Sunday, January 4, 2009

Brew Year's Resolutions

It's hard to believe it's almost been a month since I last blogged! Despite the craziness of the holiday season, I did manage to keep brewing. Since my last post, I blew the Ahtnanum APA keg, blew the Red Hook Harvest clone experiment keg, brewed my version of Jamil's Evil Twin red ale, brewed Jamil's Irish red ale, brewed an IPA, and put off brewing an Oatmeal Stout so that I can recuperate today. Details about my brews:
  • Ahtanum APA: Bittered this with some Nugget then added 3 ounces late in the boil (1 oz each at 10, 5, and flameout). I used the same malt profile as usual for my APA (6 pounds Pilsen DME, .5 lb Caramel 60, .5 lb Carapils), but this beer was pretty blah. The Nugget did provide a nice clean bitterness, but the Ahtanum didn't provide nearly the citrus that I expected from reading the description. It tasted and smelled more flowery to me. It was still a good beer, but didn't really do it for me. I think I'll stick to Cascade and Centennial for my APA.
  • Red Hook clone: This beer turned out to not be real close to the original because there was too much roasted barley. However, I really liked this beer alot. It wasn't really a session beer, but it was a great fall or winter brew. This was probably one of the most balanced beers I've brewed so far. There was a nice roasty and smoky backbone to this one with just enough hops to balance it out. Style wise, I'm not really sure what this would be. I read the BJCP descriptions and it is really a toss up between a brown, red , or porter. I'm having a really tough time deciding whether I should brew this again next fall the same way or decrease the roasted barley presence a little.
  • Jamil's Evil Twin: I am not calling this Jamil's Evil Twin anymore since it wasn't hopbursted and I didn't use the same hops, so it is more inspired by his recipe. I am calling it Big Red because that's what it is, a big, malty, hoppy red ale. I used .25 oz of Nugget to bitter and then an ounce of Simcoe and Amarillo at 10 minutes and then again at flameout. This beer is GOOD! Nice deep red in color, awesome hop flavor and aroma, and good malt flavor to back it up without being too sweet. When I brewed this I was drinking and inspired by Widmer Brrr and Lagunitas Imperial Red, and I think I hit the mark on this one. It will be brewed again.
  • Hopsicle IPA: Named this one because I froze brewing it. This was a minimash with 3 pounds of Golden Promise just to see what would happen. Bittered this one with Nugget, then threw in some Simcoe, Centennial, and then the last of my hop harvest (a mix of Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus). This one will probably get dryhopped with Columbus.
  • Jamil's Irish Red: Kegging this one today, haven't tried it yet. I've got high hopes though!

After increasing my brewing skills and volumes over the last year, now I'm looking forward to 2009. Here are my brew year's resolutions in no particular order:

  • Brew more. I would like to be able to not buy beer anymore except for when I'm working on a recipe. I brewed over 100 gallons in 2008, hoping to do even more in 2009.
  • Move up to 10 gallon batches. I'm having a tough time keeping the kegerator full and I think this will help, especially now that I am brewing tried and true recipes that I know I will like.
  • Upgrade the kegerator. Hopefully by the summer I will have a chest freezer with a collar that will be capable of dispensing 4-6 different beers. Variety is good, but this might also make it easier for me to keep the kegerator full without brewing every other weekend.

Any of my huge volume of loyal readers out there have any resolutions, beer related or not?


Bri said...

I do have a brew resolution; all-grain. I'm close, when it comes to equipment. I made a list of equipment and it's not too bad actually. mash tun (sanke keg) and false bottom, a few fittings and I can brew all grain. Right now my brews are in the $40-$60 just for 5 gal. If I convert to all grain, the $/gal will drop significantly. My kegerator is at 4 kegs right now but I can't keep all 4 full at one time. I love beer and have the same problem as you RT.

I'm also looking into adding a CO2 tank, (I acquired one for free). This will be used for force carbing mainly. Then I don't have to shut off the other kegs when carbing.

I did a batch a few weekends ago and a few days ago I added my home grown cascade hops to the secondary. So I'm excited to give this beer a try.

richt said...

Haha, my guilt trip worked!

Going AG would be cool. My last few batches have been partial mash and it really isn't that complicated. How are you going to control your mash temp with a keggle? If/when I go AG I think I'll go with a cooler and a braid.

Until you go AG you should buy in bulk. I save around a 1.50 per pound for extract. If I add up the cost of 50 lbs of extract in 3 lb increments I save $60. The fact that I've been using US05 or reusing yeast, plus using homegrown or bulk purchased hops, plus partial mash means I'm brewing way cheap now. I've brewed a blonde, a pilsner, a mild, and an Irish red all for less than 20 bucks. Even my hoppiest IPAs and ambers with 6 oz of hops are under $40.

Brew strong!