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Wednesday, 24 July 2013 02:13

Again on the cusp of a Longshot win

Written by 

esbdave2007

N
orth Jersey homebrewer
Dave Pobutkiewicz (pronounced POH-buh-kev-ich) has again advanced to the finals of Boston Beer Company's pro-am homebrew competition, finding further success with a hearty helles bock that has become one of his signature brews.

It's the second time for the 45-year-old homebrewer from Pompton Lakes (Passaic County). In 2007, the helles bock took Dave to Denver and Longshot contest judging at the Great American Beer Festival.

That brew didn't make it to the Samuel Adams Longshot mix six-pack release, a top prize for the annual contest; nor did Dave's visage land on the six-pack's carton along with the two other winners' faces. But the homebrew did bring Dave a runner-up standing that meant bragging rights to go along with the trip to Denver.

Six years later, Dave again finds his helles bock on the cusp of a Longshot victory as an eastern region finalist in the contest that Boston Beer opens up to homebrewers across the country and to its employees.

Dave says he was notified Tuesday (July 23) of the news by a contest coordinator, ahead of Boston Beer officially announcing the four finalists for 2013. Finalists' beers will be judged one more time in October at the GABF, where two homebrewers and a Boston Beer employee homebrewer will be named winners and their beers made for national distribution in the Longshot 12-pack next year.

"Today the phone rings, and she says, 'Well, I've got good news for you,' " he says.

A homebrewer for 15 years, Dave scored well with the helles bock in the Longshot contest last year, but missed the finalist cut.

Dave PobutkiewiczTwo years ago, he won the New Jersey State Fair homebrewer contest with it, earning the opportunity to brew the beer in commercial batch for the taps at Krogh's brewpub (Sparta), a sponsor of the contest. (If you were to check his kegs right now, you'd find a doppelbock, Russian imperial stout, a barleywine, and an ESB, a brew has earned him the nickname "ESB Dave" among his friends in the Defiant Homebrewers club.)

Dave usually brews the beer twice in succession, using the second batch as his contest entries.

"I always make two, and it's always the second one ... I've got so much yeast to re-pitch by then, everything is happy and healthy and cooled off ... It's always the second one that wins," he says.

The helles bock, hopped with Spalt (bittering) and Saaz (finish), has seen only minor variation in the times he has brewed it.

Dave Pobutkiewicz in Samuel Adams Longshot poster"It's the same 2 pounds of munich malt, 12 or 13 pounds of pilsner," Dave says. "This year, I actually used a mixture of bock and southern German yeast. The bock yeast must have taken over; it went to like 78 percent attenuation. I never get 78 percent attentuation on my lagers. But I don't use the bock yeast."

The beer finished at 7.5% ABV, even after a month of lagering. Its predecessor finished at 7.7%.

"So when I made the second one, I raised my mash temperature, just trying to get a little less fermentables, because I knew the yeast was tearing it up," Dave says.

 

Read 7721 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 August 2014 17:14

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