BEERMKR Beer Wins GOLD at National Homebrew Competition
“Does BEERMKR make good beer?”
That is a question we hear a lot from brewers all over the world. And let's be honest, it’s a great question! BEERMKR makes a lot of pretty lofty claims. It’s a beer making machine that says it can do it all. It brews, ferments, carbonates and serves. It’s been described as the “Keurig of beer”, but also as a tool for the most experienced homebrewers. But most importantly, BEERMKR claims to make great beer. But does it?
We can definitively say, “It does!”. BEERMKR doesn’t just make great beer, it makes gold medal winning beer! We’re incredibly proud and excited to announce that one of our brewers won GOLD at this year's National Homebrew Competition with a beer brewed on a BEERMKR! Christian Chandler, of Phoenix, AZ (representing the Arizona Society of Homebrewers) brewed an American Porter on his BEERMKR that beat out 164 other entrants to win Gold in the Porters & Stouts category.
“I was in shock. 1% of people who enter get a medal, and there were 165 people who entered into my category. I just wanted to medal, it didn’t matter what color. But winning gold was pretty nice.” said Chandler, who is an active homebrewer and had been entering beers into the NHC event since 2015.
Why did he decide to brew his competition winning beer with BEERMKR?
Chandler is by no means new to brewing, and has his fair share of brewing equipment. “I did get a really nice 15-gallon brew pot. My Grainfather allowed me to brew inside during the summer, which is convenient and easy. I have a Keezer out in my garage for kegging, as well as a fermentation fridge with my Speidel fermenters.” So with all that equipment, why use BEERMKR? According to Chandler, there are a few advantages that come with using BEERMKR to brew his competition beers.
First, BEERMKRs small batches gave Chandler the freedom to experiment. “It’s fun to be able to experiment and play (with a recipe). To taste the different yeast profiles and the different treatments of the grain I did, which I would only have one shot at with a 5-gallon batch. I just think it’s nice that you have the ability to play around. If I make a batch on a 5-gallon system that I’m not too happy with, you know, that’s a lot of beer to get rid of.” On a BEERMKR, each batch is just a bit over 1 gallon of beer. That means every time Chandler makes an iteration of a recipe, he’s using less ingredients. And the simplicity of BEERMKRs system means he’s spending less time. So Chandler has the ability to test and “tweak on the fly” without the normal risk of wasting time and beer.
BEERMKRs system is also particularly suited for competition brewing, according to Chandler. The National Homebrew Competition normally judges the first round of entrants around March/April, then the final round takes place at the competition itself (though not this year, thanks COVID). That means if you advance out of the first round, “you basically have to re-brew your beer, unless it’s a beer that holds well”. Brewing consistent beer from round to round is often what dashes the hopes of contestants, “Reproducing the same beer over and over again, that can be a challenge. You can produce a great beer, but the next time you brew it, you know, something changes. Whether it’s your process, your ingredients, who knows?” BEERMKRs brewing and fermentation process solves this problem for brewers. BEERMKR is a completely self-contained and insulated environment that is constantly taking temperature and pressure readings, sending them back to the BEERMKR cloud, and analyzing the readings vs. where that beer should be in any given moment. That means that you can be sure that your times and temperatures are exactly as you planned.
What kind of beer did he brew?
“I modeled this beer after Founders Porter. I honestly think that’s the best porter that I’ve ever had”, said Chandler, in discussing how he started the recipe for his Gold Medal winning beer. “I like to start with somebody else's recipe and see if I can clone it, or change it if I want to change it, but really, I like to be able to do side-by-sides. Because if you can take world-class products and make something similar in your home, then you’re doing something right. That's what I did with this, I modeled my recipe after Founders, and that’s not a recipe that is readily available online. I did a lot of research, you know, I saw an email from a brewer at Founders and he gave some tweaks and things to try, but there was still a lot of grey area to fill in, so I just kept brewing and brewing multiple times until I got what I felt was close. And I was very happy with what I produced.”
Chandler isn’t alone in his approach to recipe development. BEERMKR has an array of MKRKITs available which have everything you need to make great beer, but the system is also completely open, so experienced brewers can start from scratch. Brewers all around the country have created new recipes on BEERMKR, whether they're inspired by world class commercial beers, their local brewery, or just want to try something new.
Was the beer good?
“Heck yeah it was good, I won a medal! I won a gold medal!” Apparently the judges agreed. They chose Chandler’s American Porter over 164 entries into the Stouts & Porters category, crowning him the winner of this year's National Homebrewing Competition.
If you want to give Christian’s beer a try, keep an eye out on the BEERMKR app store. We’re working on putting his recipe together right now, and we’ll be ready to launch his Gold Medal Porter MKRKIT in the coming weeks!
If you want to see the extended interview with Christian, check out the full video here.