Part 1: An Assessment of 2012
If you have been following my brewing for at least a year, or if you made the point to read some of my old posts you will see one of them itemizes some brewing goals for 2012.
I admittedly didn’t pay much attention to this list specifically, they were just things that were in the back of my head. Some of these goals I accomplished naturally, forgetting I ever made them – others not so much.
1 – Perform step infusion mash
Nope. Did not happen. All of my beers this year were single infusion. How plain is that? To my credit it is difficult to do these things without a recirculating mash system, or at least a pump if I were to do decoction mashes. Either way. It didn’t happen. I’m not so concerned. When I implement my plans for a future system they will include the pumps and a recirculating mash system which make this sort of thing easy.
2 – Grow my own hops
Also did not happen. I ordered rhizomes for the spring and realized realistically, the only place I could grow them was at my parents place in Peterborough. To properly grow them I would also need to be around to keep an eye on them… water, fertilize, and most importantly guide them up the trellis. I ended up giving the rhizomes to some friends with a farm. Some of them ended up growing, others not. I don’t believe they were harvested this year, maybe I will see about making a wet hopped beer with them next Fall, but truly it’s a lot of work and I found myself with not quite enough brewing time this year… so we’ll see how it goes. For now I thinking making my own beer is industrious enough without growing the ingredients – agreed?
3 – Enter a beer competition
I did not enter any competitions this year. Though, there is a friendly one between two homebrew clubs that I hope to submit 1, 2 or 3 entries to in January. Mind you, I really need to get on those entries. I’m not sure if I will definitely have more than 1 done. In summary: close but not no cigar.
4 – Brew a beer over 7.5% ABV
Finally! something I did. My Duvel clone (“Belgian Gold“) has an estimated ABV of 8.5%. Nailed it.
5 – Make use of specialty yeasts/make a Belgian
See above – two birds stoned with one hit… wait… what?
6 – Brew a honey lager
I did this one too! But it turned out sub-par. I blame stale ingredients and bland honey.
7 – Try out some new malts
Yup! First uses of Maris Otter, Pilsner and Vienna malts!
8 – Create recipes with particular styles in mind.
I am surprised I didn’t always do this. I guess I was just a free spirit. I now use the software Beersmith to help me out with staying in style. You can see that all of my recipes now include style guidelines for bitterness, colour, residual sugar, etc. I definitely feel like this is bringing me to a new level in brewing.
9 – Brew >190 gallons of beer
This one is lofty, and without even calculating I can tell you no – this did not happen. Partly because I was ‘kept in beer’ for the early half of 2012 by the huge amount of brewing in 2011. I brewed a honey lager (not that great), a wheat porter (also not good), an IPA (decent), a Belgian strong ale (so far so good), a Vienna-like lager (still lagering…) and have [tentative] plans to brew an Extra Special Bitter, an American Pale Ale, and an American Amber Ale next week. In total that puts me at 8 brews at ~13.5 gals each. So 108 gallons. Not bad. I can do better.
With all of this in mind, watch out for a 2013 goals post shortly!