Cicerone results, brewing & 1lb cheeseburgers

A day late and 3 percent short. I took the Certified Cicerone (aka beer sommelier) exam in May and just finally got my results today:

Overall Score: 77%

Tasting Exam: 76%

Keeping & Serving Beer: 71%

Beer Styles: 77%

Beer Flav & Eval: 77%

Ingredients & Process: 93%

Beer & Food Pairing: 73%

Frustratingly, I needed an overall score of 80% (& at least 70% on the tasting) to pass, so I’ll be taking another crack at it at Caesars in a few weeks. At least I know my ingredients and process pretty well! I’ll study up and be fine for my re-take. I still can’t believe the graders at Cicerone could fail a poor little homebrewer who flew all the way to Iowa to take the test on his 30th birthday, but they did.

In other news, Friday’s brew session went pretty well. We did a single infusion mash & only a 60 minute boil so it was a pretty painless exercise. Joseph was a wonderful co-brewer. I’m slightly nervous about a mishap involving a discarded large metal spoon being taken from the sink and used to stir the cooling wort, but the Brett was stepped up so hopefully it out-competes anything we may have picked up. Regardless, this beer may be named Sink Spoon Brett Rye IPA.


Pic above is Joe about to add one of the Citra & Nelson Sauvin hop additions. The WLP644 Brett starter tasted delicious. Tiny bit of funk and fruit. Really nice. I have high hopes.

Also, Joe & I now have our pictures on the wall at Cheeburger Cheeburger for finishing their 1lb burger. We even had shakes with it. Thanks to my usual silly impulses, I’ll now be known as “The Jackhammer” in local competitive eating circles.

I have 3 entries headed to the 25th Annual Southern Cali Regional Homebrew Championship & I’ll be sure to update on how they do. It’s my first real competition, so I’m excited! My entries are:

Lazy But Belgian – A big citrusy dry hopped American pale ale on White Labs 560 Saison yeast. Tastes like a spicy overripe pineapple. Entered in Belgian Specialty – category 16E.

Lake Water For Chocolate – My attempt at a chocolate pale ale with a big pile of orangey hops. Entered in American Amber Ale – category 10B.

Hops Ate My Homework – An accidental double IPA that ended up using 1.5lbs of awesome citrusy hops. Aroma is wonderful.  Entered as an Imperial IPA – category 14C.

Alright, time to throw together a saison recipe or two to brew tomorrow and/or Wednesday! Just got Belgian Saison III WLP585 from U Bottle It and it’s already stirring away. Also, I’ll be working on a way to integrate my recipes into the blog but feel free to ask in the meantime.


The Jackhammer


Friday’s Brew

On Friday I’ll be brewing up a batch of 100% Brett (WLP644) Rye IPA that I’ve had in mind for a month or so now. Discussion on Homebrewtalk forums about grain bill here:

My co-brewer will be my good friend Joseph who is hitting town for the weekend and seems excited about brewing with me. I’m thinking I’ll hop it up with Nelson Sauvin & Citra because those tropical notes should play well with the light pineapple flavors the yeast will hopefully kick off. But I usually make my hop schedules while I’m mashing and I want Joe involved in hop selection, so if he likes something else in my freezer then we’ll use it.

In other news, I threw 4oz of dry hops into my 6/27 Nelson Pale & I’m cooling 12.1oz of invert sugar to throw into my 6/23 100% Brett C Tripel. I will of course share the recipes if these batches turn out good.

Also checked in on the wild 4 gallons of my 6/14 Dubbel. Looking awfully wild. This is a Belgian Dubbel that I let run on WLP500 for 4 days & then added sugar along with a stepped up dregs mix of Chimay, Stillwater, Goose Island, & Jolly Pumpkin. It’s smelling very Jolly-esque. Not a clue when it’ll be ready to bottle.