I can’t believe I hadn’t blogged this yet…
Back in November 2009 I entered the Knickerbocker Battle of the Brews. It was my first homebrew competition, and I was mainly entering to get feedback on some of my beer other than my friends and family telling me “it’s good, I like it”.
I entered two beers I had handy at home. One was an English Pale that I knew was a bit off and wanted to see what the judges thought of the flavors, and the other was the Imperial Honey Amber that I was really happy with. I was on the fence whether to enter the honey as a specialty beer or a braggot, but settled on specialty as there was a bit more malt than honey in it.
Come the day of the judging, I stopped by at the posted time for the award ceremony and the place was oddly dead. There were a few groups of people still milling about and chatting, but it looked like they were packing up for the day. I walked over to one of the organizers and asked what the deal was… Apparently they finished the judging early and just wanted to get the hell out of there! Fair enough. I can’t blame them, though next time I think I’ll camp out on location for the day.
Anyway, I gave them my name and one guy repeated it and asked me “Didn’t you win an award?” That took me by surprise, and I replied “I don’t know! I just got here. You tell me!” they looked through the many remaining judging folders (I guess being mailed back to non-local competitors) and pulled my folder. Sure enough, my Imperial Honey Amber took 1st Place in its category (Specialty Beer)!!!
I was quite shocked, and think I smiled for the rest of the evening. The judging comments were great – objective, critical, and praising all in one. Best judge comment: “I would pay good money for a beer like this!”
The English Pale Ale didn’t do as well, but I got good feedback. Consistent feedback of mild acetone notes. Ah well. I’ll be able to put all their feedback to good use, and that was the whole point of the exercise. Winning was a bonus!
The Imperial Honey Amber will be the first of several beers I’ll be regularly brewing to come to a consistent recipe.