Our favorite local beer bar, The Ruck, is holding an Extreme Brewing Contest limited to 6 pre-determined beer styles. I love this format. It keeps the judges focused, and it forces some real creativity on the parts of the entrants.My brewing partners and I decided to attack the full six-pack, with three recipes created and brewed jointly, and three individually, as such:Black IPA – Joint brew
Platinum – Joint brew
Rye – Jeff
Ahtanum – Joint brew
Funky fermentables – Angelos
Fruit & spice – BillBill and I decided to brew our individual beers together for the company, the extra hands, the fun.I’ve had success in the past with honey and syrup as non-grain fermentables, so for the past week or so had been toying with ideas along those lines. Since the beers will be judged in June, I figured a nice Honey Wheat or other warm-weather beer would be perfect. With a twist or two of course; you know, to be EXTREME! Then Friday night I get a text from Bill, saying Marion has suggested a potato beer. At first I dismissed the thought, but that may be because I had no idea where to begin and I was out at a bar with a pretty girl waiting for Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds to melt my face with sexy sexiness.I thought about potato beer a bit more that night, did a little googling the next morning, and sure enough I was on a whole new path.No seriously… watch this and tell me you’re not office-dancing, fool!Damn that was a great show at the Putnam Den.
Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, homebrew. Some Saturday morning research over coffee led to me sweet potatoes, and the style I picked was saison. A little noodling around in Beer Tools, and off to the supply shop (and the grocery store!) for ingredients. Bill went with a wheat with various fruits and spices that I’m sure he will blog about at some point.The brew day went smoothly, if a bit slowly. I guess we weren’t feeling rushed, so there was no sense of urgency.My wort tasted so good going into into the boil pot I commented “I don’t even want to ferment this, I just want to drink 7 gallons of sugar-water.” The saison base was accurate, and the sweet potatoes added a fantastic creaminess and sweetness. Can’t wait to see what the yeast adds. And speaking of yeast, I want this to be a dry beer, so in addition to adding yeast nutrient to kick-start fermentation, I will be racking this to secondary over champagne yeast as well. Sugar-be-gone, I say!
Bill’s ingredient-prep was a bit more tedious than mine, but the wonderful smells with which he filled the house made the effort worth it. Corriander, cloves, oranges, and who knows what else? That and a huge grain bill should result in quite an interesting wheat.We left the Rye to Jeff, because he’s brewed those at least a 1/2 dozen times, and had made some outstanding ones. It can be a tought grain to work with, so we’ll leave that to the expert.The Black IPA, I can’t wait to try again. Two years ago Bill and I brewed a Black IPA based on one of Jeff’s standard IPA recipes, and we won our category plus took 3rd Best in Show at the big local brewing competition. That’s a feather in all our caps, so it only makes sense this one should be a collaboration as well.We’ve never made a beer as light as the specs for the Platinum require, and we’ve never used the Ahtanum hop, so those will be first-time creation for all of us. I look forward to it.