TENSIONS and other things are brewing in the Golden Valley as villagers prepare for another annual sloe gin competition.

Dorstone householders, who claim to be “obsessed” with the traditional past-time, will unveil their latest stock later this month.

In addition supporters and locals who regularly welcome in more than 50 entrants a year are also once again looking forward to sampling a variety of gins from some of the nation’s most prestigious producers.

“It starts each autumn when villagers begin foraging the hedgerows, each person closely guarding the location of their favourite sloe picking spot,” organiser Zoe McLean explained.

“Then the rumours of secret ingredients and sugar levels start to circulate - who has used value gin and who has opted for a premium brand. By January the tension always increases as we draw nearer to competition day.”

Each entry is blind tasted and marked out of five according to its colour, clarity and taste by more than 40 local participants.

Those perceived to be the best then receive a Top Tipple or Highly Commended rosette for their efforts, while the overall winner gets to lift the Grand Master of the Sloes pewter hipflask.

Less well-received entries - which are all categorised as either vintage or 2010 - will also receive the BioHazard wooden spoon.

Potential entrants can take 300mls or more of their home brew to the Pandy Inn for 8pm on Friday January 28, or email sloe@gingermac.com for more information.