February meeting recap (Mannenliefde competition)

I blame my busy schedule for missing a few meeting recaps – mea culpa! I will try to do better in the future.

Our February meeting was all about our third homebrew competition. Foebar organises a homebrew competition every 3 months, and we try to alternate between a strictly defined brewing task and a creative task with artistic freedome. For this month we had a very specific task: clone Amsterdam craft classic Oedipus Mannenliefde.

We were very proud to host Sander, the head brewer at Oedipus. He told us the origin story of Mannenliefde and even took some very early homebrewed samples with him. We asked him what defines Mannenliefde, and in effect what defines a good clone. According to Sander the key lies in finding a good balance between the use of spices (szechuan pepper and lemon grass), the hop bitterness and profile, that should be a bit Sorachi Ace forward, and the profile of the saison yeast.

Because Sander was our guest of honor we decided to evaluate on a 50/50 weight between Sander’s score and the other homebrewers. If we got to a situation in which two beers scored the same weighted score, Sander would have the tie-breaker vote on the winner.

With that in mind we started with sampling some commercial bottles of Mannenliefde to calibrate our pallettes. Next we started to sample our entrees to the competition. We had a pretty good turn-out with 7 beers competing. Some were really faithful renditions of the original, some were a more creative take on the original (yes, I’m looking at you Paul!). It did become kind of difficult to score the beers against eachother – and the further away we got from drinking the original the harder it got to remember how close the brewer got to a perfect clone.

After sampling all the beers it was time to give share our scores. We started with the Foebar attendants votes. At the end of the vote there was a close competition between three of our brewers. When we asked Sander to share his vote this changed and we got a clear winner.

The winner of the third Foebar homebrew competition, clone Oedipus Mannenliefde, is …. Karl! Congratulations Karl on besting us at brewing. Please enjoy your eternal fame, or at least until we forget about this / the next competition happens. Karl got the closest to finding the balance that Sander described, hops, yeast, and spices. Congratulations on brewing a great clone beer and high praises from a professional brewer.

I would also like to thank all other competitors. Sander mentioned that he was impressed with the level of entrants. Hopefully we will see many entrants for our next homebrew competition in June. The assignment for the competition is Brettanomyces, please read more here.

Our next meeting is 12 March – and we will celebrate our 1 year anniversary! Our first meeting, before Foebar was Foebar, was a homebrewers get-together organised by Yuri. Looking back we have come a long way in such a short time. I hope you will all join the celebration. It would be great if you can find some dusty unlabeled bottles, or other crazy brewing oddities with you on this evening.

As always we are open to all. A lot of people that show interest in our events on Facebook never make it to our meetings. Even if you don’t brew beer, or are not very knowledgeable about beer you are very much welcome to join us. What better time than our anniversary?

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