HOMEBREW COMPETITION

The Campaign for Real Ale’s flagship beer festival, the Great British Beer Festival is launching its inaugural Homebrew Competition to find the very best home brewed beer in the UK.  

Get your creative juices flowing (quite literally!) and create a beer you love! This is the very first homebrew competition at The Great British Beer Festival, and you could be our very first winner!  

The homebrew competition will feature 300 entries across 12 different beer styles, from milds and IPAs to barley wines and porters.

To celebrate the Royal Jubilee our 12th category is a special feature in support of the “Thank Brew” beer recipe developed by Adnam’s Head Brewer Fergus Fitzgerald. Fergus will also be at the festival as one of the judges for this very special category.   

Entries for the competition are now open and homebrewers have until the 15 July to enter their chosen beer, before a preliminary round of judging in the last week of July and the finals at the Great British Beer Festival on the 2 August. 

 Important dates to note:

  • 15 July 2022: Competition entries close 
  • 18 – 22 July 2022: Delivery of beer to Nailmaker Brewing Co.  
  • 26 & 27 July 2022: 1st round judging  
  • 2 August 2022: 2nd round judging at GBBF finds the category winners (Bronze, Silver, Gold)  
  • 2 August 2022: 3rd round judging for Best in Show (Bronze, Silver, Gold)  

 

COMPETITION BEER STYLES:

up to and including 4% ABV – Must be bottle conditioned

‘Mild’ used to mean fresh and reflected the fact that the beer was not aged, these beers are light drinking and not very hoppy.

Colour
There are two types of mild: light or pale Milds and dark Milds and so the colour can be dark brown to black to pale amber or even gold. In addition, Scottish 60 Shillings or Scottish Light Beer fits into this category. Usually, they are dark brown to black in colour.

Pale Milds
These beers differ from Bitters and Pale Ales in that they are lightly hopped and may have a light fruit character. They are malty and the beer may be sweet with a little butterscotch/toffee (diacetyl).

Dark Milds
Frequently sweet with a light bitterness. The dominant flavour is of malt and roasted notes of chocolate, coffee and liquorice are often noticeable. Caramel and butterscotch/toffee (diacetyl) may also be present.

Scottish 60 Shillings or Scottish Light
The dominant flavour should be malt and butterscotch/toffee (diacetyl) may also be present. As with other Milds, they are lightly hopped.

up to and including 4.3% ABV – Must be bottle conditioned

These are ‘traditional’ Bitters with a thin to average body. They are often called Bitters and Best Bitters.

Colour
Usually, amber to dark brown.

Flavour
These beers should have a malt character with noticeable hops; typically earthy, spicy and peppery but may also be floral or piney. Fruit may also be present, sometimes of citrus but must not dominate the taste. Bitterness may range from light to strong. A little butterscotch or toffee (diacetyl) may be present but should be minimal.

4.4% – 6.4% ABV – Must be bottle conditioned

Colour
Usually, amber to dark brown.

Flavour
Medium to strong malt flavour with noticeable hops; typically earthy, spicy and peppery but may also be floral, piney or citrus. Fruit may be medium to strong but should not dominate. Stronger Bitters may have estery notes such as pear drops and the bitterness may range from medium to strong. A little butterscotch or toffee (diacetyl) may be present but should be minimal.

up to and including 4.3% ABV – Must be bottle conditioned

These are refreshing, light drinking beers.

Pale Ales incorporating British and New World Pale Ales
Colour
Dark gold to amber.
Flavour
Malt should be present but must be light in character. Hop flavours must also be noticeable and may vary from traditional earthy or spicy English and German hops to citrusy and tropical New World hops. Fruitier than a Session Bitter. Minimal or no butterscotch (diacetyl).

