That’s what I named my Christmas beer. It’s a pretty good beer. The main detractor from the Christmas beer was that when I Christmassed it, I over bittered. The beer is an Arrogant Bastard clone, and so is sufficiently bitter already. Then I added the orange peel and curacao (along with everything else), which sealed the deal. Consequently, I had to sweeten it with 4oz of milk sugar (lactose). It worked very nicely, the beer has a sweet front end and a very balanced bitter finish. Bitterness does pass with time, so it was important not to over-compensate on the sweet side.
Old Christmas Bastard was well-received by friends and family and all that remains is three twenty-two ounce bullets. In addition, I entered the beer in the Wizard of Saaz competition which concluded recently, and, unfortunately, by some cosmic mistake, the beer was not judged in the competition. The message from Mike Yingling read, partially, as there was a “screw up in the cellar. The beer was on the pull sheet but the stewards & cellar master must have made a mistake. I’m very sorry your beer was not judged.” However, I am far more interested the evaluation of the beer, and Mike emailed to tell me that it would be reviewed and the results sent.
So, there goes the first competition; but that was the first for me. There will be many more, now. I’m very interested in getting the feedback on my beers as, when you brew for a long time, as I have, you get into certain habits of approach to the brewing process. I try as much as I can to read and adjust and experiment, but at the end of the day my brew session is to get the beer brewed so I can drink it! Competitions will help point out areas that are weak and push me in the direction of exploring more intensely the questions of the process.