Every year the American Homebrewers Association sponsors the National Homebrew Competition known as HomebrewCon.   This year there were 7,962 entries from across the world entered at 12 first round judging centers located across the United States.  Nashville was one of the 12 first round judging centers and 12 entries from 11 brewers from Tennessee advanced to Baltimore for HomebrewCon.  Joe Edidin and Michael Caylor, both members of the Tennessee Valley Homebrewers club based out of Knoxville won medals at HomebrewCon with Michael winning Silver for his English Brown Ale and Joe taking Gold in the Light Hybrid category for his Kolsch.  TCB interviewed Joe and he included his award winning recipe.

TCB:  Joe, how long have you been homebrewing?

Joe: Ive been brewing since 2001.  My first batch was an Irish Red Ale extract kit.  It ended up infected and awful in so many ways, but I loved and drank every drop of it.  After an 8 year hiatus and with so much information now available, in 2012 I switched to all-grain and in joining the Tennessee Valley Homebrewers, the experienced members challenged me to take my brewing to new levels.

TCB.  You are BJCP “Certified” judge. Does being a judge help you in recipe formulation and evaluation of your homebrewed beer?

Joe: Being a BJCP judge absolutely helps in recipe formulation.  Honest evaluation of my own homebrew and listening to critical evaluation of others has been key to improving my recipe formulation and brewing process.  Submitting beer and judging at BJCP events is a great way to learn how to make better beer.

TCB:  I have been involved with hosting the event in Nashville over the last few years and want to thank you for your help in judging.  I know you have had beers advance to the finals of both the NHC and MCAB(Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing) over the last several years.  Is this your first National medal.

Joe: In addition to winning Gold at HomebrewCon this year, I also received a Silver this year at MCAB for my Vienna Lager.

TCB:  Do you have a favorite style of beer to brew?

Joe:  Like most homebrewers, my favorite style tends to change over time.  I always try to have a British Bitter and an easy drinking lager of some sort on tap at all times.  My other taps are typically pouring beers that are more experimental in nature. My current pet projects are a Key Lime Gose and a Mint Julep California Common. 90% of the beers I brew are below 5% ABV.

TCB:  You seem to keep things simple.  What kind of a system do you brew on?

Joe: I brew on a very simple system on my kitchen stove.  Like many homebrewers I upgraded out of the 7 gallon turkey fryer and into a single tier keggle system. It was a lot of fun to brew on, but the results were beer after beer with less consistency than I wanted. To solve the problem I hatched a plan to remove as many potential sources of inconsistency as possible and add them back one at a time.  It turned out that I enjoyed the super simple brew days so much that I just kept on doing it, plus I now had the consistency I was looking for. No pumps, no temp controllers, just a 5 gallon round cooler with a false bottom, a 4 gallon pressure cooker pot, and an 8 gallon boil kettle.   Plus, from mash-in to end of clean up, it only takes 4 hours to brew a 5 gallon batch.   The point is you don’t need a fancy system to make quality beer.

TCB:  Below is the recipe for the Gold medal Kolsch.

Amt Name
8 lbs Pilsen Malt 2-row (Briess) 82.1%
1 lb Vienna Malt(Weyermann) 10.3%
8.0 oz Carafoam(Weyermann) 5.1%
4.0 oz Acidulated(Weyermann) 2.6%
2.3 oz Tettnang[3.50 %]-Boil 60.0 min 30.6 IBUS
0.6 oz Tettnang[3.50 %]-Boil 15.0 min 4.0 IBUS
2.0 pkg German Lager (White Labs #WLP830)

Mash Temp
Mash In Add 12.25 qt of water at 166 F 148 F
Batch Sparge 10.75 qt of water at 182 F 164 F
Batch Sparge 10.75 qt of water at 175 F 164 F

Ferment 5-6 days at 54 F
Raise to 60 F for 5-6 days
Slowly chill to 39 F over 7 days
Keg, carb, and lager for 6+ weeks.

Estimated OG: 1.048 Estimated FG: 1.009 Estimated Color 2.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 34.9 IBUS (Tinseth) Boil Time: 90 minute
Boil Size 7.3 gal Post Boil Volume 5.7 gal

For more information on becoming a BJCP judge, go to BJCP.org and/or inquire with your local homebrew club. For more information on homebrewing clubs in your area go to the Homebrewers Association


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Written by Art Whitaker