By way of a follow up to my Saufbruder / Homebrew Expo post, one of the earlier iterations of that beer was entered into the Welsh National Homebrew Competition 2017. It placed bronze in the Amber Beer category and the judging notes provided me with some much needed critical feedback.
This Munich Kellerbier was brewed in January 2017 and a portion for entry in the competition was conditioned in the fridge in a demijohn with some dry hops for a few months before bottling.
I went with a fairly simple grain bill with some Munich and Melanoiden Malt to give it more malt character.
I used Bohemian floor malted pilsner malt and my efficiency was a lot higher than the recipe worked out as I mashed for longer than the 60 minutes I had planned on. I ended up with a OG of 1052 and landed on a FG of 1004 – giving an ABV of about 6.3%! Thankfully the balance with the hops was just about right although it was undeniably a big beer.
I kegged the majority of the finished beer but I could not bottle from keg, so to bottle the entries, I had reserved some for fridge conditioning with a few grams of the same hops used for bittering in a demijohn.
I bottled used carbonation drops which resulted in quite a high carbonation in the bottles for it to be appropriate to style.
I packaged the entries and waited nervously for the results.
On the night of the results, I logged onto the scores and could not believe that it was scored a 35 and 31 by the two judges and had come in third place in Amber Beers.
The comments definitely reflected the reality of how the beer was brewed and how it ended up:
“Nice bread / grain flavour”
“Nice refreshing flavour, with good balance of grainy malt and floral hop”
“Carbonation a little high for style. Crisp finish as expected”
“Some good malt and the citrus hops work okay, but perhaps too much alcohol”
“More alcohol warmth than expected”
So all things considered the judging was spot on: I’d overshot my gravity, the dry hops had extracted some citrus notes and the beer was not carbonated to style and these flaws were obviously noticeable. However, the feedback also showed that this didn’t detract from this being a good beer that with some minor adjustments / keeping on track it would have resulted in a higher score.
A lesson in learning to stick to the original plan!
Style: Munich Helles (Kellerbier)
TYPE: All Grain
Boil Size: 32.60 l
Post Boil Volume: 27.60 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 23.00 l
Bottling Volume: 21.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.055 SG
Estimated Color: 9.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 19.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.10 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
5.00 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (3.9 EBC) 90.1 %
0.35 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) 6.3 %
0.20 kg Melanoiden Malt (39.4 EBC) 3.6 %
52.73 g Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] – 19.2 IBUs
0.40 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)
1.0 pkg Southern German Lager (White Labs #WLP83)
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.55 kg
Mash In Add 15.97 l of water at 75.6 C 66.7 C 60 min
Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (6.64l, 17.05l) of 75.6 C water