This year at GABF we had the extraordinary honor of taking home a gold medal in the Pro-Am competition with home brewer Doug Thiel for our collaborative brew Just Another Pretty Face. Just Another Pretty Face, a whiskey barrel-aged English barleywine, was brewed using Doug’s recipe which we used as inspiration for our brew and tweaked to work on our commercial brewing system.
One of my favorite things about this project is that it was truly collaborative. The original recipe came from Doug and he and I tweaked it to make it more appropriate for the Denver Beer Co brewhouse. On brew day I wasn’t able to make it so another brewer(Tristan) brewed it with Doug. We had gone through a change in brewers just after so Zack monitored the fermentation. When it came time to barrel-age, I selected the barrels in person. I had originally planned on selecting two different barrels(one rye whiskey and one bourbon) but when I got to our barrel source, a third type of barrel(breck whiskey) was available. I decided based on smelling the available barrels to change my mind and go with one rye and one breck barrel. We wanted to use two different barrels to give ourselves the option of the better barrel. At actual barreling time, the base beer wasn’t that great. Zack and I commented that we’d need good luck from the barrels for the beer to turn out well. It’s always a risk when you barrel age, you never know how the beer will turn. When we tasted a couple of months later we were surprised and happy with the results. We disagreed as to which barrel was better but in the end chose the breck barrel(Head brewer’s instincts).
It was awesome to be sitting beside Doug and his girlfriend Nicole(now fiancee!, they got engaged just a couple of weeks after) when we got gold.
Of all of the medals I’ve won as a brewer this one means a lot and is different. It reminds me of how I got started brewing professionally as a homebrewer and it was awesome to share a professional medal with a homebrewer. It was truly amazing to see Doug’s excitement walking up to the stage.
For those who would like to try this beer at home, here is the recipe:
Original homebrew recipe:
83.8% two row
5.1% Crystal 120
5.1% Turbinado Sugar
0.8% black Patent
60 mins Challenger 53 IBU
10 mins fuggles 4 IBU
White Labs Edinburgh yeast
90 min boil
Doug and I made some very minor adjustments to the recipe based on raw materials suppliers/brewer’s preferences/brew system.