January Fruits & Veg Competition meeting recap

Our brewing competitions are really picking up steam. Last night our sixth competition took place – a creative assignment around using fruits or vegetables in your beer. Eleven competing beers made it to the table and the level of creativity and quality was really inspiring. Also we have amassed a large group which made seating a bit of a challenge. As always we’d like to thank all of the brewers and attendees for being with us.

The goal of this competition was to brew a beer around the theme fruits or vegetables. The scoring used the BJCP scoring system.

Because of the creative freedom we agreed to use the fruit beer description as a basis. The beer needed to showcase the fruits or vegetables that were used, does it play well with the base beer, and is it still recognisable as a beer? It’s all about balance.

We also piloted a voting app developed by Karl and Pete had set up Google scoring sheets. Thank you both for your efforts on improving the score system.

This is a list of the beers entered in order of competing.

First was Pete with a Berliner Weisse flavoured with raspberry,passion fruit, peach, and hibiscus. Instead of kettle souring the beer he pitched the lactobacillus to the final beer. The result was a really soft and easy drinking beer that was bursting with fruity flavours. We were off to a great start.

Second was Rob with his Peach Lichtenhainer. I believe it was also the first time someone took this style; a German smoked sour beer. And we believe he has nailed it; the balance between the smoke and sourness was excellent! The peach was definitely there but perhaps muted between the other bold flavours. Another great entry.

Third was Erwin, he brought a beer inspired on the margarita cocktail. The base was a Gose, a German salted sour beer with some coriander seed added to late boil. He also added some sweet orange peel to the late boil to replace the Cointreau. The limes were chopped up in a blender, soaked in tequila, and added to the beer post-cool crash. To drive the whole concept home some tequila extract was added. A crazy beer that really captured the margarita flavor well – or as he put it ‘it tastes of bad decisions and hangovers’.

Next up was Tom. Tom took a raspberry Berliner Weisse as a basis and decided to amplify all of it qualities. He added lactose to the boil and the fermenter to offset the sourness from the lactobacillus and the generous amount of raspberries. This balance between fruit, sweetness and acidity gave the impression of drinking a raspberry sorbet. This beer was right up there with the best of Omnipollo or To Øl beers. A very impressive beer.

Paul brought his Saison de Apricot – and indeed it was a saison flavoured with biological apricots. It was a great saison that had some apricots – but perhaps it could have had a bit more. A welcome change of pace after some sours. We also learned that he is entering this saison as a basis to pitch Brettanomyces. We can’t wait what this beer will turn into.

Oscar brought another Foebar premiere; an Italian Grape Ale. It was a saison that had both grape juice and grape must added. It ended up really nice and dry, while the grape was subtle but definitely noticeable. The carbonation was also quite high which made it very easy drinking beer indeed. Another great entry.

Erik could unfortunately not make it to the meeting, but he sent in his Thai Saisoon for us to sample. If we had to describe the beer in short it would be a thai curry beer: coriander seeds, cumin, ginger, peppers, kaffir lime, rice and.. coconut milk. The kaffir lime dominated slightly and there was a definitive burn on the palette – top marks for creativity and executing on this crazy idea.

Another exotic entry came from Jeremy. He brought a coconut IPA for us to sample. The coconut was really present in the aroma and flavour of this beer. It kind of dominated the hop flavours – but it was still a very enjoyable beer.

Rodrigo and Jorge brought the other IPA this evening; a passion fruit IPA. In the past they have brewed this beer before so it’s a bit of staple in their recipes. And for a reason, passion fruit and IPAs are a natural match. They admitted that the beer was a bit older – so we can’t wait for a fresh batch in our future meetings.

Sacha brought a English pumpkin ale. A heavily spiced pumpkin ale brewed with English Old Ale yeast. It tasted very seasonal – with spiced like cinnamon. We’ve learned in our second competition that it is very hard to get pumpkin flavours in your beer – but Sacha managed super well. Nice!

The last beer was Tessa’s – a collaboration with Tom on a Pumpkin ale. The beer was big in every aspect. It was sweet and warming, with hints of wood and bourbon. This is the kind of beer you can have near the fireplace and sip on.

At the end of the evening we all agreed that the level of beers this time was exceptionally high. Both in quality but also in creativity and diversity. Pete’s clever google docs solution gave us the following top 5:

– 5: Sacha with English Pumpkin Ale 
– 4: Erwin with Margarita Gose 
– 3: Tessa with Pumpkin Ale

– 2: Pete with Raspberry, Passion Fruit, Peach, and Hibiscus Berliner Weisse.
– 1: Tom with Imperial Pasty Raspberry Berliner Weisse

Tom’s beer was a real standout beer scoring over 40 points. We want to congratulate Tom on brewing this exceptional beer – well done!

Our next homebrew competition will take place in April. It will be more tightly defined assignment. We’ve decided to go for a lager theme. You can enter any beer that is traditionally brewed with a bottom-fermented strain. Think of Pilsners, Bock bier, Schwarzbier, Baltic porter etc. The website will soon be updated with more information. We hope to see many entries for this competition.

Our next regular meeting is 11 February. As always we are open to all. You don’t need to brew or have brewing knowledge to join us.

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