Brew Genius: Understanding the art of brewing
Editor’s note: Brew Genius, an annual feature we run every winter, profiles some of the homebrewers competing at this years Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywine Festival. The 11th annual festival takes place Jan. 6-8 at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. For more information on the event, visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com or call High Point Brewing at 970-524-1092. 1. Vail Daily: From a style and/or technique standpoint, where did you start? Where are you now?Darrell Maudlin: I started homebrewing after I received a simple partial grain kit as a Christmas gift from my father. I brewed a pale ale and I was surprised how easy it was to brew. After brewing several partial-grain batches, I decided to upgrade to an all-grain system. Now I brew about once a month and don’t restrict myself to any particular style. Danielle is not a beer brewer, but she does make hard cider a few times per year.2. VD: Where do you brew? How many beers do you have cellaring at any given time?DM: My brewery is set up in the garage. Our ciders are brewed in the kitchen.We usually will have two batches of beer and one cider cellaring at any given time.3. VD: What is your ultimate beer – food pairing?DM: Pair a well aged Barleywine with Stilton cheese. Yum!4. VD: What are you entering in the Big Beers Homebrew Competition this January? (Name/Style)DM: I made a Belgian Dark Ale which I spiced with Cassia cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and a pound of raisins. I’ll enter that as a Belgian Specialty Ale. I will enter a Braggot, which is a mead made with malt. I’ll also enter an Old Ale, Belgian Triple and Belgian Witbier.5. VD: What’s the most interesting ingredient you’ve ever used in a beer?DM: We made a fruit cider with tart cherries we brought back from Door County, Wisc. That was delicious. I also made a wheat beer and added nine pounds of mango pure and several chipotle peppers. That was not so delicious.6. VD: Where do you get your inspiration for recipes? From commercially produced beers? Elsewhere? DM: We are inspired by different foods and spices we encounter. We’re always thinking “how can I use that in beer or cider”?7. VD: What advice do you have for someone thinking about getting into homebrewing?DM: To be a good brewer you have to understand the science behind the brewing process, but to be a great brewer you have to understand the art of brewing.8. VD: Are organic ingredients of specific interest to you? Are locally produced ingredients important for your homebrew recipe?DM: We have made some really good meads and honey wheat beers with local honey. I have never really sourced any organic grown hops or barley, but brewing an all organic beer is next on my to-do list.9. VD: Are you a fan of sour beers? Is this a direction that you have taken or are interested in taking with your homebrewing?I got a first place medal at the Big Beers Festival a couple of years ago for a Flanders Red Ale, which is a sour DM: beer. The same beer won “Best Of Show” at another home brew competition in the Houston area (The Lunar Rendezbrew). So yeah, I love brewing sour beers.
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