Friday, January 30, 2009

Fermentation Friday: 2009 Plans

2008 was a good brew year. I started brewing on my own, making all-grain bitters, porters, Schwartzbier and a scotch ale that wasn't in the end. Two of them even took medals home, which was a nice surprise. I've had some hurdles that I want to overcome in both technique and composition of beers. In terms of technique, I have to get the time it takes to brew down. The process takes me 7 hours, from firing up to putting the carboy in the closet. Add to that the hour each way it takes to get to the brew store and it becomes a day and a half commitment. 

My next hope is to figure out how to get stuff in bulk. I'd like to brew more spontaneously, and being able to have hops on hand as well as grain would be great. Hops have been a big issue this year, my LHBS is usually out of what I want, and unless the brew heads are behind the counter I don't get great recommendations about swapping out my hops. My main goal is to learn all about hops. I might try to grow some upstate over the summer and I'd like to know off-hand which hops I can trade out and why. To this end, I've been cracking open all my hops when I get them home and taking big whiffs to get a good feeling for what is what.

Stylistically, want to make more American beers. All of this brewing started because of how much I loved drinking English cask ales while living abroad. Now that I'm back home, I want to make some American beers and reconnect with our bigger is better attitude. Still, I hope to expand to some sort of cask set-up, hopefully picking up a beer engine (or 2) while abroad this summer and a cask breather. I also want to drink a bit less beer and a bit more liquor. This will let me feel less like I'm grinding out a new beer every couple of days and give my palette a break from the endless hop explosions that I favor.

Finally, I like this blog. We started it at the end of 2008, but really it is a new-year's resolution to give a little back to the internet who helps us learn so much. The blog will soon have links to our favorite blogs. Coming in 2009 will be details of out different beer-making setups, some more reviews of beers, recipies, and a thorough discussion of getting donked and those who write about it. Sneak peek: "You're not a mixologist-- you're an asshat" & "The Pounder Shoot-out".  The internet, she is good to us and we thank her.

NB: All three of us should be posting on this topic, so check back as Friday approaches.

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