Bonus Round: The Brew-Off

The Bonus Round of the 2008 Mancathlon – “The Brew-Off” – was held in AJ’s Backyard on Sunday 9th November and was contested by the following Mancathletes:
Brydon Price, Rodney MacFarlane, AJ Sutton, Thomas Rowe, Conrad Blight, Gareth Ballard, Leighton Agnew, Dr Kirk Stevens, Stuart Brooke & Simon Judkins. 
Pulling a 2.5 tonne truck loaded with tyres across a carpark, now that shit’s 100% guaranteed to bring a man’s thirst on. And what better way to quench that raging desire for liquid refreshment than with a delicious, icy cold homebrew. Mmmm. Thinking about it right now aintcha? Uh-huh, that’s right, you are…
This year’s bonus round spanned the entire length of the Mancathlon competition, with 10 Mancathletes taking up the challenge in their garages, kitchens & subterranean mancaves. Brew kits were purchased, research undertaken (beer was drunk), equipment sterilised, water boiled, malts & yeasts added, watches watched as days went by, brews bubbling passionately within fermenters, then bottles were bottled and finally came the waiting game as beers matured & conditioned over the many weeks of tough, Mancathletic competition. Questions raced constantly through the highly-tuned minds of these elite sportsmen… Would my brew look & taste like gritty horse piss? Or would it emerge as a thing of vast, incredible deliciousness? Is 5 days prior to the comp enough time for my lager to mature in bottle? Can I get pregnant from a spa pool? 
On a fine November’s day, the 10 amateur brewmasters assembled in a Grey Lynn backyard while their beers sat chilling to perfection in the enormous Icy Tek Chillmaster 3000 and the 3 heavyweight Celebrity Judges were arrayed before them shuffling notes, sharpening pencils & cleansing their palettes with vodka, steel wool & toothbrushes. The concept behind the judging panel was powerfully simple – Judge 1 was Natasha – “A Pro Brewer”, Judge 2 was Rachel – “A Homebrew Expert” & Judge 3 was the venerable Uncle Marty – “A Good Man Who Likes A Cold Beer”. The judges would appraise each beer in turn, based on the following 5 categories (each one out of 10 points) – Aroma, Appearance, Taste, Aftertaste and True to Type (a.k.a. How well it represented the style it purported to be). 
Each competitor strode forward one by one according to the randomised draw, with shaking hands and sweat soaked foreheads, to present their boozy labour of love to our incorruptible judges. Included below are each judge’s total points out of a possible 50 as well as their commentary on each man’s brew. Where comments were illegible, stars are included in their place.
1. Brydon Price – Pilsener
Judge 1: Good honey notes, slight hops, lacking in bitterness for a Pilsener. Finish a little rough. Too ***** on pour, cloudy. Not too bad for a home brew though. 26/50
Judge 2: Lively honeyed aroma, slightly cloudy, good body & balanced. Amazing label. 38/50
Judge 3: Predictably good. 33/50
Total: 97  (1 Mancathlon Point earned)
2. Rodney MacFarlane – Brown Ale
Judge 1: Harsh vinegar / acetone aroma/ Good ***** cloudy – lacking head retention. Bit flat. Touch thin in body with rough vinegary finish. Better luck next year though. :-)  18/50
Judge 2: Pleasant nutty aroma, long finish, balanced. A little light bodied. 36/50
Judge 3: Seems very genuine. 32/50
Total: 86
3. AJ Sutton – Indian Pale Ale
Judge 1: Great clarity, good head retention, CO2 – great not too ***** flat. Good hoppy aroma, good bitterness in keeping with a Pale Ale. Slightly rough vinegar finish. 34/50
