Our First XXX Post

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Sean Lamb as the pool boy (left), Steve Moore as the pizza delivery guy (extra sausage) (right) and Cindy Chui as neither a pool boy nor a pizza deliverer. Sean and Steve were the announcers at the awards ceremony.

I’m trying to remember what I did last weekend, but I’m having trouble because I was under the influence of DST. What’s DST? DST stands for Dixie Cup Standard Time, the odd space-time anomaly that occurs every year in Houston at the conference of the Foam Rangers homebrewing club, the Dixie Cup. When DST is in effect, things like time and schedules lose all meaning. However, you don’t care because — to paraphrase their club motto — you’ve drank more barleywine before 9 am than most people drink all day. Plus, you’re hanging out with a bunch of homebrewers and having a great time.

This was the 30th annual Dixie Cup and hence the theme this year was Dixie Cup XXX.

The main events of a Dixie Cup occur on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, there was a raffle and a Fred pairing — a beer and food pairing event named after Fred Eckhardt, influential early homebrew author and “mascot” of the Dixie Cup.

 

Speakers

Saturday morning featured three speakers — John Palmer (of John Palmer fame), Chris White (White Labs) and Geoff Larson (Alaskan Brewing).

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John Palmer demonstrating his pointing skills.

Palmer — fresh off the publication of his “Water” book, co-written with Colin Kaminski (Brewers Publications, 2013) — gave a talk on water. As a stout and porter fan, one of the most interesting elements of his talk was his saying that dark beers benefited from some magnesium (up to 30 ppm) in the brewing liquor. I hadn’t heard that before.

Dr. Chris White, of White Labs Yeast, spoke on how they raise yeast and the experiments they have been doing. One of his slides showed the IBUs measured in beers bittered with the same amount of hops, but fermented with different yeast strains. Some yeast strains, and especially the wheat beer strains, had levels of bitterness substantially below the more hop-emphasizing strains (like WLP001).

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Mmmm . . . beer.

Geoff Larson spoke about the early days of Alaskan Brewing, the brewery’s commitment to “green” technologies and environmentalism as well as how to make smoked beers and beers brewed with spruce tips. He also brought along 2008 and 2012 Alaskan Smoked Porters for all to sample and Alaskan Winter ale (brewed with spruce tips).

 

The Contest

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Why do all these beers taste like Alaskan Smoked Porter to me?

After the speakers, the final flights in the homebrew competition were judged. The Dixie Cup is not only one of the oldest and longest-running competitions, it is one of the largest single-site homebrew competitions in the United States. It took the Foam Rangers several weekends to judge all the beers. I sat on a panel judging the specialty category. There were some interesting beers in that flight, to be sure.

In the evening was the awards ceremony. The results are posted on their website. In club-related news, the Foam Rangers won the Dixie Cup, but my club — the Austin ZEALOTS — claimed the Lone Star Circuit.

I’d tell you more, but what happens at Dixie Cup XXX, stays at Dixie Cup XXX (except, of course, for the gajillion social media pics that taken by people who were there).

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The Martin brothers, of the Austin ZEALOTS, are playing it safe, keeping their horns protected.

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Comments

  1. Glen Giddens says:

    Chris you did a really good job covering the Dixie Cup. I was there as well. And helped roast the pig. My cousin Will H. was the Dixie Cup coordinated this year. Which really made this one more special for me.
    Thanks Glen.

    • Chris Colby says:

      Thanks. Will should be proud of the job he did. The Dixie Cup is a big event and I’m sure it took tons of planning and effort. Every year, the Foam Rangers pull it off (even if it does come right down to the wire most times 😎
      It will be hard to top Dixie Cup XXX. Maybe next year will be Baskin Robins themed — 31-derful flavors.

  2. The magnesium for porters is interesting. I’ll have to pick up a copy of the book and update my water treatment posts (http://lifefermented.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/water-treatment-for-brewing-1-the-basics/). I have always heard, including from Palmer over the years, that there is plenty of magnesium available in the grain. Does this 30 ppm in the brewing liquor apply to both all grain and extract, or just extract?

    Did he mention what the magnesium did for the beer beyond being necessary for proper enzyme function in the mash?

    • All of the water analysis in John Palmer’s talk was based on brewing water. No measurements were made on wort or beer. Palmer’s discussion was that it was Colin Kaminski’s preference based on flavor but without a lot of testing (and I’ll add – science) behind it. It might make for an interesting side-by-side test though. The water book discusses it on page 148, btw.

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