- Red Coat Exporter (recently renamed Red Coat Export India Porter) in the robust porter category
- Machair Mild, the peat smoked beer I have mentioned before
- Gunnersbury Gold, a best bitter, single hopped with First Gold
Obviously the Machair and Gunnersbury were easy to place into categories, the Red Coat though posed something of a problem. As I have written about before, Red Coat was brewed to prove a point. Said point being that the Black IPA/CDA/India Black Ale fad that is sweeping the nation is, in fact, nothing more than over hopped porter, and of course using hops like Simcoe and Cascade.
Thus I took the recipe for a clone of Widmers Pitch Black IPA as published in Brew Your Own magazine, cut it down to the size of a single gallon (being cheap and not wanting to waste time and effort on something I thought would taste like crap) and replaced the original hops with British equivalents. Out went the Warrior and Cascade, in came Admiral and East Kent Goldings at the right amounts to achieve 65IBUs. Everything else though was left the same, including the use of a clean American ale yeast.
In the original article, homebrewers were encouraged to enter their Black IPA beers in Category 23 of BJCP competitions, the catch all for anything that hasn't already been micro-managed to within an inch of its life, and to enter Black IPA/CDA/IBA as the "base beer" required in that category. My original plan had been to enter Red Coat in that category, claiming the base beer to be "British Style Black IPA" or something equally meaningless. Eventually though I decided to enter it in the Robust Porter category, after all that is what I am convinced it really is.
Red Coat Exporter took gold in the Porter category.
As far as I am concerned, my little project has proven that Black IPA as an innovation is twaddle, and Ron's posting about Barclay Perkins' hopping rates in EIP confirmed my suspicions. In reality then, the originators of the "style" were doing nothing more than reviving an old British style of beer and giving it an American twist in the form of the hopping schedule. Nothing revolutionary, innovative or even wondrous about that - after all that is what happened with IPA (perhaps Pete Brown will do a a follow up to Hops and Glory but this time with an Export India Porter?!).
Can we please dispense with the hysteria about this "innovation" and just accept the historical facts and give this style its proper name in the competitions and guides so beloved of stylistas, even if "American Style" has to be appended to the name? I brewed Export India Porter, Widmers brew an American Export India Porter, simple really isn't it? Maybe one of the British brewers will jump on the bandwagon and make an Export India Porter using British hops, Thornbridge? Lovibonds? Everards? Fullers even? What about BrewDog doing one for the homeland?
My next task is to scale this recipe up to my normal size brews and brew some more to satisfy the wave of people who have asked me in the last 24 hours for a bottle, and of course for entering in further competitions - I don't think my one remaining bottle will go very far really! On a side note, Machair took silver in the Mild and Brown Ale category, coming second to the eventually winner of Best of Show. The picture is Machair Mild, as I haven't got round to taking pictures of Red Coat yet!