Back in the saddle again

Well, I finally did it. I combined malt, water, and hops in a big pot and brought it to a boil.

Yes, for the first time in almost 6 months, there's beer in that thar fermenter. It's a Scottish ale, and while the target gravity didn't turn out where I thought it would (which is something of a surprise when you're brewing with malt extract instead of all-grain), it's still in the proper range for an export (80 shilling) ale.

That is, according to the BJCP. I should know, because as of this week I'm officially a Recognized BJCP beer judge. We took the test back in April, and have been waiting more-or-less patiently for the results. I'm happy to say that I scored high enough—but just barely—that with a little more judging experience under my belt I'll automatically qualify for a promotion in rank to Certified. To get any higher than that, though, I'll have to take the test again (and do better, of course). However, I'll also need more than ten times the amount of experience I already have, so I don't think this will be a concern any time soon.