Blonds incorporating British and New World Golden Ales
Colour
Straw to gold in colour.
Flavour
Minimal malt flavour with the fruit being medium to strong. The hop may vary from traditional earthy or spicy English and German hops to the citrusy New World hops. Minimal or no butterscotch (diacetyl). Golden Ales will have pronounced fruity, citrus hop notes and may have a strong bitterness. Blonds will have minimal to moderate fruit but not a strong citrus character

4.4% – 6.4% ABV – Must be bottle conditioned

These beers are refreshing but fuller bodied than the Session varieties.

Pale Ales incorporating British and New World Pale Ales
Colour
Dark gold to amber.
Flavour
Malt should be present but must be light to medium in character and should not dominate the flavour; fruit may be minimal to strong and citrusy or tropical. Hop flavours are noticeable but may vary from traditional earthy and spicy English and German hops to citrusy New World hops. Minimal or no butterscotch (diacetyl). Medium to full-bodied. Fruitier than a Premium Bitter. Minimal or no butterscotch (diacetyl).

Blonds incorporating British and New World Golden Ales
Colour
Straw to gold.
Flavour
Minimal or no malt should be present. Hop flavours are noticeable and may vary from traditional earthy and spicy English and German hops to citrusy New World hops. Minimal or no butterscotch (diacetyl). Golden Ales will have pronounced fruity, citrus hop notes and may have a strong bitterness. Blonds will have minimal to moderate fruit but not a strong citrus character.

5.5% ABV and above – Must be bottle conditioned

IPA stands for India Pale Ale. It was the Midland town of Burton on Trent that became famous for this style of beer, exporting it around the world including to India, hence the name. These are strong hoppy beers with moderate to strong bitterness; usually bittersweet. The finish is long and complex.

British IPAs
Colour
Amber to pale brown.
Flavour
These beers are hoppier than Premium Bitters. The benchmark is a Bass recipe from the 19th century comprised of pale malt, brewing sugar and East Kent Goldings and Progress hops. More modern hop varieties can be used but they should be English in style rather than New World. There is often honeyed/biscuit malt aroma and flavours with pepper, spicy, earthy, piney or floral resins from the hops. Fruit, if evident, should not be the overwhelming citrus kick of New World IPAs.

New World IPAs
Colour
Straw to pale brown.
Flavour
These IPAs are ‘hop forward’ but with a balance of malt, hops and fruit. They are more complex than Premium Pale Ales and Blonds and can have fruit levels akin to New World Golden Ales being noticeably fruitier than British IPAs. The fruit can be citrusy, tropical or of white wine. Floral notes are not unknown. The malt makes less of an impact than with traditional British versions being light and usually biscuity, although New England IPAs (NEIPAs) tend to have a greater malt balance than the more assertively hoppy West Coast versions.

Black IPAs
Colour
Typically dark brown or black.
Flavour
The roast character should be zero to light, complementing rather than dominating the hops and fruit in the flavour. Typically, little residual sweetness.

Weaker ‘black IPAs’ sit within either the Session or Premium Pale, Blond and Golden Ale categories.

Up to 6.4% ABV – Must be bottle conditioned

These are darker beers with malty notes.

Colour
Light brown to black.

Brown Ales
Malt is to the fore sometimes with roast and/or some smokiness and nut-like flavours. There may be some hop character and a light to moderate bitter or dry finish. Fruity flavours such as raisins or sultanas may be present. Occasionally, sweeter variants can be found where more caramel and chocolate notes are evident.

American Brown Ales
As Brown Ales but overlaid with fruity hops, sometimes intense, which may lead to pronounced bittering. Fruit may often be citrus and/or tropical.

Red Ales
As with Brown Ales and American Brown Ales, malt is to the fore, often with roast and nutty flavours. Rye may be present, creating a tartness, but should be balanced and not dominate. American Red Ales are fruitier and hoppier.

