I have until Friday to decide whether I'm going to enter a beer into the Bristol Beer Factory homebrew challenge. With that in mind I cracked open a bottle of my American Brown, to see how it was coming along.
Immediate hopes were dashed, as it's not quite what I had envisaged - but I shouldn't be surprised as that's mainly down to me being lazy. With my homebrew I aim for style, but if the starting gravity is a bit out, I tend not to bother liquoring back. Too much of a faff and all that.
But clearly, If I've taken the trouble to design a recipe with a certain gravity/hop ratio I should have bothered. Especially if I want a competition winning beer.
The problem came about as I adjusted the setting on the mill which increased my efficiency by some margin. Instead of the anticipated gravity of 1.051, I ended up with 1.056. The upshot is that all the American hops I put in have got a little lost.
On the upside, that's only MY impression, as I'm the only person who knew what I originally intended. The beer itself is good, really good.
Almost black, the beer has a lovely soft mouthfeel and the blend of malts have worked really well. I used up some malt that had been hanging around a while, so the grist consisted of pale, crystal, Munich, chocolate and Belgian aromatic malts. If I'd not overdone the gravity, the combination of hops would have shone through better, but there's still a nice low level of bitterness with a hint of sherbet lemon coming through.
So the upshot is, I'm going to enter it. It might not be good enough to win, but you never know what the judges are looking for and it's definitely an acceptable beer.
Sorry there's no picture, but it's an easy-drinker that hides it's alcohol level well, so it didn't last long. Maybe next time.