Category Archives: Education

Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) – Getting Ready for New 2014 Guidelines

There are some major changes coming with the release of the 2014 BJCP Guidelines.   Are you ready for them?  How will they impact how you brew?  Here are some links that can help you prepare for 2015 if the competition choses to use them.


Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) – For Updates

2014 BJCP Style Guidelines Presentation by Gordon Strong at NHC 2014

Draft Version (NOT for Competition Use) of 2014 BJCP Style Guidelines

These links should help you prepare for the new measuring stick that will be used to judge our beers.

Brew Hard!
Brew Hard
Dave’s Dreaded

Make brewing 10 Gallons of a Big Beer with a Big Grain Bill Easy


This past weekend I made my Dreaded English Barleywine.  This is the second time I have made this beer and I wanted to do use all grain for the base malt.  The first time I made it I substituted 7 pound of DME to make the mash easier.   Do not get me wrong as the beer turned out great but I had no control over how the 7 pounds of DME was made from a mouth feel perspective.

So here is the grain bill for the 100% all-grain version of this mammoth beer (1.105 OG)

  • 44 pounds of Pale Malt (2-row)
  • 2 pounds of Munich Malt
  • 1 pound of Crystal 80
  • .008 pound of Chocolate Malt

There are a few problems with mashing over 47 pounds of grain in a 15 gallon keg.

  1. Your efficiencies drop like a rock
  2. Your arms feel like they are going to fall off by the end of them mash
  3. It is very hard to control the mash temperature with that much mass in your mash

So I decided to do separate mashes to overcome the problems above.  So the next decision is what do I do with the mash?  How do I split it up?

MASH 1 – Base Malt

I made the decision to split the base malt down the middle which made 1 mash 22 pounds of base malt.   My temperature I shout for was 156 degrees to give this barleywine the mouth feel I was shooting for from past comments from judging.   Usually I mash for 90 minutes no matter what but with the long brew day ahead (my Barleywine and Josanna’s RIS – Same issue with grain bill) I only mashed for 60 minutes at 156.   Everything converted and I was very happy with the turnout.  Now how much of the wort do it take with the sparge?  I decided to take 6 gallons (1/2 of my total pre-boil volume).   When I stopped the sparge I was sill pulling a 16 brix (at 1.064 OG) beer.  I left the wort to rest in the boil kettle for round 2.

Mash 2 – Specialty and Base Malt

As above in Mash 1 I had 22 pound of base malt but I made the decision to keep all the specialty grains in a single mash.  I did this based on I wanted to make sure I get the equal extraction of the specialty grains in one mash.  I went through the same process in Mash 1 with a very successful mash 2.  Again I stopped pulling wort from sparge when I reached my pre-boil volume of 12 gallons as was still pulling a 16 brix (1.064 OG) beer.

The rest of the brew was the normal boil, hops additions, chilling and pitching yeast.  I did get an original gravity of 1.108.  The flavor of the beer was spot on for the specialty malts and the mouth feel was what I was looking to get for a unfermented wort.

My only regret is I did not have the time or the energy (as Josanna did the same above process for her 10 gallon RIS) to take the spent grain and do a second runnings.  I think that could have been a nice beer.

I hope this helps you make a Big 10 Gallon Beer easier for you the next time you do it.  I will be posting my “Dreaded English Barleywine” recipe for you to try.

Brew Hard!
Dave’s Dreaded

How to Bottle your Homebrew Using a Counter-pressure Filler

How to Bottle

In the post from Mike Roszkowski on  “How to enter your first competition” he provided a great outline on how to enter a homebrew competition.  Towards the end of the post Mike comments – If you’re bottling from a keg, use a counter-flow filler or a “Beer-gun” that allows you to purge the bottles with co2—keeps your tasty beers from oxidizing.  Fill your bottles as much as possible so you don’t have a ton of head space to lose your carbonation into.

If you are bottling your beer from a keg there are 3 options you have to get your hand crafted been into those brown bottles.

