After the previous batch ended up on the floor of the freezer, we re-brewed the Use-it-up Stout last month. This time we’ll call it English Stout, because we had used up all the old Maris Otter malt and had to buy more. Now that we’ve been able to sample all five gallons we think it turned out very well.
This time we also entered it in a local homebrew competition in the American Stout category (13E) and it received a mediocre score. We believe this was for three reasons:
- It was brewed about 25 days before the competition and did not have sufficient time to carbonate correctly, despite having been shaken at 30psi and then left at 16psi @ 40F for a day or two. When bottled for competition the beer was almost flat. Unfortunately, a week later it was correctly carbonated.
- The beer is best after about 4 to 5 weeks of aging, so the beer we sent to the competition was still too green and the flavors had not mellowed enough.
- American Stout was probably the wrong category for this beer, and it was docked points for not being to style. Unfortunately, we’re not sure what category it does belong in, but re-reading the style guidelines, it may fit better in the Foreign Extra Stout category. We’re not sure why we didn’t pick that category in the first place.
So if you’re going to enter a competition, do your research and pick the right category. Also, know when your beer is at its prime, and make that the time when the judges crack the bottle open.