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03/04/09 12:00 AM  
comp question, starter question and more
Sorry if this rambles a bit but ive got a few questions rolling around my head (and pussers rum too) and didnt want to post a whole bunch of new topics.

what do you guys do if you have a beer thats not in the bjcp guidelines for starting and/or finishing gravity? a lot of the time i'd rather make a beer a little stronger (and sometimes it is accidental) but id still like feedback. i currently have a wit, stout and saison that id like to enter in some comps but they all started too high gravity wise. can i enter them and take a hit on not being within guidelines or should i enter into a specialty category? where would you put a milk stout thats pushing 10% abv?

ive got a few starters of various dregs going and was decanting to make room for more wort to keep making more yeast and i was enjoying the smell of the stuff i was pouring out and i got to thinking that maybe it might be worth saving somehow. maybe dump it in a carboy and add to it as i decant through the year. maybe add some excess wort from a hoppy beer to keep the bugs in check a bit. or even just dump what would amount to 3/4 a gal into the the last of another beer at bottling time and blend in the bottle for the hell of it. anyone try this?

i recently have become kind of obsessed with mixing sour beers (usually geuze) with ipa and double ipas. usually 50/50. i just took a gallon of a sour wit and a double ipa and bottled it. i was thinking id let carbonate then store cold to avoid over carbing it and see how it turns out. so im wondering if anyone likes to mix those type beers and also if anyone has had any luck replicating it in the bottle?

lastly, i have been using an old hand corker to bottle belgian style bottles. its probably 10 or 20 years old and i cant seem to find anything similar. i will be bottling a lot (for me) of beer this year. probably need another 250 corked and caged bottles on top of the 100 plus i have. im worried my corker will crap out on me in the middle of a batch so i want a back up or a replacement. it seems the champagne floor corkers are sold out everywhere i look so im wondering if the normal floor corkers will do the belgian beer corks? and also are there any currently available hand held corkers that will work in a pinch?

and ive got some double magnums of russian river beers that im getting ready to pop soon and id love suggestions on reusing the bottles. thats a big cork!

Thanks for any help!


03/04/09 11:53 AM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
Well, I can try and answer a couple.

As for the competition, I say enter them into whatever style they TASTE like, not what you intended them to be. A 10% milk stout for instance, would likely not do well entered as a milk stout, but entered as a Russian imperial stout it might to quite well. You can always enter one of them as specialty beer also, stating why it's specialty (imperial wit, etc). But you will get hit if your beers aren't to style, even if they're good beers.

Gueuze and IIPA? Sounds like a weird mix to me. FWIW, one time at Toronado SD, the bartender, a couple friends and myself were trying to make the grossest blend we could think of with what they had on tap. One of the worst was Pliny blended with the Duchesse. ;-)

As for the corker, I have the red Portuguese floor corker (not champagne) and it works just fine for Belgian bottles.

You can send those Russian River ones down here, I'll give 'um a good home. :-)

03/04/09 12:23 PM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
Info overload! I'll offer a take on the first of the bunch...

>>what do you guys do if you have a beer thats not in the bjcp guidelines for starting and/or finishing gravity?<<

Drink them. The nature of competition feedback is relivant to styleistic guidelines. If brewing outside those guidelines is your choice - as it is mine - then comps are probably the wrong places to go for feedback.

>>where would you put a milk stout thats pushing 10% abv?<<

In me bellie, fat bastard that I am!!

John, what kind of feedback are you looking for? There have been a couple times I needed some, like when there is something amiss with a beer that I can't quite put my finger on. I would never go comp in that case, usually people send beer to comps if they feel they have a shot at placing. If I need feedback cause a beer is problematic then the placing has little chance of happening. I think youre better off popping one among beer friends. If youre with 3 or 4 people who know what they're talking about then likely the issue will be uncovered. You can then bring the resulting ideas to bare on your next batch.

Specialty categories arn't really for beers that miss a gravity target. I agree with tankdeer as far as enter what it tastes like.

Pliny and Duchesse - friggin' ouch!!!

03/04/09 03:30 PM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
<<Pliny and Duchesse - friggin' ouch!!!>>

You're tellin' me! ; )

03/04/09 10:47 PM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
Sorry for the info overload. i tend to be wordy and even more so when i have been drinking a LOT of rum.


the milk stout TASTES like a milk stout (thankfully) so ill see what happens in some comps.

i gotta say that the duchesse and pliny sounds not so good but pliny and say a boone mariage parfait or cantillon geuze is pretty damn yummy.

im sure youd give the russian rivers a good home but id probably no sleep well if they werent in the house. i cant seem to bring myself to open em!


being a fat bastard i will drink most of that stout. i like it and am kind of looking for objective feedback. its hard for my buddies to drink my beer and give me either honest or educated feedback. and usually by the end of the night the opinion of ANY free beer gets better and better. and even my friends who know and like good beer rate beer pretty much as i do. great, good, drinkable or hardly drinkable. its all drinkable in the right circumstances. so a refined and well expressed critique is very welcomed.

in the end im wondering if the beer i made is something others find pleasing and contests seem to be a good way of getting non biased opinions. even if it doesnt score well in a specific category feedback saying its a good beer and would have done better in whatever category still tells me its a drinkable beer. now that im trying to lose some of my fat ass and am drinking less in general and really limiting beer, comps are a good reason to keep brewing often. and one nice thing is my beer stockpile is getting much larger and it does look pretty!