Judge 2: Tastes like a summer edition spiced ale. Nice balance, nice body. 33/50
Judge 3: So much better than Tui East Indian Pale Ale. 33/50
Total: 100  (2 Mancathlon Points earned)
4. Thomas Rowe – Lager
Judge 1: Harsh green apples, acealehyde, **** like aroma. Great appearance, head. Clarity a little off. Harsh after taste, and powerful vinegar taste. 22/50
Judge 2: Burnt kind of aroma, body ok, quite lively. 39/50
Judge 3: Prefer others to this but don’t dismiss. 26/50
Total: 87
5. Conrad Blight – Indian Pale Ale
Judge 1: Cloudy, lacking in head, nice hoppy aroma, tad thin in body, slight bitterness from hops but not enough for a Pale Ale. Finish a tad rough. 28/50
Judge 2: Quite cloudy, not unpleasant flavour. Probably would improve with age. 25/50
Judge 3: Seems like a very nice drop. Wish I had this years ago. 39/50
Total: 92
6. Gareth Ballard – Mexican Cerveza
Judge 1: Good clarity & head attention, harsh vinegar cider aroma & taste. Good body. After taste o.k. 23/50
Judge 2: Good clarity, a little hoppy, good body. 32/50
Judge 3: Could spend some time with this but not in Mexico. 33/50
Total: 88
7. Leighton Agnew – Continental Pilsener
Judge 1: Quite *****, head retention v. good. Good clarity, good hoppy aroma, good body, clean crisp taste – good after *****. Excellent – could be a bit more bitter for a Pilsener. 36/50
Judge 2: Big head. Great balance and flavour. 42/50
Judge 3: Thanks for coming in. 34/50
Total: 112  (4 Mancathlon Points earned)
8. Dr Kirk Stevens – Lager
Judge 1: Good clarity, head retention good on pour, collapses away. Harsh acetone / vinegar in aroma. Thin, vinegary, sour after taste. O.k. Great label. :-) 23/50
Judge 2: Big head. Ok flavour. Not so balanced. 30/50
Judge 3: Just what the Doctor prescribed. 35/50
Total: 88
9. Stuart Brooke – All Malt Red Ale
Judge 1: Great red colour, good clarity, head retention o.k but collapsed away too soon. Good dark malty aroma with background hops, full body, good clean finish. Excellent. 41/50
Judge 2: Very pleasant slightly nutty flavour. Lacking head. Good body & balance. 37/50
Judge 3: Good malty taste. 36/50
Total: 114  (5 Mancathlon Points earned)
10. Simon Judkins – NZ Wheat Beer
Judge 1: Great head retention, great colour, good cloudiness. Slight orangey, yeasty aroma in keeping with wheat beer. Unfortunately masked heavily by harsh vinegary / acetone notes. Nice finish. 29/50
Judge 2: Quite malty for a wheat. Initial flavour true to type. 38/50
Judge 3: We shouldn’t have to drink Whitbier in Berlin. More of this. 36/50
Total: 103  (3 Mancathlon Points earned)
Thanks go out to AJ & his flatmates for hosting us in their lush Grey Lynn backyard. Extra Special Thanks go to our 3 Celebrity Judges – Natasha, Rachel & Uncle Marty, who gave freely of their time & expertise; ingesting our homebrew with brave faces, fixed grins & appropriate professional dignity at all times. Cheers!
MANCATHLON POINTS TABLE [After Nine Events & One Bonus Round]
Agnew (23)
Rowe (16)
Judkins (13)
Price (11.5)
Brooke (11)
Trail (11)
Blight (11)
Marshall (10)
Guthrie (10)
Sutton (8)
Stevens (8)
Keenan (6)
Short (4)
MacFarlane (3)
Watson (2.5)
Munro (1)
Gregg (1)
Reynolds (0)
Ballard (0)
The following Mancathletes prefer wine, or maybe a nice shandy on a hot day:
Jared Trail, Gavin Marshall, Phillip Guthrie, Dr Todd Keenan, Josh Short, Simon Watson, Shane Munro, Jason Gregg & Duncan Reynolds.  
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