Monday, March 7, 2011

SR6/JDP4: Playing to the Kingfish; The Final Stretch

I met Jim Koch a few years ago during the first Savor event. Unfortunately, it was toward the end of the event and I'd had too much to drink and too little to eat. Still, I was able to work out a genuine compliment for the founder of Sam Adams beer: I told him he was the kingfish of craft beer. He was the guy all the other brewers were aspiring to be. He chuckled at the comment and refilled my glass.
Good guy, that Jim Koch.
I told this story to one of his marketing reps the other night.  The guy, Mike, showed up at the DC Homebrewers meeting to announce a new homebrew competition Boston Beer Company is sponsoring. Because it's the first year of the competition, the rules are a bit loose. Basically, participants can enter any style of beer they want. The top three win a prize, including a bottle of Utopias, tickets to Savor and tickets to the Great American Beer Festival.
Sounds good to me.
So I'm taking this opportunity to return to the SR series and crank out a hop heavy double IPA for the competition. Because the competition will be limited to the members of the homebrewers club, I'm fairly confident that there will be 22 Belgian-style beers and a smattering of other styles, so I'm hoping my DIPA will stand out.
For this batch, I've pushed up the original gravity up a bit (1.080 vs. 1.070 from SR4) and added more hops and a larger variety of hops. For the first four SR batches (the fifth batch was the wet hop IPA), I was going with a mix of Warrior and Simcoe hops for bittering, flavor and aroma, and Cascade for dry hoping. This time, I've added Citra for flavor and aroma, and I'm including Amarillo and Sorachi with the Cascade for dry hopping. This should produce a very honey, orange blossom floral beer.
Hopefully, it'll also produce some schwag from the Kingfish.

I also got a chance to finally bottle JDP4. After three weeks in the Early Times barrel, the Scotch ale finally took on enough of the whiskey character. It was delicious. Even through the beer still needs to age at least another month, it's already rich with slight caramel flavors and a very slight rye bite (finally!). It's taken several months and several batches, but the beer is coming together at long last.
The barrel aging also added a nice bit of color to the beer, bringing it to a warm hazelnut brown hue.
So it looks like the first batch of the JD Project is in the final stretch.

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