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
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.