As I reflect on my past year as a brewer there were far more highs than lows. Most recently I moved up in BJCP rank from Recognized to Certified. I narrowly lost out on the People’s Choice award at Ales over ALS. After years of avoiding brewing IPAs, I learned a lot during my United States of IPA project. Since I started pointing my social media links to my Blogger page and monitoring traffic, those posts have been some of my most viewed. Speaking of learning, I learned so much at Homebrew Con 2016. I have already put in for the time off to go to Homebrew Con 2017 in Minneapolis, but who knows if we will be able to go.
In 2015 I scheduled and planned out my brews so my seasonal beers would be ready on time and to help me ensure I brewed the beers I wanted to brew. That worked great and I stuck with that schedule for most of the year until my house was overwhelmed with beer. I’ll call that one a qualified success.
Looking forward to 2017 I have a few Brew Year’s Resolutions I want to hit.
- Brew more big beers and sour beers: This is a carryover from last year. Dawson’s Kriek is still in a secondary fermenter and will be ready to bottle around February 1. Pyrite Pistol came out quite nice and garnered some decent scores in a competition, but then several bottles became infected. A couple were bottle bombs, many others were overly carbonated. Banshee Breakfast Stout is still in a secondary. I love the flavor of the beer, but the finish feels harsh. I can’t decide to dump it, blend it with a new batch of fresh beer, or bottle it and hope it mellows with age. I might have to bring a sample to the shop to get some advice. After those early batches I got away from brewing beers that benefit from extensive aging. I want to do more of that. Especially when our home is cooler during the winter months which helps make sure high gravity beers do not ferment at too warm of a temperature. Empty carboys are a waste!
- Perfect a house IPA recipe: Unless it has a very specific niche, any would-be brewer needs to have a flagship IPA. I ran a survey on Facebook and the site to see what kind of IPA people would want me to make and New England-style was the clear winner. Also, brewing in Beverly, MA our local water with its high chlorides is most conducive to brewing a New England IPA. I have brewed several New England Pale Ales and IPAs, it is time.to dial in one recipe that can be a house or a flagship IPA.
- Make other fermentable beverages and food: When I work Saturdays at the Modern Homebrew Emporium I feel I can answer most beer questions and help customer’s put together recipes. However if customers have questions about wine, mead (honey wine), or kombucha (fermented tea), I am out of my depth. I would like to dabble in other fermented beverages besides beer like I recently did with cider. Even if these are one-off batches I at least want to try once. The shop also sells cheese making kits. I purchased a kit for Jennie for Christmas a couple of years ago, but we never purchased the milk to make the cheese. I definitely want to do that with her soon.
- Enter more competitions: Another thing I wanted to do last year, but got away from. In the middle of the year I brewed six batches just for special events which didn’t leave leftover beer to ship out. I am starting to ramp my brewing up again and should have enough beer to enter into competitions. I have already entered Curly’s Pumpkin Milk Stout in a competition in Maine.
- Collaborate more: Regular readers know my cousin Andy and I try to brew every few months during the warm weather. We wanted to get one last batch of his house RyePA before the winter but haven’t quite pulled it off yet. I brewed the Utopias Barleywine with my friend Pat from the North Shore Brewers. In 2017 I would like my brewing to be less me alone in my kitchen, and more learning and collaborating with others.
I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a big year for me personally and professionally. As always, watch this space!