Brewers Cup Winning Homebrew Recipes

Following the completion of this year’s Brewers Cup competition, I thought it would be fun to solicit recipes from some of the winning homebrewers. Reviewing information like this is a great way to gain ideas that inform your own brewing and help you create a unique version of your own award-winning brew. And if you’re not interested in these styles, it’s still pretty cool to see what your fellow colleagues are up to in the brewhouse. But I think you will be interested – we’ve collected everything from session beers to heavy hitters, and a range of styles from relatively popular to obscure and historical. If you have a question for one of the brewers, please leave it in the comments and I will try to draw their attention to your query. And with that, away we go……in order by style category………


“Why So Bitter” by Tim Palmer

BJCP Style Category 8A: Standard/Ordinary Bitter

for 5.5 gallons

7.5 lbs. Maris Otter
7 ounces Crystal 120
0.9 ounces East Kent Golding 5.8% Alpha (60 minutes)
0.5 ounces East Kent Golding 5.8% Alpha (30 minutes)
0.5 ounces East Kent Golding 5.8% Alpha (5 minutes)
1 tsp Irish Moss (15 minutes)
0.5 tsp Yeast Nutrient (10 minutes)
1 gram gypsum (add to mash)
1 mL Phosphoric Acid (add to mash)
1 gram gypsum (add to boil kettle)
1 gram CaC12 (add to boil kettle)
Wyeast 1968: London ESB Ale)
Original Gravity: 1.037
IBU: 30
SRM: 9
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Brewing water was comprised of 6 gallons RO water and 6 gallons filtered tap water. Mash in with 10.93 quarts of 164.4 degree water and hold mash at 152 degrees for 1 hour. Fly sparge with 5.96 gallons of 168 degree water. Ferment at 67 degrees for 14 days.

“The Scottish Loveknot” by Nathan Compton

BJCP Style Category 9E: Strong Scotch Ale

for 5.5 gallons

9.5 lbs. Golden Promise malt
4.5 lbs. Maris Otter
1.5 lbs. Munich Light (~9 Lovibond)
6 ounces Crystal 40
4 ounces Chocolate malt
2 ounces Roasted barley
1 ounce Peated malt (optional)
1.5 ounces Fuggle 4.2% Alpha (60 minutes)
0.5 ounces Fuggle 4.2% Alpha (20 minutes)
0.5 tsp Yeast Nutrient (15 minutes)
1 pack Wyeast 1056, 1 pack Wyeast 1728 (1.5 liter starter)
Original Gravity: 1.084
Final Gravity: 1.020
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 28
SRM: 18
Boil Time: 2 hours

Mash grains at 156 degrees for 1 hour. Collect the first gallon of mash runnings in a small stock pot. While collecting the remaining wort from the mash in your brew kettle, separately boil the first runnings for 30 minutes or until thick and mildly syrupy. Add boiled first runnings back to the brew kettle before beginning the 2 hour full boil. Ferment at 62 degrees for approximately 3 weeks. Transfer to secondary and bulk age for 6-8 weeks, or longer if your carboy space will allow. This beer will benefit from 1-2 years of aging……or longer if you have more patience than I do.

Note: I’ve found that a small peated malt addition adds subtle complexity to this beer. Some will tell you the addition of any smoked malt in a Scottish is inauthentic and therefore “wrong.” So decide for yourself - it’s your beer, make it how you like it! For post-brewing fun, look up the title of this beer if you enjoy adult-oriented cinema.

“Knuckles’ Brown” by Dave and Nate Bordenkecher

BJCP Style Category 10C: American Brown Ale

for 5.0 gallons

9 lbs. 2 Row Pale Malt
1 lb., 4 ounces Victory Malt
8 ounces Crystal 40
5 ounces Crystal 120
4 ounces Chocolate Malt
0.66 ounces Cluster 7% Alpha (60 minutes)
1.0 ounces Mount Hood 6% Alpha (20 minutes)
0.33 ounces Cluster 7% Alpha (15 minutes)
1.0 ounces Mount Hood 6% Alpha (5 minutes)
1.0 ounces Mount Hood 6% Alpha (1 minute)
Wyeast 1272: American Ale II (1 liter starter)
Original Gravity: 1.059
IBU: 35
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Mash in with 15.54 quarts of 162.6 degree water and hold mash at 152 degrees for 1 hour. Batch sparge with 3.44 gallons of 168 degree water. Ferment at 68 degrees.

