When I first brewed this beer with my brother, I had high hopes. One of my (and our) favorite beers is Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. It’s magnificently hoppy, bitter, and dry, but somehow remains balanced. This was our inspiration–combined with a little recipe formulation from Nathan Smith–and we set out to create a similar DIPA.
A few weeks ago, when I had my first tasting, I was overcome with joy when I realized it was drinkable. (Always a small celebration when I realize each beer doesn’t taste like dirt.) I kept hearing about people making DIPAs that were just hop bombs or two sweet and whatnot. I don’t think this guy would be in either of those categories. While it did end at 1.021, it definitely tastes much drier than that.
Also, I decided that while it was still fresh, it’d be a great time to submit the beer to my first ever homebrew competition. I researched a bunch of local fairs/festivals and landed on the Amador County Fair–only about a 3 hr drive from me.
While not the biggest county fair by any means, I figured it’d at least be a good barometer of how my DIPA stacked up against a few others, as well as a great opportunity to read some good notes from a BJCP judge about my beer.
To my surprise, I won! I know. I’m still relishing in the glorious win. Can’t wait to get those notes back too. It’s also the first time I’ve wanted to re-brew something so quickly. Should be a fun challenge to see how consistent and similar I can get the next version to taste–with the appropriate changes of course (it’d be nice to get it a big drier).
To celebrate, I popped the cap off of one of my Big DIPAs and wrote a few notes down…