Hopaholics Score Two Medals at State Fair

Mike Henderson and Dale Goulette, two longstanding members of the Parker HopAholics, had a pretty good time at this year’s Colorado State Fair.  Two versions of their “M&D Wee Heavy” took first and third place in the Scottish Ale category during the 2017 Homebrew Competition, held as part of the main Fair that took place August 24 through September 3 in Pueblo.  The homebrew winners were notified on August 24 and received their medals by mail shortly thereafter.  “Pretty nice medals, too,” noted Dale.

I recently met up with both at Mike Henderson’s home as they brewed another 10 gallon batch in his garage.  They have collaborated on an interesting customized RIMS/HERMS* style brewing system that recirculates mash heated by an external burner during sparging.  The full mash is also recirculated during the boil.  This approach requires that a great deal of attention be paid to the temperature gauges throughout the process.

Monitoring the system

Mike and Dale started out using a RIMS approach and have become proficient with the various equipment connections and overall process. Another favorite brewing implement is the Blichmann Therminator, a stainless plate wort chiller.  According to Mike, “It works so well that in colder weather we have to keep an eye on the chilled wort so it doesn’t get too cold.” This day, the chilling process took less than 14 minutes for the ten gallon batch.

As the brew day evolved, I asked about the two winning entries, especially the recipes. “They’re the same recipe,” Mike told me. “One is a year older, brewed in 2016, and the other was brewed earlier this year.”  Turns out that Mike’s son, Mike Jr., who is a beer judge, suggested that they enter the same beer twice, as different judges will sometimes rate the same beer very differently. “Best advice we received,” says Dale.  The 2016 version took first place; the 2017 batch third.  HopAholics who attended the intra-club Winter Beer competition held last November at Two22 Brewing Company would recognize the earlier version; it took first place that night.  “So why are you making more?”, I asked.  “Because we ran out,” was the response.  Stupid question.

M&D Wee Heavy Scottish Ale has a target OG of 1.100 and finished at 1.026, with an ABV of 9.7%. Just the thing for the coming colder weather.  Expect to see – and taste – it again if another winter beer competition is in the club’s near future.  The recipe was posted last November in the “Recipes” section of the “Forums” page on our website.

*RIMS, or Recirculating Infusion Mash System; HERMS, or Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System

Therminator plate wort chiler

Mike tends the mash

Deer gotta eat…


A good brew dog like Asteria always helps clean up!