I’ve been listening to the Can You Brew It podcast ever since I began brewing. I think it may actually be called “The Jamil Show” but I’ve always referred to it as Can You Brew It. The show started off with Jamil Zainasheff discussing his recipes and techniques for brewing award winning examples of all 80 BJCP classic styles of beer. If I were to pinpoint one thing that accelerated the honing of my brewing skills, I would say that listening to each and every one of those shows definitely takes the cake. The podcast eventually evolved into its current form where the hosts take requests for commercial beers and their team of veteran homebrewers attempt to clone them on a much smaller homebrew size scale. They call up the brewer and gather as much information about the recipe as they can and give it a go. They featured a brewery named Uinta out of Salt Lake City and did two clone attempts. The first was an imperial black IPA brewed with hemp seeds called the Dubhe (pronounced doo-bee) and the other was an organic American pale ale called Wyld. I took notice during the Wyld episode when Jamil said he had this beer recently and was blown away, noting that this was a 50 point beer (referring to the BJCP 50 point scale for judging homebrewed beers). I have been doing some research on session beers and haven’t brewed an APA in forever, so I decided to give the clone a try. The funny thing is, this is the first beer I’ve ever tried to clone that I’ve never actually tried (prior to brewday).
Which one is the homebrew?
The brewday was somewhat uneventful. The only blunder on my part was that I didn’t record when I began dry-hopping and I think they stayed in a little too long, giving way to a slight grassy, vegetal taste in the finish. I actually hadn’t even planned on doing a comparison, but after I brewed this beer, I noticed that Uinta bottles started popping up all over NYC but assumed that this low gravity beer wouldn’t travel well into this market. I went to grab some spaghetti sauce for a late night craving from the corner bodega on Easter and of course there was a six pack of Uinta Wyld. Only drawback was they were all bottled the beginning of January 2012! I grabbed one anyways and did a side by side that night.
Appearance was pretty close, with the color identical but the homebrew had a slight haze from the dry-hopping. I assume Uinta dry hops and then filters or centrifuges for clarity, but who knows. The commercial beer lacked any hop flavor or aroma, which really made the sharp citrusy orange mango hop bite and crispness of the homebrew come through. As I was tasting the beers I realized my impatience made this comparison flawed, as I used Golden Promise as the base malt instead of waiting for the organic base malt to come into Brooklyn Homebrew. This came through in the flavor and mouthfeel, as my clone was a bit too bready and fuller on the palate. The Uinta brew actually tasted very thin next to mine, but I think that was mostly due to the age of the beer more than the base malt. I’m going to check that deli over the next few days to see if they get a fresh batch in and hope that my beer stays fresh to do a proper comparison and report back.