  1. Picnic Tap
  2. Counter-pressure bottle filler (counter-flow filler)
  3. Beer-gun

All will get the job done but the first options leaves way to many avenues to for PROBLEM.  Now if you are just doing a quick bottle to share with friends later that night or weekend the Picnic Tap is the way to go.  While drinking a few beers with Mike we have had discussion around providing more education on how to bottle you beers from a keg.  I had done this video around Bottling your beer for competition using a counter-pressure bottle filler.  This video walks  you though the steps of using the counter-pressure bottle filler as we prepare for the Bluebonnet Brew-off, British Beer Festival and the AHA Nationals.  Not show in the video is cleaning and sanitizing your bottles ( this will be a video in itself).

In the episode of Dave’s Dreaded TV shows you How to Bottle your homebrew using a Counter-pressure Filler.

I hope you enjoy this video and hope you learn a few tips and tricks on making your bottling easier.   I will be working with Mike Roszkowski on providing a “How to Bottle your Homebrew using a Beer-Gun” and other education videos.

Brew Hard!
Dave’s Dreaded

Beer Style of the Day – Category 14 — India Pale Ale / 14A. English IPA

One if my favorite beer styles is English IPA. I love the balance of malt and hops in this beer. I like to mash my version of this beer at 150 to 152 degrees to give my version a medium light bodied beer. I like to use Fuggles and Goldings. These are two of my favorite English style hops hat give you the balanced IPA. If well made this English brother of the big American IPAs can stand up very well in competitions.

Below is the BJCP guidelines for a English IPA

14A: English IPA

Aroma: A moderate to moderately high hop aroma of floral, earthy or fruity nature is typical, although the intensity of hop character is usually lower than American versions. A slightly grassy dry-hop aroma is acceptable, but not required. A moderate caramel-like or toasty malt presence is common. Low to moderate fruitiness, either from esters or hops, can be present. Some versions may have a sulfury note, although this character is not mandatory.

Appearance: Color ranges from golden amber to light copper, but most are pale to medium amber with an orange-ish tint. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Good head stand with off-white color should persist.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the aroma (floral, earthy, fruity, and/or slightly grassy). Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium-high, but should be noticeable, pleasant, and support the hop aspect. The malt should show an English character and be somewhat bready, biscuit-like, toasty, toffee-like and/or caramelly. Despite the substantial hop character typical of these beers, sufficient malt flavor, body and complexity to support the hops will provide the best balance. Very low levels of diacetyl are acceptable, and fruitiness from the fermentation or hops adds to the overall complexity. Finish is medium to dry, and bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. If high sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Oak is inappropriate in this style.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel without hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation in the presence of malt sweetness. Some smooth alcohol warming can and should be sensed in stronger (but not all) versions.

Overall Impression: A hoppy, moderately strong pale ale that features characteristics consistent with the use of English malt, hops and yeast. Has less hop character and a more pronounced malt flavor than American versions.

Comments: A pale ale brewed to an increased gravity and hop rate. Modern versions of English IPAs generally pale in comparison (pun intended) to their ancestors. The term “IPA” is loosely applied in commercial English beers today, and has been (incorrectly) used in beers below 4% ABV. Generally will have more finish hops and less fruitiness and/or caramel than English pale ales and bitters. Fresher versions will obviously have a more significant finishing hop character.

History: Brewed to survive the voyage from England to India. The temperature extremes and rolling of the seas resulted in a highly attenuated beer upon arrival. English pale ales were derived from India Pale Ales.

Ingredients: Pale ale malt (well-modified and suitable for single-temperature infusion mashing); English hops; English yeast that can give a fruity or sulfury/minerally profile. Refined sugar may be used in some versions. High sulfate and low carbonate water is essential to achieving a pleasant hop bitterness in authentic Burton versions, although not all examples will exhibit the strong sulfate character.

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.050 – 1.075
IBUs: 40 – 60 FG: 1.010 – 1.018
SRM: 8 – 14 ABV: 5 – 7.5%

Commercial Examples: Meantime India Pale Ale, Freeminer Trafalgar IPA, Fuller’s IPA, Ridgeway Bad Elf, Summit India Pale Ale, Samuel Smith’s India Ale, Hampshire Pride of Romsey IPA, Burton Bridge Empire IPA,Middle Ages ImPailed Ale, Goose Island IPA, Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

You can find a decription of all the Beer Styles at the BJCP web site

Brew Hard!
Dave’s Dreaded

How to enter your first competition


I wanted to share this Forum post from our NKY Homebrewers Guild Website.  Mike Roszkowski provided this post for members that will be entering their first competition.  This is very informative and can help not only just new to competiton homebrews but veteran homebrews.

