Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beer Competition In Mexico

The homebrewing hobby is really taking off in Mexico and naturally, along with that popularity comes the competitive spirit. A national homebrewer and professional brewers competition took place in Mexico City last week and a record breaking 172 homebrew entries were submitted.

Record breaking 172! What? Yeah, for those involved in homebrewing in 'the States' this number seems pretty insignificant. The number of entries for the recent American Homebrew Association competition had a staggering 7,823 entries submitted by 1,733 homebrewers so the Mexican event appears to pale in comparison but the hobby is growing rapidly in Mexico and this seemingly small number represents what will surely be the beginnings of a craft beer movement that compares with the early days of craft beer in the U.S. These low numbers compare to the number of attendees that participated in Boulder and Denver in the early 1980's. And like looking into a crystal ball, I can see the future of homebrewing in Mexico growing quickly in the same way it did (and is) in the U.S.

Spicy Irish Ale takes gold

There were 114 registered participants, judges and stewards according to the Competencia Amateur - Cerveza Mexico 2012 with 13 categories of beers. If you're a gringo you should go to the above link and check out how the beers are broken into styles, very interesting. And even more interesting to me is that the best of show winner was from the spiced/veg./herb category. Emilio Andrés Saldana Hernández took the ribbon for his spicy Irish ale called Tlaxco Lacandona (a loose reference to an indian tribe in Chiapas?). One of the prizes awarded was a scholarship to the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Other exciting news to hear was that my friend and fellow homebrewer Francisco Kameko took the bronze for his Dunkelweizen in the wheat beer (Cervezas de Trigo) category. As a new brewer, Francisco participated in my homebrewing classes at Cabrillo College several years ago and now brews all-grain batches in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico (my home away from home) as well at at his home in S.F. Congratulations Francisco.!"The student becomes the teacher". Francisco was happy to receive the recognition for a beer that he had previously won an award for in California, a validating accomplishment. But, he said that submitting the beer in Mexico was a little difficult in that it needed to be sent by courier to Mexico city and the entry fee was an unusually high $70 usd.

Francisco takes the bronze

It feels good to know that the culture of brewing is becoming popular in Mexico. I'm looking forward to the expansion of the craft beer movement and a growing homebrewing movement. Maybe if more people start homebrewing in Mexico the prices for homebrewing equipment and ingredients will go down. As it stands, I can hardly afford it. We'll see. Cheers!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brewing For Students

Today I'm getting ready for next weeks beginner's homebrewing class. This means doing a little advanced brewing. I want to give the students all of the information they will need to brew an easy extract batch of beer at home and an important part of that lesson is the bottling process. So, in order to have beer to bottle next week, today I'm brewing 11 gallons of a simple German hefeweizen.

In class we'll brew a dry malt extract hefeweizen recipe which consists of 4 lbs. of More Beer's Bavarian Wheat (DME 40C, 60% malted wheat and 40% malted barley) along with 1 lb. of cane sugar to help dry it out and a single addition of bittering hops for a 5 gallon batch. Then we'll bottle 5 gallons of the beer that I'm brewing today and each student will get to take home several bottles of the beer to condition at home and then after a couple weeks enjoy the fruits of their labors from class.

yeast starter

The recipe I'm brewing today is very straight forward and since one of my favorite styles of beer is the German hefe I brew it often with good results. The secret is pitching a large starter and fermenting in the low 60's.F. This time of year it's difficult for me to keep the temperature consistently low during the high krausen period of fermentation but with my wort chiller and post chiller set-up I'm able to begin with a pitching temperature of 60-62f. which gives me a good starting point while still allowing for a few degrees of temperature rise.

brewer's journal

The following is what I'm brewing today:

Beginner Class Hefeweizen
Eff: 85%
Attn: 75-80%%
Abv. 5.5%
Srm 6
Ibu's 15
O.g. 1.051
F.g. 1.011

9lbs. 2-row barley
9lbs. malted wheat

Mash in 5 gallons of h2o at 150f. for 60  min.
Sparge with 10 gallons of h2o at 170f. for 30 min.

Boil for 60 mins with:
1.5 oz. Gr. Hallertau 5.5% a.a. (1.5 x 5.5aa x 27% util. x .75)/ 11 gallons for 15 IBu's

Chill to 62f. and pitch Whitelabs WLP300 starter
Ferment in low 60'sf. for 7 days.

Wish me luck. This beer needs to be racked to a secondary by Sat. 9/22 in order to be ready to take to class on the 23rd.

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