Not Throwing Away Their Shot

Here are the 2017 Winners of the 20th Sam Adams Longshot competition:
Graham Johnson’s (Boston Beer employee) – Coffeehead Imperial Stout

“The beer in his own words:
Coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit notes on the nose. Strong, thick mouthfeel – coats your mouth. Finishes slightly sweet but doesn’t overpower the strong coffee essence.”

Duane Wilson’s (with co-brewer Mike Edwards) – Wild Child

“The beer in his own words:
I first get an aroma of fresh apricots. As you taste the beer you taste sour with a nice dryness. This morphs into the tartness of kumquats with a subtle apricot background followed by a lingering tartness on your tongue.”

David Cousino’s – Barnstorm Saison

“The beer in his own words:
A nice farmhouse ale with soft malt character, delicate floral notes, and a hint of pepper.”

I am glad that the hops were left out this year, though I wish that the Lichtenhainer that was in final consideration had made it to the final three.

The Longshot’s are In

One of the annual rites of GABF is the announcement of the Sam Adams Longshot winners. This year the chosen (2) homebrewers and (1) Sam Adams employee who will see their beers brewed on a super larger scale are:

David Cousino of Avon, OH, Saison – “Cousino began homebrewing 25 years ago in college and after a long break started brewing in earnest four years ago. He is a pharmacist and now the attention to detail in his profession shows in his homebrews. Koch says Cousino’s Saison has a soft malt character, delicate floral notes and a hint of pepper.”

Duane Wilson of Horseheads, NY, American Wild Ale – “Wilson and his co-brewer Mike Edwards have been brewing together for eight years and strive to improve on the styles they create. Wilson’s mixed-fermentation American wild ale is fruit forward with apricots and kumquats and finishes with a dry tartness.”

Graham Johnson of Marblehead, MA, Imperial Stout – “Johnson is the Samuel Adams employee home brew winner. The company opened up the competition to its employees because they are so passionate about beer and many of them brew at home. Johnson’s Imperial Stout uses whole coffee beans and chocolate and has decadent flavors of cocoa, espresso and hints of brandy and raisin. The taste finishes with touch of sweetness.”

It will be quite the task for a Wild Ale to be added to a mixed pack.

Now the waiting begins, the six-pack won’t arrive until spring of next year.

The Next Longshot

Each year at the Great American Beer Festival, the new winners of the Sam Adams Longshot competition are unveiled. Below are the three beers that we will see and taste in 2015.

Greg Rasmussen’s Robust Porter: “This traditional robust porter is full of complex malt flavors. The variety of malts in this beer contribute flavors of cocoa, coffee, toffee, and slight vanilla to create a wonderful roasted yet balanced beer. This gorgeous mahogany porter has a roasty and chocolate aroma. The beer is complemented by slight citrus and earthy notes from the US and UK hops.”

Matthew Knott’s Classic Rauchbier: “This deep copper colored Rauchbier has all of the flavors you would expect in this traditional style: smoky, slightly savory with a malty sweetness and roastiness. The smoky flavors are balanced by a light toffee malt character and slight citrus from the hops. The brew finishes with a lingering smokiness, sweetness and subtle hop character.

John Marra’s Dunkelweiss: This beer is brewed with a traditional Bavarian yeast that contributes to the variety of aromas and flavors. The aroma is characterized with notes of tropical fruits and clove. The malted wheat contributes a bright clean cereal note, which complements the spicy flavors of clove, nutmeg, banana and a slight sweetness.”

The Dunkelweiss is the one of the three that I am most looking forward to but kudos for selecting a Rauchbier.

Review – Longshot 2013

Three reviews in One!   from the Sam Adams / Boston Beer Co.  Here are my thoughts from the latest Longshot…..
Beerflower Wheat
Pours a medium orange color. Has a spicy and herbal taste. Somewhat reminiscent of Dr. Pepper. The hibiscus is tame here which is good because it can take over a beer. Not bad but two of three of this year’s longshots remind me more of soda than beer.
Strawberry Lager
Pop the cap and a blast of strawberry hits the air. It has a big strawberry taste that is pretty close to jolly rancher / candy flavor. It pours a medium yellow color and has a nice fizz to it. Just to sweeet to me and not much else there.
Magnificent 7 IPA
Probably the most disappointing of the group.  Pours a golden orange color.  Aroma is fine, just doesn’t knock my socks off.  Too much caramel here for my taste.  The hop bitterness is good but this group of 7 don’t coalesce on my palate.

