Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fermentation Friday-- Hops, Hoarding and Hessians

Spring is edging its way into Chicago. The ice is off the lake and we're down to what the weaker parts of the country consider winter coats and our frost-back northern neighbors consider summer frivolities. In this spirit, Byron asks about how spring fever will affect our brewing. I haven't caught the fever yet, but am ready to put out some tentative roots for when warmness is sprung. This spring its all about hops, hoarding and Hessians. Our first task is to put up some hops, though this may or may not happen. I can't do it at mine, but my brewing partner has a fire-escape balcony we can grow on in tubs.

Spring is also our family time to horde like squirrels. I just got a keggerator, with the agreement that the missus can have the freezer. After the quarterly Costco-run, I'm going to invest in brewing and lay some more roots. First off, a barley crusher then some sacks of grain. I only need to go through 4 sacks of grain to negate the cost of the crusher. Buckets will be filled- a sack of 2-row and another of Pils. I'm also trying to find the cheapest way to buy 2-5# of all the specialty grains I like to use. This spring will be dedicated to lighter American, Belgians and Alt-biers. As mentioned previously, I have some candi-sugar to go through, and we're making beer for my brew-partner's (not) wedding, so this will also be a practice run of that.

Finally, it is spring training and I'm still training my pallete in advance of this June's local BJCP exam. Good times, but surprisingly hard, especailly the multitude of German lager styles which I am entirely unprepared for. Still, I'll soldier along in the name of science.

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