Thinking about the spring before winter has truly started

Every chance I have I publicize my guidelines for seasonal beer. Is it over the top? Maybe. Is it something I am passionate about? You betcha! Is my indignation exaggerate as part of an act? Probably, we are just talking about beer after all.


I have already brewed a new winter seasonal beer, what hopefully will be one of my flagships, and I have a couple other batches I already have ingredients for another couple of batches. Once those are brewed it will be January and it will be time to start on beers for the spring to make sure they are ready for the middle of February.

Last year I took a break from brewing right around when it was time to brew my spring beers. The year before I brewed a couple of Irish beers that I thought were legitimately excellent. I am excited to finally have the chance to brew those again applying all I have learned in the two years since I brewed the original batches.

I also brewed a witbier that was decent but was littered with rookie mistakes. Allagash founder Rob Tod recently shared 5 Tips to Brew a Better Witbier and I ran afoul of two of them. Tip 1 was to use light colored malts. As I learned and a friend who recently brewed a Blue Moon Clone kit experienced, wheat malt extract is almost always dark, especially if it is older and oxidized. It is certainly darker than white wheat malt. That won’t effect the flavor, but the finished beer will not have the same beautiful, almost white appearance. I also went way overboard with the spice editions. The finished beer was brownish with a muddled flavor. I may well brew this after I finish the Irish beers.

Last night I revisited the old Irish recipes and already started tinkering. I was trying to remember exactly how it looked and tasted to see what I could do to improve it. I suspect I will continue to come back to these recipes for the next few weeks before I finalize everything and buy ingredients next month.