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Old 12-12-2012, 03:59 PM   #1
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,946
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We just had in the Metro Detroit Area an Iron Brewer Competition hosted by one of the local homebrew shops. There were 15 of 16 beers entered (sadly, one of the beers from one of our HBT members ended up on floor during a kegging leak.)

All the teams had to be setup at 9 am, at 10 am 2 ingredients were given, one "traditional" ingredient, and one "special" one. We were given 15 minutes to submit a recipe, then we had to pitch yeast by 4 pm. We submitted the beers the first week of December, they were judged last weekend, and last night there was an award ceremony, and a dinner featuring the special ingredient, and we had an opportunity to taste each others beers.

The traditional Ingredient was Australian Stella hops.
The special ingredient was Ground Fenugreek (Traditionally used in Indian Fare)

My Team Mate and I decided to do a Honey Kolsch to highlight the maple flavor of the spice. I had brought along a cast iron dutch oven and a bunch of stuff I thought might be useful depending on what the ingredient was. One of the things I have grabbed was some fresh ginger.

We decided to take some honey, the fennugreek and a thumb sized piece of ginger, sliced up, and caramelize it for about 30 minutes, then hit it with some water to dillute it (like making a bochet) and added that to the kettle at flame out. That smelled amazing.

Here's the whole recipe (10 gallon batch.)

13 lb ger wheat
1.25 lb honey
2lb white wheat

1oz au Stella 30min
.5oz au stella 5min

1lb honey
1/3 oz fenugreek powder
5-7 slices of fresh ginger

Combine honey, fenugreek, ginger with 6oz of water and lightly boil for 15 min add concoction at flame out

Rest at 130 for 20 min

Mash at 154 degrees

Wyeast kolch yeast

I'm proud to say that we took Third place for this beer. (38.5 points overall) It got a lot of positive comments from folks last night. Personally I'm not too keen on it, it just has an odd maple syrup meets celery seed flavor, that to me doesn't make it all that quaffable. But a lot of folks liked it.

I tasted the winner's beer (number two wasn't there last night) and his, to me was actually "drinkable.' He did a saison, and it was very complex, and the fennugreek was balanced with other spices that made it tasty, whereas ours to me, is more like a one time beer. Something that you might buy at a bottle shop, or get in a mixed beer sixer of strange brews. You might try it once to say you had it, and you might actually enjoy the beer for what it is, BUT you wouldn't go out of your way to drink it more than once or twice. And definitely not more than once or twice in a session.

I thought it would be cool if those of us have done an Iron Brewer Comp, somehwere in the world to post what you brewed, and how you did. And how and why you handled the "special" ingredient, and why.

I thought it might spark folks to experiment and even enter these sorts of comps.

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Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman

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Old 12-12-2012, 11:01 PM   #2
BigB's Avatar
Dec 2009
Shelby Twp, MI
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F'd Up With Fenugreek Brown Porter

9 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (Marris Otter)
8.0 oz Caramel Malt - 60L (Briess)
8.0 oz Chocolate (Briess)
8.0 oz Special B (Dingemans)
0.40 oz Au Stella [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
0.25 oz Au Stella [15.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min
1.00 oz Fenugreek (Boil 0.0 mins)
1.0 pkg British Ale Yeast a(Wyeast Labs #1098)

Mash at 154, Double Batch Sparge, Fermented at 68F Force Carb

Fenugreek came through strong in the aroma... frigging celery smelling crap. Went with a Brown Porter in the hopes that the earthiness from fenugreek and the anise from the hops would all blend well.

This beer turned out ok. Scored 32 but that may have been a couple points low... not sure if the judges understood a brown porter... their notes suggested they were looking for a robust porter. But I think it could have used a bit more roast and I would also bump up the hops a bit more if I ever did it again (actually make it more of a robust porter). But I'm primarily a style brewer, so spices aren't my thing. Revvy's beer was definitely a better beer and deserved more points than mine. I didn't get any fenugreek in the winning beer, but I was a bit buzzed by the time I tried it
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