Longshot 2013

Of the many regrets of GABF 2012 was missing the Sam Adams brunch which featured the new crop of LongShot winners. There is only one of me and I had put off a visit to New Belgium for too long. So here is a late but informative look at the new batch of LongShotter’s.

About the winners:
James Schirmer’s Beerflower Wheat is an ideal balance of smooth, sweet malt flavors with an exotic kick of citrus and herbal notes. Brewed with hot summer weather and fun gatherings in mind, this American wheat beer pours a dark amber color, and imparts a light floral and sweet aroma with the delicate flavors of hibiscus. Beerflower Wheat is a medium bodied brew that finishes crisp and refreshing on the palate.

Zack Adams ’ Magnificent Seven is a showcase of seven American hop varieties that impart a big piney and lingering resinous flavor. A true Imperial American IPA, this brew pours a rich bronze color. The slightly sweet malt character is pleasantly balanced by a pronounced hop bitterness with grapefruit, pine and earthy notes from the American hops. This medium-bodied IPA also delivers caramel, citrus, lemon and piney aromas.

Dave Anderson ’s Strawberry Lager is a bright and fresh wheat beer, with a strong strawberry character balanced with toffee and citrus notes – the brewer’s vision of the perfect summertime beer to enjoy after a round of golf on a hot day. Brewed with fresh strawberries, this beer pours a bright golden color and imparts a malty sweetness with hints of lemon and earthiness. Strawberry Lager finishes with a wonderful intensive strawberry flavor without being overwhelming and leaves a lingering creamy sweetness on the palate. Dave has worked as a member of the Samuel Adams Packaging Operations team since 2007.

Beer Review – Longshot – Derf’s Secret Alt

One of the yearly traditions that I stay on the look-out for is the release of the Sam Adams Longshot winners. We end the month with a secret….

Derf’s Secret Alt
Created by Samuel Adams Employee Fred Hessler
“Fred wanted to go big or go home with his homebrew and decided to brew a kicked up Sticke Alt. This full-bodied ale has a big, malty character balanced by subtle orange and grapefruit notes from the hops. With a light amber color, this brew has a sweet finish.”

Beer Review – Longshot – Five Crown Imperial Stout

One of the yearly traditions that I stay on the look-out for is the release of the Sam Adams Longshot winners. The second beer to be reviewed is an Imperial Stout….

Five Crown Imperial Stout
Created by Joe Formanek
“For the past 15 years, Joe has been brewing his Russian Imperial Stout. This malt-forward brew has a rich complexity, with roasty and chocolate notes, yet enough hop bitterness to balance out the sweetness. This satisfying winter brew is full-bodied with an enjoyable velvety smoothness.”

Beer Review – Longshot – A Dark Night in Munich

One of the yearly traditions that I stay on the look-out for is the release of the Sam Adams Longshot winners. And this year I will be reviewing all three and we start with….
A Dark Night in Munich
Created by Corey Martin
“Corey has been working on his Munich Dunkel for some time and the result is this amber, medium-bodied brew. With a nice malty backbone, this lager has roasty, slightly spicy notes and a traditional doughy character from the yeast. It is well worth the time he took to perfect it.”


Coming to a mixed 6-pack near you next spring are the newly crowned winners of the Sam Adams LongShot competition.

Russian Imperial Stout by Joe Formanek of Bolingbrook, IL

Munich Dunkel by Corey Martin of Round Rock, TX

Derf’s Secret (Sticke) Alt by Fred Hessler (employee)

Personally, I am looking forward to the last two, especially the Sticke.


Here is the info on this year’s LongShot winners!

“With the 2011 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest – Category 23 Variety six-pack hitting shelves this month, drinkers nationwide can taste the two innovative homebrews that triumphed over more than 700 competitors to win the 2010 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest. Samuel Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch tapped homebrewers nationwide to think outside the box and develop a “Category 23″ style beer unlike any other. Georgia resident Richard Roper’s Friar Hop Ale and Illinois resident Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops beer were named the 2010 winners at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

In addition to Richard and Rodney’s winning brews, Samuel Adams also honors Employee Homebrew Winner Caitlin DeClercq for her Honey B’s Lavender Wheat beer. All three winning homebrewers had the opportunity to brew alongside the Samuel Adams brewers in Boston. Their recipes were bottled and are now available nationally in the 2011 Samuel Adams LongShot American”