DSBC is ready to defend the title at the 2nd annual Battle of the Beer Geeks

Posted: March 16, 2015 by Brandon Daniel in ABQ Beer Week 2015, Beer Science
Tags: ,

The urge to drink a dark, burly, roasty, rich behemoth of a stout never seems to abandon us folks here in the DSBC; which is a good thing, otherwise we might have to consider changing our name. Anyway, we collectively have been asking ourselves what would fit in the next big beer we brew at home, with lots of solid recipe ideas being thrown around. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long to put those ideas to good use, as Tractor Brewing’s Second Annual Battle of the Beer Geeks is rapidly approaching.

Well hello there: We return for another session on Tractor's pilot brewing system.

Well hello there: We return for another session on Tractor’s pilot brewing system.

For those who didn’t get to attend or are new to the ABQ Beer Week shenanigans, Tractor was gracious enough last May to host us — as well as other NM beer groups including the Babes in Brewland, NM Wort Hogs, ABQ Craft Beer Drinkers, and the Dukes of Ale — for a day of brewing on their small batch pilot system. That’s right, they allowed us to raid their ingredients and brew our very own recipes, which were then served up as samples to the public for a nominal fee, with each patron able to choose a full pint of their favorite to determine the winner.  Pretty awesome concept, eh?

Oh, and again, if you weren’t there … WE WON! The Dark Side Brew Crew took home the Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robot trophy (yes, seriously, how awesome is that?). Up against some stiff competition, our burly Hammer Smashed Stout took home the win as voted on by the public. Pretty cool stuff!

Now jump ahead to Friday, March 6, and the Crew gathered again at Tractor for our brew day. With brewer Josh Campbell lending his expertise, just as last year, we had solid help, which we found out a few days before would be much needed.

Brandon, left, getting in the way gathering social media content while Franz stirs in the mash.

Brandon, left, getting in the way gathering social media content while Franz stirs in the mash.

Before I do the complete reveal of our beer, I have to preface it by saying the recipe we designed was all calculation-based and something none of us have actually ever done before, in terms of batch size and some ingredients. Alas, we got an email back from head brewer David Hargis a few days prior saying that our grain bill would be a bit too big for the equipment to yield a decent return. We all had a laugh at the fact that our beer was already TOO big, even in theory. Both us and Dave and Josh returned to the drawing board, and in the end were able to come up with a few minor tweaks that we are all happy with. Thus, we can finally announce (although I’m sure it has already been known to most) our entry for this year’s Battle of the Beer Geeks …


Ladies and gentleman, this beer would make Motley Crue proud, as it will kickstart your heart! You want big roasted malt flavors? You got it. Need some caramel and biscuit notes in there, too? We got that as well. We have all of these things in large quantities, but that’s not all. You want chocolate? How about coffee? Done and done, as we added copious amounts of bakers dark chocolate and plenty of coffee for that extra kick. What else would a Donutbrau be if it didn’t have coffee and chocolate? Thus, you have the Darkside Donutbrau, a breakfast stout of our own creation.

It turned out to be a fun brew day for Stoutmeister, Franz Solo, and myself (sadly, the rest of the Crew could not attend). I can easily say we all learned some valuable lessons with this recipe. As a result, a few notes:

  • I made a complete and utter mess of my kitchen at home in the days prior, as I cold pressed MASS amounts of coffee for this brew. While I don’t want to reveal our whole recipe, I will say that cold brewing is definitely a good plan when it comes to incorporating coffee into any beer.

    WOWZERS: Stoutmeister taking himself seriously.  We did have a pint or two...

    WOWZERS: Stoutmeister taking himself seriously. We did have a pint or two …

  • While coffee was a bit easier, chocolate was not. As a matter of fact, with a small amount of unmelted chocolate having settled into the ball valve drain on the kettle after we were chilling the wort, we were unable to finish pumping the last of the batch into the fermenter. Dave and Josh simply gave each other a look, grabbed the kettle and dumped the rest of the wort in the fermenter. Hey, sometimes you have to go old school!
  • Always remember equipment limitations when it comes to the size of your grain bill, batch size, etc., kids!

Overall, we here in the Crew feel we put in a good day’s work, and also created a worthy successor to last year’s Hammer Smashed Stout. Who knows what the outcome will be for this year’s competition? Last year had some great unique offerings from the other groups, so what I do know is that the voting public will be the winners, as they get to indulge in some tasty small batch beers brewed by some of Albuquerque’s renowned beer groups. Join us on May 25 (that’s Memorial Day) between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to help vote for the winner!


— Brandon Daniel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s