We got back last week from our honeymoon to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. We also had a cool 12 hour layover in South Korea. I say cool because we got to take a tour of the DMZ. The trip was amazing and we had so much fun. I suggest that if anyone wants to go on a trip, make South East Asia your next destination. The beer was pretty much the same old light lager types but we did go to a couple of cool brew pubs in Vietnam and drinking $0.15 beer in Hanoi was cool. The really cool brew pub was the Louisiane Brewhouse . They had some nice simple but well made beers and a great view (last two pictures above).
I have included a few things in this update; trip round up, scores from San Diego County Fair, hop update, sour beer update and Viognier wine update).
Here it goes. I got my score sheets back from the SD County Fair. The competition was huge this year with 800+ entries and very few judges. I think the lack of judges comes from a poorly run contest and too many entries. There was only one score sheet per beer and it was the small brief version. After talking to some friends the scores were very inconstant and some of my final scores were added up incorrectly. We think it may be are final year unless they run the competition differently. Despite that I earned a 4th place for my Robust Porter (it was actually brewed as a Schwartzbier but I entered it as both). It scored a 40 and got some okay feedback. The Schwartzbier score card got lost in the shuffle, so no feedback. My Belgian Blonde with Meyer Lemon Zest and Lavender scored an impressive 42, but did not place. This beer gets really good feedback, but just doesn't make the cut. My Golden Strong and my Dark Strong both scored 32's. The Dark Strong Said 30, but upon adding up all the component scores it was a 32, which is dissapointing because that has done well in other comps and it was a well made beer. Teh golden strong is a little to hot and not crisp enough, so I didn't expect much. My sour cherry stout with brett scored a 31. It was too sour and lacked carbonation. I agree with the second characteristic, but too sour?? It was fun to enter this contest as it was the first contest I had ever entered, but I probably won't enter again. 3rd picture down.
Above is a picture of my hops. It has been an unusually cool summer in San Diego so I think that is one reason my hops didn't grow all that large yet and why they have no flowers yet, hopefully soon.
The picture second from the top is of my sours and my vintage Pabst Beer light I inherited from my Grandfather. While I took a picture of my sours I tasted the following (Orval-ish beer, Pumpkin Saison, Dark Saison, and a Flander's Red) that have been brewed within the last year. The beers have really come along nicely, especially since neither saison were supposed to be soured/funkified. The Orval-ish beer is actually much more sour and less funky than a traditional Orval. I used the Wyeast "Orval Blend", but I probably let it bulk age too long. I was going to dry hop it, but we will see. I plan on adding some fruit to the Pumpkin Saison (maybe plums, or peaches), the Dark is nice on its own, the Flander's is coming along but it is the youngest. I need to keg/bottle some of these so I have more room to brew more sours.
The very top picture is of a Viognier wine that me and a friend have made. It is our second batch and should be ready to bottle soon. Viognier is a great white wine, especially if you like Belgian beers that are fruity but dry.