My brother and I got each other into brewing a few years ago. We somehow discovered it at the same time (while he was living in Kentucky and I was in Oregon) and over a thanksgiving break spent together we decided to brew up a pumpkin sliced ale. It was delicious.
Since then, we’ve staying touch a lot better, often using our mutual homebrewing hobbies as an excuse to chat. Over the years we’ve both brewed dozens of beers at home and have shipped most of them across the country to each other and have brought them to share whenever we meet up during the holidays.
A few months ago he was telling me about his homebrew club in Lexington that has an Iron Chef-like competition once a year. The idea is that you can brew any type of beer but it has to include a certain secret ingredient (okay, not so secret). He said it was anything from a certain type of spice of fruit to type of yeast or malt or even sometimes a wacky ingredient like marshmallows. The point is, each year it was always inspiring to see his club-mates’ imaginations run wild as they did their best to highlight the secret ingredient in a unique recipe.
Then it his us. Why don’t we do that?! The it his us again. Why don’t we do the inverse of that too?!
We both immediately thought of these two brew-off ideas at the same time.
The First: We’d brew both come up with two ingredients each and have to incorporate those four ingredients into our beers. Aside from those ingredients, the recipes could be (and would be) drastically different. While one secret ingredient sounded neat, we figured four would be that much neater.
The Second: We’d brew the same exact recipe. We’d had so many of each other’s brews over the years, we though it’d be cool to find out how our brew systems and methods directly affect a recipe. While it’d be cool if the resulting beers tasted identical, in my opinion it’d be just as interesting if they tasted a bit different, so from now on I could say, “Oh yeah, this definitely tastes like a Jason Helms beer,” and know what I’m talking about (and vice versa).
I’ve brewed both of the beers already, but this post is just about the Sticke Alt.
Back to the beginning. We decided that I would come up with a hop and a vegetable/fruit, and he’d come up with a malt