Strong Milds and Unaged Old Ales
They have a light to rich malt character, sometimes with caramel and fruit such as raisins and sultanas. Lightly hopped. Old Ales tend to be more estery.

up to and including 4.9% ABV – Must be bottle conditioned

Porters were developed in London in the eighteenth century and named after the London Porters who worked on the docks and the City of London. It is thought to be the first global beer as, at one time, it was exported around the world. There is often confusion between stouts and porters. Once, Stout simply meant ‘Strong’. CAMRA distinguishes between the two styles by describing Stouts as typically black and less hopped than Porters.

Stouts
Colour
Black.
Flavour
Stouts have flavours and aromas resulting from the roasted grain malts e.g. chocolate, caramel and coffee notes. They have minimal hop and fruit notes. There are a number of subsets in this category.

  • Dry Stouts Minimal sweetness and a dry astringency that may come from unmalted dark roasted barley.
  • Oyster Stouts These do not always contain oysters, being stouts to accompany oysters. Those that do may often have salty notes, either due to adding oyster shells (for subtle semi-sweet flavours) or adding whole oysters to create a unique ocean flavour and can be slightly bitter.
  • Oatmeal Stouts Oatmeal is added during the brewing process to create a stout with a full body and creamy notes, often sweet.
  • Milk Stouts Lactose (milk sugar) is added to create a smooth, sweet stout with a rounder mouthfeel, usually with subtle sweet, creamy notes and sometimes with vanilla and custard notes.

Porters
Colour
Usually, dark brown to black.
Flavour
Roasty notes of coffee or chocolate that are balanced by a hoppy character with some fruit. This may be dark fruits e.g. damsons, black cherries, or caramelised fruits, such as raisins or sultanas. Sweetness ranges from sweet to dry.

5.0% ABV and above – Must be bottle conditioned

These are stronger versions of the Session varieties, usually with smoother, fuller mouthfeels.

Strong Stouts
Colour
Black.
Flavour
These beers have flavours and aromas resulting from the roasted malts e.g. chocolate, caramel and coffee notes. They should have a full mouthfeel with minimal hop and fruit notes. There are a number of subsets in this category.

  • Strong Dry Stouts Full mouthfeel with only a little sweetness and a dry astringency that may come from unmalted dark roasted barley.
  • Strong Oyster Stouts These do not always contain oysters, being stouts to accompany oysters. Those that do may often have salty notes either due to adding oyster shells (for subtle semi-sweet flavours) or adding whole oysters to create a unique ocean flavour and can be slightly bitter. Being stronger, these beers have a richness on the palate.
  • Strong Oatmeal Stouts Oatmeal is added during the brewing process to create a stout with a full body and creamy notes, often sweet.
  • Strong Milk Stouts Lactose (milk sugar) is added towards the end of brewing to create a smooth, sweet stout with a rounder mouthfeel, usually with subtle sweet, creamy notes and sometimes with vanilla and custard notes. Rich, full mouthfeel.

Strong Porters
Colour
Usually, dark brown to black.
Flavour
Roasty notes of coffee or chocolate that are balanced by a hoppy character with some fruit. This may be dark fruits e.g. damsons, black cherries or caramelised fruits, such as raisins or sultanas. Sweetness ranges from sweet to dry but with a rich, full body.

Imperial Stouts and Baltic Porters
This style of beer derives from the strong versions of stout and porter brewed in London in the 18th and 19th centuries for export to Russia and the Baltic States. Aromas and flavours are deep and complex with roasted grain, burnt fruit (raisins and sultanas), fresh leather, espresso coffee, bitter chocolate, molasses and liquorice. Hops may not be too much in evidence on the nose but may be peppery and spicy. The finish is long and complex, with bitter and spicy hops balancing creamy malt, roast, dark fruit, coffee, chocolate and liquorice. Warming alcohol is often noticeable due to the high alcohol content. These beers are full bodied, smooth and rich. If beers are aged in wood, there may be caramel and vanilla flavours.

