homebrewers, want to brew on a pro-system?

Ever dreamed of having your homebrew brewed at a commercial brewery ?  If so, get brewing.

Homebrewing, you know heading to Boots the chemist, buy a bucket, some sugar, some yeast and follow the instructions and you’ll get something akin to beer.  That was  so 1986. Homebrewing has come a long way, baby.   I have homebrewed pretty heavily over the last few years,  loved every moment, even to the point of writing this.   I have been lucky enough to be invited to brew on professional systems around the ways, something I really enjoyed.  Something that I have always wanted to offer homebrewing compatriots, should I ever make it to a professional level.

Prompted by friends near and far, this happened:

So, last week I brought in Ben Fields to brew at a professional brewery that I now also brew at, call it something of a weekend job, under the guise of Saints and Sinners, brewing at the Brew Wharf, Stoney St, London.  Ben, a talented homebrewer from Southern California, currently living in the delights of London.    That trial run, brought Field of Dreams, with minor hiccups, oops.    Look out for the beers in fine establishments, such as the St. John, the Beehive and the BrewWharf – (and an increasing amount of love from London beer establishments calling to order!?  So, look out for Ben‘s beer, or other BrewWharf beers out and about now! )  and now for the meat and veg:

2010 – Beermerchants.com/Brew Wharf Pro-Am competition.

Beermerchants.com and the Brew Wharf have teamed up to get this off the ground, it’s inaugural year!   We’ve even got co-sponsors, Prizes and more…

How to Enter This Competition – The Rules and Regulations

1. What kind of bottle is required?

All beer entries must be in bottles that are brown glass only, 330ml/50cl in volume. All bottles must be free of ink, paint, or paper labelling other than competition entry labels. Competition entry labels should be fixed to each bottle with a rubber band. Obliterate any lettering or graphics on the cap with a permanent black marker.

Bottles with Grölsch-type swing tops are not allowed.

Odd-shaped bottles are acceptable if they meet the above requirements.

2. How many bottles do I need?

Send four (4) bottles for each entry.

3. What are the entry fees?

Nada, nothing, zero, zip and zilch.

4. When are the entry deadlines and the Judging date?

Entries in by 28th June.   Judging will be July.  By, Pete Brown, Mark Dredge, Steve Williams, Kelly Ryan, Steve Schmidt and Evin O’Riorden.

5. How do I enter?

(a) Print the labels for your entries. Attach the labels to each bottle using a rubber band; do not attach the bottle label with glue or tape. Your entry will be disqualified if you use glue or tape to secure the label to the bottle.

(b) Pack your bottles carefully.

(c) Drop Off or Ship your entries to the address below.

Arrange for a return receipt with your shipping company, if you wish to confirm delivery of your package.

Packages with postage due or Cash on Delivery charges will be returned to sender.

Address for shipment or drop-off of entries:

FAO: Phil/HomebrewComp


Unit B10 Larkfield Trading Estate,
New Hythe Lane, Larkfield
Kent ME20 6SW

6. Which category do I enter?

There are no categories in this competition! However, you must indicate with each entry what Style of beer you were aiming for!

Any beer that meets the following guidelines will be welcomed:

(a) Maximum ABV is 6.5%

(b) Infusion Mash Only

(c) Ale temperature fermentation only (16-22C)

(d) Easily available malts only, weyermann is fine but everything else  – no exotics

(e) All hops used must be available from Charles Faram & Co.

Please note that as the prize for this competition is to have your winning recipe brewed on a Commercial system, we are limited by the types of beers that can be brewed and this in turn dictates the guidelines above.

7. Are there entry limitations?

You may enter as many different beers as you like, subject to the regulations above for each entry.

Your homebrew cannot have been brewed on equipment used to brew beverages for any commercial purpose, whether for commercial research, production or any other purpose, including equipment at brew-on-premises establishments.

If you have special instructions for the judges (e.g. request that the judges roll a bottle of Belgian Wit before serving), then make sure to write them on the Entry Form attached to each bottle!

8. The Fine Print –  Judging

Judging of all entries will be done at the BrewWharf soon after the closing date.

All decisions by Competition Organizers are final. Results and Winners will be notified by the Competition Organisers shortly after the Judging Date.

The Competition Organisers reserve the right to publish all details of the Competition in relevant Print Media, In-house Publications and Mailing Communications and on Internet Forums or via email.