“Dybbuk” by Jeremy Dunn

BJCP Style Category 18D: Belgian Golden Strong Ale

for 6.0 gallons

11 lbs. Belgian Pilsner Malt
1 pound Munich Light
1 pound White Wheat Malt
4 ounces Acid Malt
2 ounces Caramunich Malt
1 pound Cane (Beet) Sugar
2.0 ounces Sterling 4.5% Alpha (60 minutes)
1.0 ounces Willamette 5.1% Alpha (added at flameout)
Wyeast 3787: Trappist High Gravity
1 pound Golden Candi Syrup (added to fermenter after 2 weeks of primary fermentation)
Original Gravity: 1.072
IBU: 23.8
SRM: 5.2
Boil Time: 90 minutes

This recipe uses a multi-stage step mash. Add 18.72 quarts of 118.7 degree water to hit 112 degree mash temp. Hold at 112 degrees for 20 minute Acid Rest. Heat mash to 136 degrees over 15 minutes. Hold at 136 degrees for 25 minute Protein Rest. Heat mash to 145 degrees over 15 minutes. Hold at 145 degrees for 30 minute Amylase/Maltose Rest. Heat mash to 153 degrees over 10 minutes. Hold at 153 degrees for 15 minute Saccharification rest. Heat to 168 degrees for Mash Out. Ferment at 66 degrees for the first week, allow temp to rise to 72 after a week. Add the Golden Candi Syrup after 2 weeks in primary.

“GTO” by Kyle Vester

BJCP Style Category 21A: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer

Specific Style: Cucumber Kolsch

for 11.0 gallons

17 lbs. Pilsen Malt
1.5 ounces Hallertauer 4.8% Alpha (60 minutes)
1.5 ounces Hallertauer 4.8% Alpha (45 minutes)
White Labs WLP029: German Ale/Kolsch Yeast
1 pound Cucumber per gallon in secondary**
Boil Time: 90 minutes

Mash at 148 degrees with 6 gallons of water. Fly sparge with 10 gallons of water at 170 degrees. Ferment at 62 degrees. If desired, lager for a month or so.

**Notes on the cucumber addition: I used English Cucumber (seedless) and cut the ends off, chopped them up and threw them in. I didn't bother peeling them, however next time I make it I will. I didn't do any freezing or pasteurization of the cucumber. Left in the secondary for 1 week, then transferred to the keg to age.

“Mumms the Word” by Hugh Gardner

BJCP Style Category 23: Specialty Beer

Specific Style: Mumm (historical style)

batch size not specified, but likely 5 gallons

4 lbs. Light Liquid Malt Extract
3 lbs. Wheat Dry Malt Extract
1.5 lbs. Flaked Oats
12 ounces Briess 50/60 L Crystal
4 ounces Chocolate malt
4 ounces Rye malt
4 ounces Black Patent
0.5 ounces Northern Brewer (60 minutes)
1 pound honey
German Wheat Yeast
Herbs and Spices
1 ounce licorice root
2 tbsp juniper berries
0.5 ounce chamomile
0.25 ounce marjoram
0.25 ounce elecampane root
0.5 ounce rose hips
Boil Time: 60 minutes

Add all spices with 30 minutes left in the boil. Add the honey with 10 minutes left in the boil. Chill wort and add German Wheat yeast.

“Goat Holler Amber” by Steve Kent

Brewers Cup Category 99: Indiana Specialty Beer

Specific Style: Kentucky Common

for 5.5 gallons

8.5 lbs. Rahr 2 Row Malt
3 pounds Flaked Corn
1 pound, 2 ounces Muntons Crystal 60
9 ounces Muntons Pale Chocolate
2.45 AAU of Willamette (60 minutes)
4.1 AAU of Palisade (60 minutes)
2.9 AAU of Willamette (20 minutes)
4.9 AAU of Palisade (20 minutes)
Wyeast 2112: California Lager (2 liter starter)
Original Gravity: 1.053
Final Gravity: 1.011

To make the sour mash, take 35% of the grains (approximately 4 lbs, 10 oz) and mash the grains directly in your kettle for an hour at 152 degrees at 1 qt/lb. Cool the mash down to 130 degrees and carefully transfer the mash to a cooler large enough to accommodate it (2 gallons should work). Be careful not to introduce any oxygen at this point because it can spoil the mash.

Style Notes: Kentucky Common is an antiquated style popular in the Louisville area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since the style originated in bourbon country, it employed a sour mash and a healthy proportion of corn. The resulting beer is crisp, refreshing and mildly tart. The sour mash takes two days. While you are doing it, make a two quart yeast starter to ensure a high enough cell count for pitching. This is an all-grain recipe using thebrew in a bag method. Estimated efficiency is 60%.


Hope you’ve enjoyed checking out these recipes! Thanks to Dave and Nate, Hugh, Jeremy, Kyle, Steve, and Tim for sharing their expertise with everyone. Happy brewing!

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