Just entered a contest at a local pub. We are given 5 gallons of finished wort and then we have to finish the brew and bring it back to be judged after fermentation and bottling . We have to pitch the yeast or dry hop or whatever we want. The wort is an american pale ale. Any suggestions?

  • I don't think there's any way to come up with a "correct" answer for this.
    – baka
    Feb 21, 2012 at 13:19
  • If he asked, "how can I handle an already prepared wort?" would that have been a more closed question? I feel there is good advice to be passed on here about choice of hops, working with this like extract brew, re-heating some of the wort to add speciality malts/hops. While there is no "one" correct recipe, I believe there is a correct approach.
    – mdma
    Feb 21, 2012 at 13:23
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    IMHO, many questions here are naturally a little open ended. A concrete "brew this recipe" is possible here (see Tobias's Ans.), and there are many other possible answers that are useful and constructive. Sure, the recipe details are sketchy, yet explaining why it's important to know the recipe is in itself a useful answer. There are other open Qs homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/6360/… - there is no one correct way to weigh out liquid extract, yet it's a problem often encountered. At the very least, this I feel this question should be a community wiki.
    – mdma
    Feb 21, 2012 at 15:16
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    To me this is a classic example of a cool question to see debated on a different type of forum. But I just don't think it works here. We'll eventually have loads of "wiki" questions.
    – brewchez
    Feb 22, 2012 at 1:13
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    the owner of my local HBS describes it well- if you put 10 homebrewers in a room and ask 1 question, you'll get 11 answers. This site can have a lot of open questions. However this one is probably too open. You need to at least present an idea and a specific question, not ask for an answer, especially for a contest. Like on StackOverflow, you at least to provide some code before people will openly give you an answer. This is just the nature of the stack exchange Q&A format
    – j_syk
    Feb 24, 2012 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


Interesting problem!

Who's doing the judging? Professional brewers? BJCP judges? The drinking public?

You didn't mention anything about the specifics of the wort. What follows assumes that the wort is pale to golden, mildly hopped, and mashed for medium body.

If your beer is going to be judged by regular folk, I'd brew a regular beer. Ferment the wort with WYeast 1056 at 60 F. Dry hop with an ounce or two of cascade and cold condition for a month. This will produce a clean American pale ale with a citrusy hop aroma.

If you're being judged by beer aficionados, you could try something a bit more distinctive. Lots of options here, but a Belgian pale ale might be just the thing. Boil 1 lb of table sugar in a quart of the wort. Cool, and add back to the wort. Ferment with WY3787 at warmish temperatures: upper 60's or low 70's. The sugar will add alcohol and lower the body. The yeast will provide Belgian character: fruity esters and some spice.

Good luck. I wish one of my local brew pubs would stage a contest like this.

  • Good idea about angling the beer to the target audience! What type and quantity of hops would you use in the Belgian?
    – mdma
    Feb 21, 2012 at 12:14
  • I was assuming that the wort was hopped, which really only leaves the opportunity for dry hopping unless you wanted to re-boil the wort. For me, a Belgian pale ale shouldn't have much hop aroma. I want the Belgian yeast character to show through, and hop aroma would just disguise it. Feb 22, 2012 at 0:26
  • I agree. Pity this question is closed. In some ways, the bucket of pale ale wort is nothing more than 5 gallons of hopped extract waiting to be used. You could brew pretty much anything (lagers/cereal adjuncts excluded) if prepared to heat/boil a portion to steep grains or isomerize hops.
    – mdma
    Feb 22, 2012 at 1:55
  • I was wondering what type of yeast to use and if I could add a fruit(orange)puree and also if I could dryhop it! Feb 22, 2012 at 4:46

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