January 05, 2010, 04:47:51 AM
Plain old vegetable oil.  My first try was the deep frying.  I battered the pellets to help keep them together and retain the hopefully isomerized alpha acids.  Afterwords I found much of the bitterness went into the oil anyway, so the next time I tried sauteing, and dumping the oil and hops into the mash.  Between adding the cooked hops to the mash (some oil sticks to the grains, and the use of lecithin, I actually head great head on both of the beers.  For the sauteed hops, 6 tbsp of oil and 2 tbsp of lecithin went into the mash.  Oh yeah, and only a 20 min boil - hoping the frying would replace the need for a 60 min. boil.  The sauteing actually worked!
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: rabid_dingo on January 05, 2010, 06:41:36 AM
my most interesting beer would have to be my School House Table beer. from zymurgy. Very mild and actually very tasty.

My best beer would have to be my holiday beer. I brew it every Christmas Eve and age it until the next year. I went through
about 2 gallons the day I released it. I fear that there may be less than a gallon left. I love sharing it.  ;D
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: blatz on January 05, 2010, 06:29:02 PM
I'm not as radical as some of you guys, but here goes:

Most interesting: Every year, for my club's oktoberfest, I brew my house specialty IPA, but this year I wanted to do something more appropo to the season, so I took a crack at an all Vienna based IPA and it turned out fantastic - exactly what I was after - the blending of two of my favorite styles into one beer.  The two kegs were gone within a couple of hours...I think it will be an annual production.

Sucked back fast/most proud I made a lot of great beers in 2009 (perhaps only great in my opinion  ;)) , even got an avg score in the high 40s on my IPA last fall at an MCAB entry comp  :D :o, but the one I was most proud of was one that I drank so fast it never made it to any competion (and I doubt I coulda parted with any, anyways!): my Dortmunder really nailed it down, so much so that I had to show my buddy the corny kegs b/c he swore it was Great Lakes Dort Gold.
Title: Re: A Double Question - Most Interesting Beer and Best Beer of the Year
Post by: richt on January 05, 2010, 07:55:03 PM
I didn't do anything real creative or experimental compared to some of you guys, but I did finally go AG this fall, so that was a big change.  Probably the most interesting beer and beer I am proudest of would be my first AG, an all Munich malt and Summit hopped APA.  It was supposed to be an IPA with tons of hop aroma and flavor, but I massively undershot my gravity and ended up with an APA gravity.  The result was outstanding.  This turned into a hugely hoppy beer that wasn't excessively bitter so it was still very sessionable.  I think the OG was around 1.048 with 95 IBUs.  I liked it so much that I just brewed a similar beer for New Years and it was a hit.

I am also proud of taking a ribbon in the first comp I entered (2nd place fruit beer, MN State Fair), and scoring well with the APA I entered but didn't place with.  I am really anxious to enter some more comps now that I'm AG.