9. Recipe Requirement

As the prize is to have your beer brewed on a Commercial system, a recipe for your beer is required to enter. This should be detailed on the Entry Form. Upon entering this competition, entrants agree to allow (at no cost) publication of their recipe by Beer Merchants or any of its divisions in any relevant publication. Entrants will receive all due credit.

10. Return Policy

No entries will be returned whether received late or otherwise. All entries become property of the Competition Organisers

11. Disqualifications

Entries failing to meet requirements listed in these Rules and Regulations will be disqualified. Disqualified entries may still be judged, but will not be eligible for awards or prizes.

12. Packing and Shipping Hints

Carefully pack your entries in a sturdy box. Partition and pack each bottle with adequate packaging material. Do not over pack!

Every reasonable effort will be made to contact entrants whose bottles have broken to make arrangements for sending replacement bottles. Please refrain from using packing “peanuts” if possible, unless biodegradable ones. Use bubble wrap or newspaper instead. The Organisers make efforts to recycle packaging material whenever possible.

Private shipping carrier rules and regulations concerning the shipment of beer vary. We strongly encourage you to check with your shipping carrier prior to shipping your entry.

13. Entry Form

Every entry must be accompanied by an Entry Form (TBD). Please print a copy of this form for every bottle and attached to each bottle with a rubber band.

The Entry Form is available to DOWNLOAD IT HERE

14. Other Stuff

Good Luck, Have Fun, Brew Beer and make the World Happy!

(Thanks to all the chaps from Jim’s Homebrewkit for all the help with the planning!)


Just found out that Pete from the Brew Co, and the Harlequin in Sheffield is offering a homebrew competition too!  Please enter this too!  We need more and more of these events!   This is what makes beer happen!

Hi all,

I own a small craft brewery in Sheffield called The Brew Company and also a freehouse called The Harlequin.
The Harlequin is having a home brew competition in July dubbed ‘Brew Off 2010’. We are asking home brewers to brew the best beer they can then either bottle it or put into Cornelius kegs. The bottled or kedged beers must then be brought along to the pub by the end of June where a panel of beer bloggers, landlords, local craft brewers and CAMRA officials will form a blind tasting panel and all the beers will be marked on appearance, flavour, aroma and impact. The winner and two runners up will then get to go to The Brew Company and scale up the winning recipes to full size commercial brews before trying the finished product on the bar a few weeks later. Home brewers wishing to take part in the competition should in the first instance contact The Brew Company on 0114 2709991 (leave a message) or by using the contact form on my website at www.thebrewcompany.co.uk

I hope many of you will be able to take part for what proves to be a fun event with an exciting conclusion for the winner and runners up.

Good luck!

And then there were three! Stuart Howe at Sharps, has joined the melle,  this sounds frikken awesome!   

Are you the best? Do you have what it takes to design a winning beer? Would you like to see that beer brewed on a commercial scale and enjoyed across the nation? Then you should enter the Sharp’s Big Lunch Brewing Challenge.

The Big Lunch Brewing Challenge is run by Sharp’s in association with the Eden Project and Sainsbury’s Supermarkets and it aims to find the best homebrew in Britain. The challenge will be judged by a trained panel of tasters and beer experts led yours truly. All you need to do is to send 6x500ml bottles of your beer to me at Sharp’s Brewery, Rock, Wadebridge, Cornwall, PL276NU.

The successful brewer will be invited to Sharp’s to work alongside me to produce a commercial version of their winning recipe which will then be sold in stores across the country.

What am I looking for? I am not concerned with trueness to style or extreme flavour sensations. The winning beer will be technically sound with no off flavours and a good balance. Most importantly it should be pleasant to drink and moreish.

For more details please visit the Big Lunch Brewing Challenge web site. http://www.thebiglunchbrewingchallenge.com/

Good luck and I’m looking forward to being wowed by your efforts.

Bristol Beer Factory, head Brewer, Chris Kay – and not toooo long ago Brewer as well, at the Brew Wharf did a pro-am comp! Here’s the results!

Bristol Beer Factory celebrated the flavoursome talents of amateur brewers this week at the official launch party for our new Visitor Centre in North Street, Bristol.
The inaugural homebrew competition was won by Richard Pool with his ‘Mountain Goat IPA’, a unanimous and Homebrew very popular choice with the judges. Richard can now look forward to spending a day alongside the Bristol Beer Factory brewers, with the resulting brew sold in local pubs throughout Bristol. Richard will also receive a 72 pint cask of his beer and a meal for two in the Barley Mow.

