2017 Rat Fest Competition Results

Well another Arbor Brewing Co. Rat Fest is in the books and unfortunately the Sons of Liberty didn’t bring home any major awards or hardware. We did however make a very good showing as the runner up for best group of beers for our Sour Raspberry Wheat Ale brewed by Dan Fick & John O’Connell, Cocoa & Toasted Coconut Stout by Laura & Mikal Morris, 
Mango Habanero Saison brewed by Mikal Morris & Bill Watson, and Citra-Nilla IPA brewed by Leigh McBain & Jeff Burchart. Our club also was the 
runner up for best over all beer for the Citra-Nilla IPA. (Full results below.)

We would like to thank everyone that participated and for everyone that came out and supported the Sons of Liberty in the competition. Also Congratulations too all the homebrew clubs that participated in this year’s competition, everyone certainly brought their A game.

Best Over All Beer: Burns Park – Chamripple
Runner up – Sons of Liberty – CItra-Nilla
Best Group of Beers: Burns Park
Runner up: Sons of Liberty
Best Sour Beer: Burns Park – Chamripple
Runner up: Pontiac Brew Tribe – Moonshot Beer
Best Club Theme: Burns Park
Runner Up: Pontiac Brew Tribe
Most Unique Beer: Brighton Brew Club – Funky Beets
Runner Up: AABG Maltsters – Saison Guac

Citra-Nilla IPA

Back in 2015 I started to create this recipe for the Bell’s annual Homebrew Competition.  I was already thinking of doing something different by using Citra hops, since I had recently had a couple of different beers that used Citra and I really enjoyed them and I was thinking of a unique way that I could use them in a beer. With the citrusy, tropical fruity flavor that Citra hops have I felt it might be interesting to add vanilla to it to give it a little different flavor then what I had seen available.

With those 2 ingredients in mind I started looking at recipes that used the Citra hops and recipes and how best to incorporate the vanilla into it and make sure that the to try to put together a grain bill that would complement both.

Unfortunately the recipe didn’t make it into the final rounds of the Bells competition but I felt strongly that this was a good recipe to pursue and I continued to work on it and brewed it for the Michigan Homebrew Festival in August 2016. The feedback I got from every that tasted it told me this was a solid recipe and one that people kept coming back to get more of.

After some encouragement from my fellow Son’s of Liberty brewers and a little more tweaking I submitted it for the 2017 Arbor Brewing Co. Rat Fest and even though it didn’t take first place for best beer it did come in second out of 28 total beers that over 250 people voted on. Additionally I had a lot of comments and requests about how it was brewed and how the vanilla was added. So in response I have added the recipe here for all to enjoy, so cheers and if you end up brewing this recipe please let us know how it turned out.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5.5 gal 60 min 75.8 IBUs 10.4 SRM 1.067 1.012 7.4 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American IPA 14 B 1.056 - 1.075 1.01 - 1.018 40 - 70 6 - 15 2.2 - 2.7 5.5 - 7.5 %


Name Amount %
Pale Malt (2 Row) US 12 lbs 82.76
Caramunich Malt 1 lbs 6.9
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 8 oz 3.45
Melanoiden Malt 8 oz 3.45
Honey 8 oz 3.45


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Centennial 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 10
Citra 1 oz 40 min Boil Pellet 12
Citra 1 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 12
Citra 2 oz 0 min Aroma Pellet 12
Citra 2 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 12


Name Amount Time Use Type
Irish Moss 0.28 tsp 10 min Boil Fining
Yeast Nutrient 1.00 tsp 10 min Boil Other
Vanilla Bean 4.00 Items 7 days Secondary Spice


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Safale American (US-05) DCL/Fermentis 77% 59°F - 75°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 150°F 75 min


Step Time Temperature
Primary 14 days 67°F
Aging 30 days 65°F

Exciting Club News and Events

The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Stout that was brewed for the SOL Guest Tap is almost ready and we will have a tapping party at our next meeting on Monday February 6th at Liberty Street Brewing Company! Sons of Liberty Club members will be the first to taste this beer before it goes on tap to the general public so this is your opportunity to be one of the first to try out this great brew. I am really excited to have been able to coordinate this for the club and hope this is the first of many brews that we will be able have on tap at Liberty Street.

Also please remember that Rat Fest 2017 is coming up on Saturday, February 4th at Arbor Brewing Co. (Corner Brewery) In Ypsi. As you know we have 4 beers that we have brewed and we are really hoping that we have a strong turnout by our members.

If you are planning on attending RatFest 2017 and have yet to purchase a ticket Arbor Brewing has announced a homebrew club ticket sale competition. If you purchase your ticket at the microbrewery where the event is held tell them you’re attending as a member of Sons of Liberty HBC. Whichever homebrew club has the most attendees wins cash money. Call 734-480-2739, or visit the Ypsilanti location and ask the bartender or host for tickets.

Lastly we are working out the final details of our first ever SOL Homebrew Bash for club members on Saturday, March 11th at the Livonia VFW Hall on Plymouth Road and we will be sending out a link to an online signup form in the near future that will give details as far as cost and what will be provided as far as food and entertainment. We will need people to bring your home brew so please have something ready to share for the party. This should be a great evening filled with great beer, great food and of course great beer! So stay tuned.

Brewing Water

At our January club meeting Dan Fick gave a brief presentation on brewing water tips and the small things that you can do to make sure you have the best water for the style of beer you are making. Here in the Metro Detroit Area we are fortunate to have some of the best water to use for brewing we really don’t have to do much to it to make great beer. Below are some links and information both from the presentation and additional resources.

Detroit Water Quality reports

Brewing Water Presentation (Google Slides) 

Brun Water 1.17b w Detroit City Values (MS Excel)

Bru’n Water Website

March Meeting with Annette May

nh_20150706_0004_copyGreetings Everyone, As I sit here typing this the snow is gently falling outside and I am anxiously awaiting Monday to come for one reason only, our monthly Sons of Liberty Home Brew Club Meeting! That’s right! This is the one Monday a month that you can actually look forward to and this one is even more special with our special guest speaker Annette May.

As some of you know Annette is deeply immersed in the craft beer and homebrewing culture and has been for over 20 years. She is both a BJCP judge and a Certified Cicerone® as well as an instructor in the Schoolcraft College Brewing & Distillation Technology Certificate Program, and works for the Cicerone Certification® program as an exam grader and exam proctor. Additionally she founded Know Beer LLC and is the events coordinator for Fermenta, Michigan Women’s Craft Collective. In short she knows her stuff.

Annette will be sharing a small bit of her knowledge with us on Monday at Liberty Street Brewing Company at 7pm and will be speaking to us about some of the changes to the BJCP guidelines and what this means to us as brewers.

If you have a copy of the 2015 BJCP Guidelines please bring it with you for a reference. If you don’t have it yet you can download it from http://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf. There are also mobile apps for download on both iOS and Android for your phone or tablet.

This meeting is open to anyone interested in attending so please share. All guests will need to bring a completed guest waiver with them to the meeting which is available on our website.

Looking forward to seeing you all there,

Cheers and Happy Brewing