Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunshine Challenge 2011

Today was one damn productive day. Not really for brewing, but I'll get to that. The real reason is, for the first time in about 5 weeks, I've done something else than spend most of the weekend studying for my upcoming Professional Engineer's License test. What's that you ask? As an engineer, if you want to release plans for anything that is a public work, you need to seal it. To seal it you need a license. To get that license you need to be in the field for 4 years, and pass this test. In my opinion, there's nothing humane about an 8 hour exam. I don't do anything for 8 hours straight. I haven't gamed for 8 hours straight since I was in high school. 8 hours. That's just Sadistic.

But no, I went nuts in the garage. I cut stuff, ripped stuff, broke stuff down, put stuff together. It was awesome.

More importantly, and much more relevant, I bottled some beer today. You see, November is coming. And you know what that means? No! Not Christmas decorations before Halloween. And not hosting awkwardly large dinners with people you talk to only once a year (well, yes that, but it means something else too).

The Central Florida Homebrewers' Sunshine Challenge is upon us! Admittedly, I've seriously slacked on the homebrew circuit as of late. As a matter of fact, I haven't been to a homebrew meeting since January. It's sad really, but it's been a crazy busy summer and fall. Things are slowly calming down a little bit, maybe I'll be able to attend a meeting this January.

I've missed a lot of competitions so far this year. But I can't allow myself to miss the Sunshine Challenge. I have to hold down the fort, and support our Central Florida Homebrewers. Also, it's the one competition that Paul (my arch-nemesis) sends entries to. Any opportunity to level his beer I have to take. And every opportunity to talk trash is a good one. This year I'm submitting two entries, my Pokey Porter (under the porters obviously), and my Newcastle clone.

Now usually I wouldn't feel right about submitting a clone recipe. However this "clone" actually doesn't really taste like the beer it was named after. Over the next day or two I have to drink a few and decide which category I'm going to submit it to.

If you're submitting you better make it quick. Deadline is October 26th, and they have to be at the destination by then. More details are on the site.

I did run into a bit of an issue. I had a 3rd beer I was planning on entering, which is my blonde ale. But it's pretty under carbonated. This is where I turn to you guys. I'm having real frustrations getting beer carbonated. I know carbonating can be really finicky, but what I'm doing doesn't work. The levels of carbonation are erratic and unstable. According to Beersmith I should be able to attain proper carbonation  at 10 psi. Yeah, that's not happening. I have my kegerator set to 15 psi right now, and after 2 weeks in the kegerator, I'm not where I need to be. I've considered grabbing another gauge and attach it to one of my kegs to get a second opinion, but I haven't gotten around to it. I've seen setups where you can adjust individual pressure per tank, but that's going to get expensive quick.

Any ideas? I could really use your help on this one. Post below, let me know what you do. I'll try almost anything to get a more solid method.


  1. Have you got a carbonation stone? MoreBeer has a combination keg lid/carb stone for around 60 bucks that does a fair job of carbonation. 

  2. Huh you know I never looked into that. I've heard Of that sort of thing for oxygenating beer. I'm going to have to look into it. Thanks for the tip!

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