Wednesday evening saw the 4th year of the Strong Island Home Brew competition at Little Johnny Russells and we were not disappointed. The best turnout of any year so far, and the quality was improved across the board to match the strong numbers.
A total of 12 entries were submitted to the restricted brew category with the winner being brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers and 4 entries battled it out in the unrestricted category which saw two lagers go up against two ciders.
The restricted ale category was a very tough choice for the judges Malcolm Irving and Stuart Ainsworth. Honourable mentions went to Kassassin Street Brewery’s Homegrown and Pig & Pirate’s Darkside Mild. Third place went to Pig & Pirate’s New World Pale Ale, second place was claimed by Shed Brew for their White S beer and the eventual winner was taken by last years winner also, Tyler Griffin, with his Malaccan Pirate Black IPA.
With his winning brew, Tyler aimed to pay homage to BrewDog’s Libertine Black Ale and the controversial style often referred to as a Black IPA. The recipe resembles an American IPA with prominent citrus, floral, and piney aromas, but modifies the grain bill via the inclusion of de-husked black malt. The adjustment conjures an opaque black colour while offering a subtle roastiness to the balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. He says he has found that the style affords little margin for error in achieving the correct balance. The precarious balance gives rise to the name, Malaccan Pirate, which respects the treacherous shipping strait between Malaysia and Indonesia.
Malaccan Pirate will now go on to be brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers in late spring and will debut here at Portsmouth Beer Festival before hitting the pumps around Portsmouth & Southsea and surrounding areas. Strong Island wanted to say a huge thank you to all who took part and everyone who has supported the event. The organisers were very happy with the turnout and the quality of the entries and are very much looking forward to the 5th year of the competition next year.