03/05/09 11:22 AM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
I might have to take your word on the Pliny+expensive geuze blend. Just sounds unpleasant to me. 3 beers I enjoy very much by themselves but hard to say on a blend. Who knows, maybe you've inspired me. ; )

Anyways, there is nothing to say that you can't enter your milk stout in multiple categories. For instance,:

13B - Sweet Stout

13F - RIS

23 - Specialty beer (Enter as Imperial Milk Stout), from the guidelines, "Out-of-style variations of existing styles (e.g., low alcohol versions of other styles, extra-hoppy beers, “imperial” strength beers)"

That would at least give you 3 sets of scoresheets from judges who would are each treating the beer as something different. I've done it in the past and it's a good way to more feedback from a single comp.

John, out of curiosity which RR beers do you have in Jeroboams? I've seen Damnation floating around here and some empties of Supplication on display at various bars, can't imagine the price on the latter, must be outrageous considering the price of the 375's. :-)

Al B
03/05/09 12:39 PM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more

I've corked a Jeroboam twice..........the bottles are too tall for a floor corker, so I squeezed a champagne cork in the corker, took it out quickly and pounded the sucker into the bottle w/ a rubber mallet. Worked the first time, the second went in well, but I haven't opened it yet (no leaks). No wire cages needed, the cork was pounded flush with the bottle opening.

I've been eyeballing that bottle lately.....has a Saison in it.

03/06/09 10:30 AM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more

thanks, ill try entering it in the 3 categories. i did that with an all brett at the comp in vail and did well in 2 categories but both categories were specialty. ive got 2 damnation jeroboams (nice to know what they are called btw). i ALMOST had one of temptation and supplication back when they were bottling their second(?) bottling. it was almost like a special order thing where theyd fill on request. i waited too long and they ran out of what they alloted to ship. that was back when they shipped from the brewery. i miss those days. such a pain to get their beers now.

Thanks Al! i may try that. did you use a champagne corker or a regular floor corker?

i sent you a package yesterday. should be there next week.

Al B
03/06/09 11:05 AM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
It doesn't matter, I don't think, what kind of corker it is as long as the large chagpagne corks go in. The corks are $$, I can send you a few to try out. I don't use them too much - too big for most bottles actually.
03/06/09 12:16 PM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
Here are the various bottle sizes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_bottle#Sizes

The largest I've ever seen is a Methuselah (6 liters), which is massive.

I'm actually going to be driving up to SF for a wedding in a week. I think we're going to detour out to RR. Should be fun.

Oh yeah, FWIW they still ship to California, but usually only special releases (Ie, sour beers). So if you know somebody here, they might be able to send you something.

03/06/09 04:12 PM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
Id love to try those corks Al. Thanks!

Tank. thanks for the link. id love to have at least a magnum or larger of different batches to save for special occasions.

my wife and i are really trying to work a vacation around a visit to russian river this year. luckily i have a friend in california who lets me order and have them send it to him then he ships it or brings it to us. yummy but pricey.

tripel beam
03/10/09 12:33 AM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more

when are you going to be at RR? I'm there this weekend 3/14.

03/10/09 08:18 AM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more
im hoping to make it around the time of the nhc. its not a done deal, things are in flux at work. hope you have a blast!

ive got a bunch of rr bugs im building into a huge starter (hopefully for a barrel). i need to decant and was thinking of throwing the "starter fluid" (i like that) in a carboy and add to it when i make buggy starters. think its worth it? it smells too good to throw away. id have to add something with a bit of hops too, maybe a little ipa or something.

03/10/09 11:28 AM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more

when are you going to be at RR? I'm there this weekend 3/14. >>

Same weekend, not sure which day/time. I'll be in town Friday-Sunday AM.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I'm going to make it to NHC this year. You know -- $$$. Oh well, maybe next year.

tripel beam
03/10/09 09:23 PM  
Re: comp question, starter question and more

I'll be there around 3 or 4 on Saturday. Shoot me an email mrcwine@yahoo.com and maybe we swap a few of our own brews.


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