This was my first year entering the National Homebrew Competition (Chicago, IL judging site), and I did so with my Golden Ale in Category 8 (English Pale Ale) and my Burton Ale in Category 22 (Strong Ale). Happily one of those two beers, my Burton Ale, has made it through to the final round with a second place finish in the Strong Ale category.
I figured that beer had the best shot out of the two I entered, though I initially wasn’t sure where to place it based on the category constraints. I went with 22B, British Strong Ale, as it had the most wiggle room with some of the criteria I thought was a little more out of line with the available options. I’m about due to brew it again, and though I’m keeping the general concept the same – minimal grain bill with a long boil to develop the character and quite a high bittering rate for an English beer – I’m reducing the amount of Brown malt a little and adding in one of my new favourite grains, Golden Naked Oats.
The one slightly concerning aspect about the results I’ve seen is that Category 8, where I entered my Golden Ale, only had a 1st place finisher and the rest of the 14 entries not scoring high enough to advance to the next round! That could just mean that the judges didn’t view my beer as to-style enough, or I could have had a bottling problem. I’ll know more when I get the score sheet back, but whatever the case I still really enjoy that beer and am about to rebrew it to have on tap for Club Night at the conference!
Side Note: Unfortunately, it seems I forgot to select my club. Oops! I’ve corrected that to make sure that the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild is properly credited for the big show.