Please raise a glass to Mike for this excellent information. Thanks MIke!!

How to enter your first competition By Mike Roszkowski – NKY Homebrewers Guild Member

First step is to register for a competition.  Example: (this was written for the CMI competition for our club members)

Go to this site and click “register” and fill out your info and create a login/password.  I usually use the same password for all my brew comps so I don’t have to try to remember multiples.  If you’re not an AHA member, you should sign up for that too…it’s an annual membership and allows you to get into just about every comp. Not all comps are open to non-AHA members.

Once you register at the competition site, you need to log in.  Then you’ll want to go click “Add an Entry”   Here’s where it gets interesting sometimes.

  1. Give your beer a name….”Evil Bunny” is what I name my IPA…make something fun up that you can remember.
  2. Pick the style. This is easy for some folks that are familiar with BJCP styles…it may be harder if you’re not.  I’d guess that you know what you’re brewing most of the time, so pick that category.  It only gets complicated if you have a style you need to list special ingredients for. This is only for categories 6D, 16E, 17F, 20, 21, 22B, 22C, 23, 25C, 26A, 26C, 27E, 28B-D, and all custom styles…for example when I enter my Christmas ale, I’m picking 21B for the style, but I have to list that it’s an ale with Ginger, Cinnamon, etc. in it…
  3. Click “submit entry”
  4. All the other info (recipe stuff) is optional for MOST competitions…It’ll let you know if it’s not.  I skip this. If they want my recipe they can ask later.  NHC and the club only comps almost ALWAYS require it.
  5. After you submit your entries you’ll see them listed at the bottom of the page once you log in.  For each beer you’ll have to print your entry forms and bottle labels (click the link on your list of beers).
  6. After you enter a beer or 10, you’ll need to pay for your entries.  Once you either pay via paypal (a lot of clubs offer this) or write a check to send with your entries, it’s time to prepare your bottles for entry.
  7. Most comps require 2 bottles, very few require 1 or more than 2.  You need a label on EACH bottle.  Cut the labels out from the sheets you printed and attach them to the UNMARKED, brown bottle with a couple of rubber bands.  Some folks put each label in a ziplock sandwich bag before rubber banding them so you can read which beer is which in case a bottle breaks…not a bad idea, but I rarely do that.
  8. If I’m shipping bottles I usually wrap them in bubble wrap, put them inside a padded box lined with a garbage bag, tie the bag off when done, then put my entry forms and check on top. You can ship beer by any common carrier EXCEPT the USPS.  If it’s a local competition, ask if you can “hand-carry” your entries in the day of the comp.  This is almost always allowed if you are judging or stewarding…not if you’re just entering and not helping.
  9. You’re ready to go!  Be mindful of the dates they are accepting entries…sometimes you can sign up for a comp months ahead of when they’ll allow you to ship them beer.

Some things to keep in mind.

  • Bottle beers in unmarked bottles…no labels, no writing on the caps, nothing.  12 oz. brown bottles are ALWAYS acceptable.  I know guys that put stickers on the caps lightly that they can take off once they put the competition labels on.  I actually write on my caps but use some stain remover to “erase” them after I rubber band label my bottles.
  • This is fun.  Don’t get bent out of shape if you don’t win any medals.  It doesn’t mean you make bad beer or somebody makes better beer.  Sometimes judges get palate fatigue (common with hoppy beers) and your beer gets lost in the shuffle.  Sometimes it’s all about being lucky of where in the tasting your beer ends up.  Some judges are assholes and most are awesome…don’t take a bad score personally.  Feel free to email the judge and ask if they remember your beer (if you had a flaw, they probably will) and if they have any other suggestions.
  • Drink one of your beers before you enter it…if you haven’t had one in 6 months, it may have changed considerably!
  • Plan to ship your beers early in the receiving window…you can pay for cheaper shipping and your beers will have some time to settle again after being bounced around on a truck—especially helpful for bottle conditioned beers with lots of yeast settlement.
  • If you’re bottling from a keg, use a counter-flow filler or a “Beer-gun” that allows you to purge the bottles with co2—keeps your tasty beers from oxidizing.  Fill your bottles as much as possible so you don’t have a ton of headspace to lose your carbonation into…

Brew Hard!
Dave’s Dreaded

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