I've had a few pints now so I suppose I can provide some feedback regarding the Late Summit American Brown Ale I brewed last month. It came out pretty good and I would love to pour a glass for all of you.
Appearance: Dark, cloudy (muddy) brown. Decent, off-white head.
Aroma: There was no dry-hopping so there is no hop smell. There is a slight aroma, that reminds me of some commercial beers I've had. Some malt sweetness.
Taste: Excellent. Reminds me of a good English ESB, but with more spicy hop presence. Chalky (in a good way) and malty. Tangy hop end.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Good carbonation and mouthfeel. Not too cloying. Slightly bitter with a dry finish.
Overall Impressions: I'm really happy with this beer. Might be my best yet. I think the darker malts brought the pH of the mash down, closer to what it should be (~5.2). The beer reminds me of some commercial beers I've had. The off-white head and retention looks like some of my favorites, though I'm not an expert in brown ales.
The taste causes me to keep drinking (i.e., it is very drinkable). In fact, the first beer I opened was gone in minutes; I couldn't stop tasting. I'm currently drinking the third or fourth from the batch, after nearly three weeks of bottle conditioning, and it tastes great.
I'm not sure about the appearance though. It is cloudy and I don't know if that is protein haze or if that is the way it is supposed to look. Jamil's recipe, which this beer is based on, is called, "Dirty Water Brown" after all.
This last weekend I delivered two bottles to to be entered in the New York State Fair Homebrew Competition, which is hosted by the Salt City Brew Club. The entry fee is only $6 and I will receive feedback on my beer (as a BJCP sanctioned event). I don't expect to place at all, but I should get a ribbon and one ticket to the Fair. I wanted to enter the beer so that I could have the experience of at least entering a beer competition. There are other competitions in New York that I can enter at a later time. I was happy that my early tasting of the Late Summit beer suggested something half-way decent to enter into the competition. (I thought my Cream Ale was just too cloudy to be considered.) I'll keep you posted.
The New York State Homebrewer of the Year site has more information on New York State homebrew competitions. There are links to various club/competition web pages. At some point I may sift through the sites and post an overview of the competitions and their (typical) deadlines.