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Messages - Bruce B

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I think you can also take the BJCP scheduled exams as well without attending the conference.  Follow up with Sandy though -

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: February 25, 2014, 08:45:48 AM »
Your standards of Rock Stardum are pretty low.   ;)

Thanks for the kudo.  Only so much about the Barons and homebrewing that Patrick and I could talk about in four 2 minute bursts.  We didn't know until that morning that the reporter's step Dad had entered the competition so that was a nice tie in.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Newb Question - bottle limitations
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:31:13 PM »
I rarely bottle, but when I do, I have used German half liters - great strong bottles, but not permitted in the NHC.  If Sam Adams is too light of a bottle, which commercial brewer uses a strong bottle as you have suggested?

I usually use the German half liters as well.  For competitions I personally use either New Glarus, Lakefront Brewery, or Milwaukee Brewing bottles but I have a feeling that this won't do you any good.  Dogfish head I think are pretty good as well.  I'd suggest you head down to your local store where you can get craft beer and check out what is available in your market.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: State Championships
« on: February 17, 2014, 04:14:35 PM »
Sounds like a lot of fun and great to hear.  The Barons used to run the WI State Fair Homebrew Competition but that was for homebrew only and I don't think it ever got any higher than 250 entries.  That competition only allowed WI entrants.  I know there are more state fairs out their that have several more entries.  I've also been to fests that have had a pro competition associated with it, but not as many entries as you're talking about.  Hope you have enough judges to cover all of those entries!

FYI - I'm currently in the Tampa area now.  Was supposed to go back to Milwaukee today but flight cancelled due to a snow storm.  Currently enjoying a Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale and later tonight some Jai Alai IPA.  I wouldn't call the state a wasteland.

My suggestion would be consider entering it as a 16E Belgian Specialty.

Here is a line from the comments section for 21A SHV - Note that many spice-based Belgian specialties may be entered in Category 16E.

Here are some lines from the comments section for 16E - This is a catch-all category for any Belgian-style beer not fitting any other Belgian style category. The category can be used for clones of specific beers (e.g., Orval, La Chouffe); to produce a beer fitting a broader style that doesn’t have its own category; or to create an artisanal or experimental beer of the brewer’s own choosing (e.g., strong Belgian golden ale with spices, something unique). Creativity is the only limit in brewing but the entrants must identify what is special about their entry. This category may be used as an “incubator” for recognized styles for which there is not yet a formal BJCP category.

What you are describing (witbier with elderflowers) sounds unique, experimental, and slightly artisanal. When you list your special ingredients I'd suggest stating just 'witbier brewed with elderflowers'. 

I'd recommend force carbonation because you're sure that the brew carbonated and at the level you wanted it to. Judges don't give extra points for bottle conditioned over forced carbonation.  They are supposed to judge the brew to the carbonation level and head retention stated in the style guidelines.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Newb Question - bottle limitations
« on: February 16, 2014, 09:50:42 PM »
Just checking as a first time entrant to the NHC - can one use bottles that have raised lettering, like Sam Adams or Birra Moretti or Sam Smith has on them.  I haven't bottled 12 oz bottles in so long that I realize that most of mine have raised lettering and a buddy mentioned that a local competition required plain glass with no raised lettering on them.  I don't want to get bounced before I even get my swill tasted!
Just a suggestion from someone who has run a first round competition and a few others, spend a few bucks on a six pack or two of beer that comes with some strong bottles. We are already spending a little bit on entry fees, transportation, and packaging so a few extra bucks on sturdy bottles is not out of the question. I've seen some of the previously mentioned bottles come through broken. Buy some beer for their bottles and have a chili party with beer bread.

I'll say it time and time again... why not Drew? (Vote for your vice chairman today and your beer will improve!) :)
On that note, why not Bru.... ce?    ::)

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: February 11, 2014, 10:00:05 PM »
Yes we did.  One week early.  800 paid but looks like we have a few folks that won't be sending their stuff in for various reasons.   :'(

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Carbonation and perceived bitterness
« on: February 10, 2014, 04:31:57 PM »
Carbonation will amplify the components and change the perception in any case.  Try this with a commercial mead (carbonate half the bottle, compare it to the other still half) or cider (open one bottle and let it go flat, compare it to an unopened bottle) as well. 

I make a jalapeno ale every year for two local beer festivals (  When I taste the uncarbonated beer in the hydrometer the pepper and heat are more dominant.  If I carbonate it to 2.5 vols then I get more of the smoked malts and even some cascade flavor.  Pepper and heat is still there but much more subtle. 

Temperature also plays a role.  Try this with your wife.  Put the same bitter in two soda bottles and carbonate them.  Put one soda bottle in the fridge, leave the other one at room temp.  Once the one bottle has cooled pour them into two glasses and see what she says.  Then tell her it's the same beer, just at different temps.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: fixing diacetyl in keg?
« on: February 10, 2014, 04:05:27 PM »
Here is a link to a good article on White Lab's site regarding diacetyl -

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: please help.
« on: February 10, 2014, 03:56:30 PM »
If memory serves some experienced the same issue (including myself) when the app was first released.  I recall the resolution being deleting the app and re-installing it.  Log in and all should be good from there.

Homebrew Competitions / Re: Fifth Annual Midwinter Home Brew Competition
« on: January 31, 2014, 01:08:19 PM »
Registration is filling up fast.  Looks like we'll be hitting our limit prior to the Feb 8th cutoff date.  If you're thinking of registering don't wait longer than this weekend.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Fundraiser Question
« on: January 14, 2014, 12:21:00 PM »
Actually, we recently got invited to do a joint tasting with a brewery as a fund raiser. That should help us a lot.
That's awesome!  The homebrew will add some character to the event and the brewery won't have to supply all of the beer.  Win-win!  Just be prepared in case your beer is better than the breweries.  That happened at a fest I was pouring at a couple of years ago.  We had a Watermelon Wheat that people were lined up to get.  The brewery next to us also had a Watermelon Wheat but had very few takers.   ::)

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Home-brew Club Manhiem/Lancaster, PA?
« on: January 05, 2014, 09:07:36 PM »
Hi Steve,

Have you tried the Find A Homebrew Club page on the AHA website?  I didn't see any listed for Manhiem or Lancaster specifically but you might find something close to where you're at.

Good luck!

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