Team GBU

Limbo Challenge 2012 Team GBU
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a film I've only seen in collective portions. I can put together the plot and the over arching sequence of events but I can honestly say I've not watched the film entirely.

I have seen clips of the film in magic clouds in college. Yet, I've never been the cool type. I was guaranteed to show up and linger leaving before things got too crazy. There were moments when the opposite-sex got the best of me yielding the time of my life. Those reference moments were fun but I will assure I missed the Greek chants and bon fires and hell raising.

Team GBU is comprised of three men making homebrew and competing together or when time permitted. The Limbo Challenge was selected as our first rendezvous. We would brew collectively then submit entries as a team. OG the team lead had taken down the competition before. He was looking for a lone gun. Someone with confidence who had seen competition and could shoot it out with the best homebrewers around. WY of had seen homebrewing competitions before. Having taken awards for meads and beer he was the prime choice.

I entered the roll call in a confidence unknown. Having prepared good beer I'd snagged some awards. Yet, my brewing style was unheard of. Fire at will. Shoot from the hip was my approach —I should clarify. I am young to brewing and so every opportunity is an exercise in creativity. The goal is to create something withstanding having researched malts, hops, and yeast.

Coming into the team I needed to play it safe. Homebrewing competition is about interpreting to style and brewing to style. Lagers are to be fermented cold and conditioned. Ales have some flex but must still be clean. No DMS, no Brett or funk aromas. Beer styles are well defined on malt presence and hop bitterness. I have a tendency to blur the boundaries. A stubborn attempt at being unique. My greatest fashion at doing so was the Brown Porter category.

I had prepared three beers each with their own worries. The first was more of a dark mild fermented with Belgian yeast. The color was great but the body, flavor, and aroma were missing. Having prepared the beer in the dark of night (un-announced to the team) no one knew it existed. I wanted to test the Belgique use of yeast with roasted malt. I learned the yeast fermented cold would lack its peppery spice. The low clove notes with phenols were pleasant. I liked the beer but it was no brown porter. Too thin and lacking depth. The second attempt was a little more dignified brewed with the team using standard ale yest and English pale malt and 3% de-bittered roasted barley. The barley was chosen to add depth without sharpness. From my perspective the beer was great but lacking richness. It was also too dark. The final attempt was brewed alone with very little de-bittered malt. The color was the best of the bunch but there was still no depth.

The smoke had cleared. Score sheets from the Limbo Challenge were in. We had entered the No-So-Porter in the Northern English category. The beer earned no awards. The judges comments suggest the beer and was a Southern Brown not a Northern Brown. I should have know better. As a team we averaged 33/50 points with four medals as our bounty. One 1st and 2nd with two 3rd place awards. The first place winner prepared by OG was a Munich Helles rested on light oak. The beer was exceptional. We never identified who would be labeled Good, Bad, or Ugly. However I am learning this is not college. Reference moments in homebrew competition is a matter of marksmanship and equal measures of luck. Shoot fast or live wounded.

Judges Comments

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