Mile High Drafts: A Beer For Geoff

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A Beer for Geoff – GABF ProAm
Großen Bart Brewery Longmont, CO
Style: Scottish Ale
ABV: 5.2% IBU: 25 Rating: 3.5/5

Here we are at the beginning of September, kids are all back in school, there’s a hint of fall in the air, and we are just over a month out to the start of the Great American Beer Festival(GABF)!!

This week, I’m continuing the trend I started last week at Wibby and trying out some of the beers that are going to be entered into GABF competitions. I consider it a little GABF preview, and so far I’m excited for some of our local breweries.

At Großen Bart, I decided to try their A Beer For Geoff Scottish Ale, which is their GABF ProAm entry.

The beer had a dark brown, almost black appearance with copper highlights when held up to the light. The head was tan and had little to no retention or lacing. The aroma was sweet, nutty, very malty with a hint of ripe cherry. The flavor profile had notes of toasted grains, toffee, and caramel. I also detected a woodsy/oaky note, along with a fruity sweetness. In my first sip, I got notes of banana and nuts, but as I was further along in the pint, I also got esters of stone fruits like plum or cherry.

The finish on this beer was the only part that didn’t sit all that well for me. I found there to be a slight astringency that I felt clashed with the rest of the flavors of the beer. I can’t say, in this instance, if it was the result of a technical fault or just how my pallet perceived the beer, but it was an off note to an otherwise enjoyable pint. Fortunately, astringency in beer dissipates with age, so I would not be opposed to giving A Beer For Geoff another go at GABF.

I reached out to Großen Bart via Facebook Messenger to try to glean a few more details about A Beer For Geoff. They’d partnered with home brewer Jay Watford of Fort Collins, whose Scotch Ale Recipe won a home brewing competition hosted by the Indian Peak Alers.

When I asked about how Großen Bart and Mr. Watford collaborated on the recipe I learned that the rules in ProAm beer competition are very clear, the home brewer’s recipe should be followed as closely as possible. The brewery shouldn’t make changes to the grains, hops, water chemistry, boil etc. The brewery mostly assists in taking a recipe designed for five gallon batches and scales it to brew on a five barrel (155 gallon) system. For A Beer For Geoff, the only thing that was done differently for the larger scale was boil time— worts (the sweet infusion of ground malts or other grain before fermentation) are normally boiled for about an hour, where as this beer boiled for three in order to fully caramelize all the sugars and achieve the desired mouthfeel and texture. What I found impressive, with the extended boil time was how well they controlled the temperature. Sugars can go from caramelized and sweet to burnt and nasty in a split second, and it takes a lot of precision to get the exact level of deep caramelization without burning or scorching the sugars.

I asked Großen Bart what attracted them to Mr. Watford’s A Beer For Geoff. For them, it was the style that caught Großen Bart’s attention. Having had extensive experience brewing English/Scottish style ales in the UK, they wanted the opportunity to work with the style stateside. When I asked how A Beer For Geoff fits in with the rest of the beer line up, Großen Bart’s response was, “while they do focus on their four core beers, they want to brew as many different styles as they can to appeal to a wider variety of people.”

Until next week…