Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Big Dipper IPA | Competition Beer

I haven't been brewing a whole lot lately, but I have a few small things to share.  I made an IPA with my friends Adam and Lewy a few weeks back that's ready to drink for the first time tonight.  So I'm sipping on a taster and posting for the first time this calendar year.

Big Dipper IPA
It came out amber, hazy (despite using gelatin) and danky in the nose with a nice cream-colored head that lingers for about 2 minutes.  The Simcoe and Centennial dry hops are pretty assertive in the nose.  It comes in hoppy and pretty dry when tasted, with a little hint of astringency in the final taste.  I get plenty of fruit and malt-forward flavors and even though it doesn't finish perfectly clean it leaves a nice hop residue flavor on the tongue.  This was my first time using Denny's Favorite 50, a yeast that's supposed to be a good all-around yeast and accentuate a lot of the fruit and malt character without being too sweet.  It seems to do as advertised, but it doesn't mute the hops like I expected it would.  I've heard that it's the same as Brewtek's CL-50, a yeast that you can't still acquire otherwise.  As for the name, well, when I go thru hiking with Adam we always go to new and different places.  We've done the whole John Muir Trail, high country in Zion, and the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.  Every hike has different scenery and experiences, but one thing is always constant.  Adam has to find a body of water and dip himself in it.  Without showers and with days worth of sweat and dirt clinging to you, conditions are ripe for a nasty case of jock itch.  Hence the name, Big Dipper IPA.

I want to give a big thank you to Jeff from Bikes, Beer, and Adventures (Oxford comma, really Jeff??) for inviting me to be one of a few lucky tasters at his Brett tasting session at KnB Wine Cellars a few weeks back.  Jeff put some serious time into brewing and cataloging a bunch of new Brett strains and I felt honored to be included.  Looking back I realize that the quality of my tasting observations deteriorated pretty significantly after the first six or seven tasters-sorry-I'm just happy to have been a part of it.  You can (and should) read more about it here.

This past week I signed up for San Diego's biggest homebrew competition (the America's Finest City or AFC).  I'll be judging and entering both competitions.  My Nordic Porter is the only beer I have in bottles worth submitting and I'll be entering the same beer to the National Homebrew Competition early next month.  I'm hoping for success with a beer that I put a lot of thought into and took some serious time to brew.  It came out clean and dark with almost no real yeast character and a nice even helping of dark roasty goodness.  The hops are muted properly, the ABV is right on and it drinks way too well.  Hopefully the judges agree.


  1. You're the first person to call me out on the Oxford comma - funny.

    Glad you enjoyed the tasting and totally agree that 20 tasters was way too many for 1 session. I'm just not sure how else to try to coordinate back to back days. Well we have a few more months to figure it out.

    Good luck in your comps. None for me this year. Just not enough time to put the work into it.

    1. I was amazed that you were able to put something so complex together so seamlessly and I was ecstatic to try them all. Were there any strains that you're sure you want to use for larger single batches in the future?

    2. Yep, I finally posted the compiled results. More brewing will happen shortly - probably a couple very hoppy batches.


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