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2013 Homebrew Competition and AHA Rally, Stone Brewing Company

The date was March 16, 2013.  The place was Stone Brewing Company is Escondido, California.

This past Saturday marked the annual homebrew competition and AHA rally hosted in the gardens of Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California.  The 3 hour event was open to current AHA members and those who wanted to register right there on the spot.  The homebrew competition consisted of 30 entries and required 3 to 5 gallons to participate.  A fellow homebrewer and I entered the competition with an american pale ale (Relentless) and a weizen (Backyard Citrusweizen).  Although we did not win, both of these and several other offerings were perfectly suited for the warm, sunny day in the Stone gardens!

Beers 1 - 24

Hey, there’s Ken Schwartz in the background…winner of last year’s competition with his Mint Chocolate Stout.

The crew from Stone did a great job with the set up of entries with 3 sections of 10 offerings.  The kegs in each section were kept perfectly cold and were running off a single CO2 tank and manifold for serving.  Unfortunately though, some of the beers were pouring extremely foamy or very under-carbonated.  For example, number 25 Graham Slam, poured almost entirely flat with exception of a few large bubbles swirling around the top of the pour and beer number 1 poured with nothing but foam!  I never did hear if these swings in carbonation were a result of Stone or the individual brewer’s handling of the beer prior to the event.

Here was the line-up of 30 offerings up for judging by the participants:

Beers in the competition included:

1.  Big Ice Small Wood Ale – 13.25%

Ice Brewed Wood Aged Blended Old Ale

2.  The Red Baron – 5.8%

Red Ale

3.  Dangerzone! – 4.5%

West Coast Pale Ale

4.  Vanilla Chai Latte – 10.6%

Spiced Imperial Milk Stout

5.  Bonne Nuit Saison – 8.3%


6.  Bitter Sweet Symphony – 9.4%

Double Oat IPL

7.  Touch of Evil – 8%

Imperial Stout with Habaneros

8.  The Rising of the Dog-Star – 10%


9.  Cup of The Old Chai, Sir? – 6.2%

Spiced Imperial Milk Stout

10.  Relentless – 6.9%

American Pale Ale

11.  Imperial Bourbon Vanilla California Common – 7%

Wood Aged California Common

12.  Hop N Oats Maneater IPA – 6.5%

American IPA\

13.  Dr. J’s Rye Tonic – 11%

Rye Barleywine

14.  Grey’s Kumquat DIPA – 9.2%

Imperial IPA

15.  Muir’s Golden Trout Ale – 5%

Herb/Golden Ale

16.  Mango Habanero IPA – 7%

IPA with Mango/Habanero

17.  Backyard Citrusweizen – 5.4%

Weizen 15A

18.  Fat Crabby – 7%

Chilli-Saison Spice Beer

19.  Orangutang – 7.7%

Citra Hopped Double IPA

20.  Pina Colada IPA – 6.8%

Belgian Specialty IPA

21.  Rusty Lager – 4%

American Lager

22.  Close but No Cigar – Cucumber Saison – 6.5%

Vegetable Saison

23.  Chamotion Witbier – 5%


24.  Vanilla Oaked Bourbon Ale – 7.7%

Specialty Beer

25.  Graham Slam – 7.1%

Oatmeal Graham Cracker Stout

26.  Pineapple IPA – 7%


27.  Black IPA – 6%


28.  Coconut IPA – 7.2%


29.  1337 Chirportle – 7%


30.  Mayan Achocalypse – 13%

Imperial Stout with Aztec Spices and Annatto

The official line-up of home brews for the day.

The official line-up of home brews for the day.

Voting for the best beers was done by the rally participants.  Therefore, there were no BJCP judges or guidelines to really follow.  If the event was geared towards BJCP categories, I interpreted the breakdown of 30 beers to be 11 specialty (category 23), 5 spice, herb, vegetable (category 21) with the remainder of the field representing a wide range of other categories.  Below is a breakdown of my interpretation of the how the offerings might fit into the BJCP style guidelines:

  • Specialty: 11 (6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30)
  • Spice, herb, vegetable: 5 (4, 9, 15, 18, 22)
  • Wood aged: 2 (1, 11)
  • American Pale Ale: 2 (3, 10)
  • American Amber Ale: 1 (2)
  • Lite American Lager: 1 (21)
  • Porter: 1 (29)
  • Witbier: 1 (23)
  • Weizen: 1 (17)
  • Strong Ale (Barleywine): 1 (13)
  • Belgian Specialty: 1 (20)
  • Saison: 1 (5)
  • Imperial IPA: 1 (19)
  • American IPA: 1 (12)
SP and some of the crew for the day enjoying the beer!

SP and some of the crew for the day enjoying the beer!

The specialty category brought the highest number of entries in the competition.  Six of those were base IPAs that featured a variety of specialty ingredients including mangos, pineapples, pina colada, kumquats, coconut, mango, honey (braggot), and habanero peppers.  The category with the second largest number of entries featured ingredients such as cucumbers and chill spices.


Enjoying the perfect “10” – beer number ten that is!

After a long series of raffle drawings by the AHA, it was time for the winners to be announced (there must have been an hour’s worth of drawing numbers for this portion of the event).  When it was all over, the top 3 finishers fell into the specialty category with the coconut IPA edging out the vanilla chai latte brew.  Congratulations to the winning brewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan for their award winning coconut IPA.  You can also check out the Stone blog’s coverage of the event here: http://blog.stonebrew.com/index.php/2013-collaborations.

Our entire group!

Our entire group!

All in all, I found the rally to be a good time, although extremely crowded.  Mostly because Stone crammed the event into the “first garden section” that you come to off the restaurant’s patio.  The rest of the garden was open for roaming, but all of the home brews and judging were situated in one small area.  As an avid home brewer and beer geek, I look forward to seeing (and tasting) more of Robert and Ryan’s coconut IPA and the line-up of competitors for next year’s event.




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