I recently competed in my first non-send-away homebrew competition, which was held in the parking lot of a local restaurant.
It was set up festival-style, with 18 homebrewers pouring their brews and competing for both the judges’ vote and the popular vote.
It was really tough to decide what to bring to a competition like that where you have to find a nice middle of the road; interesting enough, and stylistically good for the judges, and something that’s not too crazy for the everyman! Plus it was April (warm!) in Florida, so it had to be something somewhat refreshing as well.
We thought an IPA was a little obvious, and knew there would be plenty of wheat beers too…but what to brew?
Then I remembered!
One of my most successful beers that we ever put on tap at the house was an India Brown Ale (you may recall that my Heineken drinking father polished off about half the keg in a previous article!); it would be perfect!
The India Brown Ale is the best combination (IMHO) of a malty brown ale, and a hoppy IPA; you get the roasty coffee & chocolate flavours from the roasted malts and you get to play around with a much more vigorous hop schedule without that lingering fear of not having a balanced beer! If you’re wondering what would be a good commercial version to see what an IBA generally tastes like, one of my favourites is Terrapin’s Hop Karma – which this recipe is loosely based on.
The beer came out wonderfully and as I mentioned in the other article, we took 2nd place in the Judges’ vote, ever so slightly behind a group of veteran homebrewers with many more years experience! The judges’ comments were that it could have done with a little more of a malt backbone to stand up to the hops, which I am going to try the next time I brew this, just to see. However, personally I think the hoppiness level is pretty spot on, and I got a lot of comments from folks that don’t normally drink IPA’s because they find them too bitter, saying that they thoroughly enjoyed it! Woohoo – converts!
Here’s the recipe:
India Brown Ale Recipe
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yield: 5.5 Gallons
8.5lb American Two-row Pale
1lb Victory Malt
1lb German Dark Munich Malt
9oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
0.5lb British Crystal 70-80L
0.5lb Special Roast
5oz Chocolate Malt
90 min 1oz Nugget 13% aa
45min 0.5oz Cluster 7% aa
20min 0.5oz Centennial 6% aa
10 min 1oz Rogue Revolution 5.4% aa
Post Boil 5 min 1oz Rogue Revolution 5.4% aa
Dry hop 7 days 1oz Columbus 14.6% aa
1 tablet Whirlfloc @ 10min
ECY10 East Coast Yeast Old Newark Ale
Mash in for 60 minutes at 154 degrees. Batch sparge @ 170 degrees.
Fermented at ambient house temp of about 76 degrees.