Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Best of Show 2009

When you mention a beer, some folks want details. Well, here’s the profile for Andrew Meravi’s New Jersey State Fair Best of Show Russian Imperial Stout:

• Malt: Maris Otter, roasted barley, chocolate malt, munich malt (two types), crystal, Special B and flaked barley.
• Hops: Magnum for bittering, a dash of Centennial and East Kent Goldings for flavor and aroma. The brew scrapes the IBU ceiling at 100 (beneath a lot of malt, though).
• ABV: 10.25%

That profile represents a few tweaks Andrew made from a version he brewed last year that won second place in the homebrew competition's Imperial Stout category. (The stout was his sole entry then.) This year, he says, he was just trying to sharpen the stout a little to win the category. “I guess I got that and a little more.”

Andrew, who’s 34, took up homebrewing after a friend in New Hampshire helped broaden his horizons with the wide array of craft beers that are out there. (His palate was practically there, since at that time, he was enjoying beers like Bass.) A pale ale made by friend in New Jersey showed him what could be accomplished by homebrewing.

That was four years ago, and in that time he stepped up from brewing with malt extracts to all grain, turning out 10-gallon batches, unless it’s a big beer (like the imperial stout), in which case he’ll do half that volume.

Andrew took six beers to the 2009 State Fair and did rather well, even if you factor out his Best of Show title. His American pale ale won a gold medal; a breakfast stout made with oatmeal and a light-roast organic coffee took silver, and a Belgian golden ale went bronze.

And now he joins the pantheon of State Fair champs whose bragging rights include reproducing their winning ways for the taps at Krogh's.

No comments: