I got 3rd place!

No, I did not place 3rd in a running race… what the heck do you think I placed third in?

MyAmerican IPA (India Pale Ale) placed third in its category at the first Rapid City Bierborse Homebrew Competition this weekend. I am especially proud because it is my own recipe (I must admit that I used a pale ale recipe to start with and then I upped the hop and malt to make it an IPA).  Indeed, this IPA was the very first all-grain beer I ever brewed. 

IPAs are a very popular style of beer- so even placing in such a category is something to be proud of.

I won’t go through at describe in detail every step I took in brewing this batch, but my ingredients list was as follows:

  • 10 lbs Pale 2-row malt
  • 1/2 lb Crystal malt
  • 1/2 lb Cara-pils
  • 1 lb light dry malt extract (OK I lied this was a mostly  but not a 100% all-grain recipe, I did end up adding some  malt extract to increase the gravity ie to increase the alcohol)
  • 1/2 lb corn sugar (I had some extra lying around I wasn’t using for carbonating- so I threw it in for good measure too. What the heck: more sugar  = more alcohol).
  • 0.75 oz Columbus bittering hop (60 min)
  • 1 oz Amarillo bittering hop (20 min)
  • 1 oz Amarillo aroma hop (2 min)
  • 1 oz Amarillo dry hop (7 days)

I used Amarillo hops (pronounced Am-uh-ree-yoh– as in the Spanish word for yellow- not like the city in Texas) to provide the distinct citrus-grapefruit-rind aroma and bitterness that IPAs are known for.

The original gravity was 1.072. The final was 1.020. The ABV was 6.8% .  ABV stand for “alcohol-by-volume” for you non-brewers reading this.

When I heard my name called, I was standing at the back of the crowd talking with friends. I was so surprised I had to push myself to get through the crowd to go up on the stage and pick up my ribbon. It was my very first all-grain (well, almost but not quite all-grain) that I ever brewed.

After 20 years of on-again, off-again homebrewing, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. Friends have told me for years I should enter my beers into a competition to see how I would do.

I never did, because, well competition doesn’t interest me much. I enjoy creating and tweaking recipes, brewing beer and tasting  the end result- and my friends enjoy helping me out in consuming it.

Isn’t that all that matters?

Nevertheless, I admit it was really fun to win a ribbon. It was actually third place from first in the categroyr. When I run, I consider myself to be doing really well when finishing third from dead last!

I wish you could taste and smell this- it is delicious!



2 responses

  1. Congratulations!!!! It is nice to win a ribbon, but I do think that the other stuff, the creativity, the thought process and the comraderie are the “good Stuff”

    I’ve missed seeing your writing.
    I know I am a broken record, but I do hope you have been doing some running here and there. I’m still not running post surgery, but…it’s looking likely that I’ll be able to soon….

    October 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I wonder if anyone even reads this, so it means a lot to me to see that you are.

      I have several posts that need to be written- if only I can find the time. September has been extremely busy with traveling and lecturing.

      I paced a friend to his first 100 mile finish at Lean Horse this August. Despite not running more than 10 miles at any one time since February I somehow paced him 45 miles until I was sure he was going to make it. Whenever I began to feel tired, I remembered how bad I felt at that point in the race. I knew that Alan must have felt at least as bad- so I kept going. I did not quit on him.

      I believe that It was destined that last year’s last place 100 mile finisher (me!) would be the one to crew and pace this year’s last place 100 mile finisher (my friend Alan!). I am so proud of him. Pacing and crewing someone to their first 100 mile finish is almost as gratifying as doing it yourself.

      I am soon to catch a flight to Pennsylvania for a 50 mile race this weekend with Tim, Chris’s brother. It will be the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50. I haven’t run much. Thus even despite going 45 miles at Lean Horse, I doubt that I will be able to do the entire 50 miles under final cut-off. I’ve done 50 miles in under 12 hours before several times… I just don’t think it is realistic for me to think I can do it now with minimal training.

      But that is not why I’m going.

      If I can at least make it to the first cut-off at mile 25, that will be good enough. I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else. If I’m having a good day, well, then absolutely I’ll keep going.

      Maybe I’ll surprise myself?

      Rest, heal and recover well from your surgery. I will start writing some more soon. I promise.



      October 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

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