When I brewed the Untitled Pale Ale (since titled Vienna Pale), its purpose was to be entered into the Bluff Country Co-Op’s homebrew contest. I had used a new strain of yeast, and a new style of grain bill. I probably should have done something a little more tested, since the beer hit 76 degrees at its peak Krausen, much higher than it should have. Once I noticed this, I quickly brought the carboy into the basement to cool down, but that damage was done. Once it was done, there was some bad off-flavors that I tried to mask with a couple of ounces of Citra for dry-hopping. No go. This one needed time, and after a month or so, I’d decide if it was salvageable. Needless to say I didn’t enter it.

I feel that it is just now¬† starting to be a drinkable beer. The off flavors are dying off, and it’s starting to be almost enjoyable. It’s about half gone, so I’ll continue to ‘sample’ it, and pawn it off to any willing testers. I am still really interested in the idea of using Vienna as a base malt, especially since I enjoy the bready, malty base that the beer has. I’ll just use a yeast I am more experienced with, and keep an eye on temperature a bit more.

The beers that Jeff and I made up at the Blue Heron a couple of weeks back are done. I haven’t checked gravities yet, but they were both pretty much settled after about 5 days. The wheat will get dry hopped a bit, and the extract pale ale may as well, depending on how I like the sample I draw. I’m excited at the thought of doing something similar like this again, and am very pleased with how things have turned out. They will be served at April’s homebrew club night, and I’ll bottle some up to give to our gracious hosts for the evening.

So the UPA was a bust, and I needed to enter something into the homebrew contest. My double IPA was a bit past its prime, the hop aroma was fading, replaced by a nice floral honey aroma. It was starting to taste a little thin, but I bottled up the last two bottles from the keg and sent them off. Also, I had batch #3 of the Rye IPA on tap, but it was a bit young, and wasn’t dry hopped, so it was missing that initial punch of Amarillo nose. But I entered it anyway. I didn’t get first place, but I got second (and third)! The double IPA placed, with the comments telling what I had known, and the Rye was right behind it in 3rd. So I got my first award, a spiffy ribbon, and a co-op gift card. Not bad! I’m proud of both beers, even if they weren’t (to me) at optimum condition at the time of entry.

Next brew will likely be the Black IPA. It’s been too long!