Second in the competition was Chris Tazewell with his golden ale, ‘EastvilleAU’, with ‘And So To Bedminster’ winning the title of ‘Best named brew’. The award for the best label went to ‘Windmill Pale Ale’, which had a picture of a windmill gaffer-taped onto the bottle.
All 20 competition entrants were invited to the final where, in addition to sampling Bristol Beer Factory ales, they were treated to a fine array of tasty treats on offer from Trethowans Dairy, Mark’s Bread, Crumpet Cakes & The Chocolate Tart. Mark Newman bakes his bread on the premises, all using organic flour and sea salt, and has produced a special sourdough featuring Bristol Beer Factory’s Number Seven. Crumpet Cakes is also based at the Visitor Centre, with Becca Luger making her delicious cakes upstairs. Goodies from these local businesses will be available to purchase at the Visitor Centre which will also feature historical brewing displays and brewery tours in addition to sales of Bristol Beer Factory beer and merchandise.

Bristol Beer Factory Production Director, Simon Bartlett, said, “The evening was a great success and we were really fortunate to have had a wide range of quality homebrews to try. The judging panel were impressed with the care and ingenuity which had gone into creating some really interesting beers using all sorts of ingredients including chocolate, coriander, orange peel, ginger and cardamom.”

Head Brewer, Chris Kay, was also full of praise for the entrants ‘The home brew industry is growing increasing popular with people who appreciate the variety and quality of traditional beer, and the art of brewing is such a fascinating process. We wanted to encourage people to take part to gain experience and valuable feedback on their brews but the competition is also a fun way to celebrate the ethos of Real Ale.”

Look out for ‘Mountain Goat IPA’ in Bristol Beer Factory outlets throughout Bristol from June 2010.     READ MORE HERE


19 thoughts on “homebrewers, want to brew on a pro-system?

  1. Can we drop entries at Brew Wharf? This is vastly more convient for me than Kent as it would avoid the post all together…

    • Shouldn’t be a problem, but I’d make sure I am there, or Ang, so it can be put away safe. I will just ship it down to the depot anyway.

  2. Hi!

    This sounds great. A few questions:

    At what temperature will the beer be served at, for both the judging and in the prospective pubs?

    Will we have any control over the final level of carbonation if it is to be sold in pubs – i.e. will it be from the cask through a beer engine or will it be controlled, like a corny keg sort of setup?

    Carbonation and temperature can both change the overall character of the beer hugely!


    • Oh, and will be judged on clarity? Considering on a pro system we’d have the option of fining and / or filtering the beer. This ties back in with temperature again.


  3. I look forward to entering this! 🙂 You say that only an infusion mash will be allowed, does this mean I can not use my home made HERMS system? The reason I ask, is that with my brewery, I need to recirculate the mash in order to keep it at the correct temperature, due to the mash tun not being insulated. This has the same effect as a regular infusion mash, but is a little more accurate on a homebrew scale.

    • Great to hear you’re entering!

      you can use your system, of course. We recirculate at the end of mash at our brewery, just to clean it up, maintain temps etc. Just brew the best beer you can!
      (ps. where are you?)

  4. Pingback: Hophead « RedWillow Brewery

  5. Hi,
    Great competition, I’m going to do my best to enter.

    Why do the labels need to be attache with elastic band only?
    And do you have any good tips on label templates?


    • it’s so that the beers will be judged as a complete package – opening, presentation, etc, rather than poured into a jug. Just put the pertinent information on the paper and securely elastic band around bottles.

  6. I’m looking forward to this. Looks like I’ll have to speed my recipe development up a bit though. Will judging be immediately after the entry closing date? I am worried about conditioning and clearing time after shipment. I guess I could condition them before sending and make sure I send a bit earlier to allow them to be judged in the best possible condition?

  7. I will post the entry form on Monday, we’ve had a number of people send beer already! With their own entry form – not a problem – I will be emailing them to get some more details, but thanks for the nudge!

    Can’t wait to taste these beers!


  8. Hi, will we receive feedback/scoresheets on our beers? For a lot of brewers, feedback is the main reason for entering a competition.

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