Becoming a Beer Judge (BJCP)

It’s been over a year since I got back my exam results from my Nov 2014 BJCP exam. I’ve always meant to make a post like this, but never got around to it. So here it is!

I wrote the exam on Nov 9th, 2014 and got the results back March 18th, 2015. Many thanks to my graders, admins, and proctors for volunteering their time to help me become a BJCP judge. That’s about 4.5 months for those keeping score, not to mention there were Christmas holidays in there. In 2014, while I was studying for the exam (shout out to Craig, Kyle, and Shaun the best study group ever!) I used to hear BJCP took 6-8 months for grading so I was pleasantly surprised that it only took 4.5 months. I believe it might even be quicker than this these days.

BJCP certified certificate

I earned the rank of Certified on April 2nd, 2015 after getting the 1/2 point I needed to advance from Recognized after getting my exam back.

Since getting my results back I’ve Continue reading

Eric’s Brew Day Template v4.0

I’ve uploaded my latest brew day template v4.0 to the blog for those interested.
Latest revision updated the sheet to reflect my brew process on my new system. Biggest change is related to switching from batch to fly sparging. Also added lovibond line for malts, indented certain lines for 3 hole punch, and other minor formatting changes.

Induction Brewing: Using the Avantco 3500

This post is an overview of my experiences as an induction brewer using the Avantco 3500 cooktop.

Apologies, again, for the long blogging hiatus. Things have been quite busy on the homebrew club side and GTA Brews has eaten almost all of my free time. The club is doing extremely well, over a thousand people in our Facebook group, and about 100 people (growing quickly since it was recently introduced) that have elected to become paid members.

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This was my last brew day that used the induction cooktop (after I got a lower table for the new system)

I’ve still been brewing plenty often but haven’t had much time to write up overviews of my recipes. I also recently finished setting up a brand new brew system from the ground up (20 gal Stout Kettles, HERMS, with eBrewSupply BCS panel), so I’m hoping to start blogging more Continue reading

Homebrew Podcasts Fall 2015

This is my first blog post in what 6 months? It’s been pretty crazy over here with the number and scope of activities I have been doing with my local homebrew club. It’s finally starting to quiet down so hopefully I can get back to blogging on a somewhat more frequent basis. This post is a bit of a departure from my previous recipe focused posts and is more of an opinion piece. Some of you are going to disagree with what I say, and that’s fine, this is just my opinion, not facts.

I love homebrewing podcasts. There are a lot of different kinds of homebrew media out there, but podcasts is one of the ones I explore the most (in addition to internet/blogs). I enjoy all the magazines and books that are written but I don’t have much time to sit down and read.Screenshot_20151111-161940[1]In my one and bit hours of driving to and from work every day I have some time to work through podcasts. I’ve been listening to homebrew podcasts almost every day for the last 2.5 years so by now I consider myself to be pretty on top of things and finally in a good position to write a loose review of some of my favourites. Continue reading

Kona Coffee Blonde

I recently brewed a coffee blonde ale and it was quite the hit with my homebrew club and friends so I decided to share the recipe in the form of a blog post. The coffee was only added to half of the batch so I only netted about 2.5 gallons. The 1/2 keg kicked in under a week, so it must be good.

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One of the most memorable beers I tried on my honeymoon in Denver was a pale coffee beer by Former Future. They took their regular Countinghouse Cream Ale and infused coffee (I think through cold brewed coffee). As you can see in this picture the middle beer had a gold colour, but with fantastic coffee aromatics. I had also previously read a blog post by The Mad Fermentationist on his coffee blonde. With these two sources of inspiration I set off on my quest to craft a pale coffee beer. Continue reading

How to Pull Off a Homebrew Wedding

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Well, it’s over! I have to say I’m relieved, it took way more effort to brew all the beer for my wedding than I expected it would. It was definitely worth it, and I know there are a lot of people out there in the process of planning to do the same thing so here is a post going over everything I experienced and learned while brewing the 11 kegs of beer that I served at my wedding. Continue reading

IPA – Hopily Ever After

Well the wedding is over and I’m finally all caught up on the backlog of blog posts and work stuff. Rebecca and I got married on January 31st and everything went swimmingly! I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts since January so I’m going to post this one before I start working on non-wedding beer posts. We served 11 kegs of unique beers at the reception, and I’ll have a post talking about that and what it was like to brew for such a big event. We spent a week touring Colorado and visiting breweries, so I think I’ll have a post about that too. This is going to be the last wedding beer I write a blog post about since 15 beers is a bit much to blog about. Also there isn’t anything overly exciting or innovative to say about three IPAs using the same process with slightly different recipe. I was able to use the ones so far to give a bit of an overview to my process and recipe formulation though.

This was one of my favourite beers at the wedding. It’s a fairly simple recipe with common ingredients but it turned out fantastic, with that high level of hop aroma that people chase. When it comes to hoppy beers I like to keep the bitterness low, and focus on fruity hop flavours instead of pine, which I find comes off as garlic and onion when used too much. I used a mix of citrus and pine hops at a ratio of more than 2:1 to strike a balance between the two. I find that pine and resin hop flavours punch through much more readily than citrus hop flavours so more citrusy hops are needed to balance things out. In this case I used an oz of Centennial and Simcoe at 5 minutes for flavour and bitterness, the same at 0 minutes with 1.5 oz of Citra added in to up the citrus character and help strike a balance of flavour. In the dry hop I stuck with the same three hops to avoid muddling the flavour, again using higher amounts of citrus focused hops to hit the flavour profile I was looking for.

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My IPA grain bill is fairly standard consisting of mostly Domestic 2 Row, a bit of Munich I for colour and a hint of breadiness, and some Wheat Malt for head retention. I use US Magnum to bitter since it is such a clean hop that produces a smooth bitterness. I use San Diego Super Yeast (WLP090) as my house yeast for clean beers. It seems more and more of my blogger friends are starting to prefer Vermont Ale Yeast for hoppy beers so I may give that a try in a future iteration of the recipe. If I hadn’t been brewing this for a crowd I probably would have hit it with some gelatin as well to help clear it out, you can see how cloudy it was when I took this picture about 2 weeks before the wedding. I knew a few wedding attendees were vegetarian so I stayed away from gelatin in respect to them.

Hopily Ever After

Continue reading