There is considerable overlap between these two beer styles but Baltic Porters (sometimes called Imperial Porters) tend to be fruity e.g. blackcurrant, cherries and other dark fruits. They can also be paler in colour, dark reddish copper to browny black.

6.5% ABV and above – Must be bottle conditioned

Strong beer used to be produced to allow it to be kept, particularly to provide beer when it was too warm to brew. Many of the beers in this category are still aged before selling leading to wine-like notes. All of them are rich, complex, full bodied with noticeable alcohol but they may vary from dry to sweet, sometimes with honey notes. Bitterness may be medium to strong. The term Barley Wine probably dates from the late 1800’s with Bass using it in the early 1900’s.

Barley Wines
Colour
Usually, gold to tawny in colour.
Flavour
Estery and ripe fruit characteristics such as pear drops or strawberry may be present as well as sweet citrus marmalade flavours.

Strong Ales – Blond
Colour
Yellow to dark gold.
Flavour
Medium to strong malt character and some fruity notes may also be present

Strong Ales – Dark
Colour
Brown to black.
Flavour
Roast notes of chocolate and coffee may be present as well as dark fruits and/or caramelised fruit.

Must be bottle conditioned

Differently Produced
Differently-produced Speciality Beers are those brewed with non-standard ingredients or techniques, as opposed to Flavoured Speciality Beers, which have flavour added. Non-conventional ingredients and techniques are only limited by the brewer’s imagination.
Lager: Up to and including 8.5% ABV
Wheat: up to and including 8.5% ABV
Sours: up to and including 8.5% ABV
Saisons: up to and including 7.0%
Wood-aged Beers: 6% ABV and above
Smoked: up to and including 8.5% ABV

Flavoured
Flavoured Speciality Beers are beers with a flavour added, as opposed to Differently-produced Speciality Beers, which are brewed with non-standard ingredients or techniques. Flavoured Speciality Beers can be similar to all other styles in that any beer style can be adapted by a flavour addition to become a Speciality.
Fruit: up to and including 8.5%
Herbs/Spices and culinary ingredients: up to and including 8.5%

Your Thank Brew should be: a Pale Ale, delicious and easy-drinking 3.5% ABV

The rest is up to you however it must be bottle conditioned.

Feel free to follow the recipe below as loosely as you wish.

Abv: 3.5%
O.G.: 1.036
F.G.: 1.009
IBU: 36
Colour: 8 EBC
Grist
94% : Pale ale Malt
6% : Crystal malt , 130 EBC

 Hops
UK Bittering Hops for 10 IBU. Maybe a Pilgrim or Pioneer, or even a Sovereign Late Aroma hop: 26 IBU. We’re aiming for a pale ale with some Citrus notes but use whatever hop takes your fancy, maybe a classic or a variety that still hasn’t got a name. We’ll be using a blend of some of the newer UK varieties like Mystic and Olicana for a touch of grapefruit and passionfruit, and a slight herbal finish Dry Hop: Optional of course but we’ll add a small dry hop to add another layer of hop character.

 Yeast
Adnams will be using the Adnams house strain but we encourage brewers to use the closest thing they have to a classic British ale yeast.

 Book Deal!

Whether you’re a first-timer trying out a new hobby or an old hand looking to produce a finely crafted artisan ale, CAMRA’s Home-brewing Problem Solver provides the information you need to nip problems in the bud – and, better still, to avoid them in the first place.

In honour of the very first GBBF Hombrew Competition launch the CAMRA shop is offering this fantastic book at a 50% discount so take advantage of this offer now! 

FESTIVAL Opening Times

Tuesday 2 August – 12:00 17:00 (Trade Session)
Tuesday 2 August – 17:00 – 22:30 (Public Session)
Wednesday 3 August – 12:00 – 22:30
Thursday 4 August – 12:00 – 22:30
Friday 5 August – 12:00 – 22:30
Saturday 6 August – 12:00 – 19:00
Last Admission: half an hour before close.