2016’s Homebrew Highlights

An Archaeopteryx-linked beer requires the appropriate glassware.I’ve really enjoyed the past year of homebrewing–lots of fun recipes, techniques, and achievements. Here’s are some of the highlights:

  • Favorite Batch
    • Olde Persica Porter
      • This was my first time brewing with smoked malt, and wow! It ended up as a deliciously balanced and flavorful beer, definitely in my personal Top 10 list.
  • Least Favorite Batch
    • Gingerbread Winter Warmer
      • This was one of those “good in concept, not as good in results” brews. Thankfully, I only had two gallons of the stuff (even if my spouse really likes it). I did bottle up a few for aging, so we’ll try again in a year.
  • Experimental Recipe with Most Potential
    • Citra Wit
      • I enjoyed so much about this beer, but it missed out a bit in the areas of mouthfeel and citrus aroma. A little more fine-tuning, and this should be an awesome recipe.
  • Most Fun New Style/Recipe to Try
    • Thumbspike Saison
      • This was my first attempt at a saison, and the results were pretty fine. My dry hopping was maybe a little out of style, but another saison is definitely in the cards for next year.
  • Best Technique Added to Repertoire
    • Lagering
      • I’ve brewed a few lagers and pilsners this year, and really like the new challenges and opportunities that these styles bring. Lagering my beer has opened up a whole new world of styles, and I want to make the the focus of 2017 for me! I’ve already acquired an additional fermentation chamber to be devoted just to lagering.
  • Most Frustrating Technique/Tool to Master
    • Decoction mashing
      • I initially had this on the “best technique” category, but decided to place decoction mashing here instead. The main issue is mastering the temperature rests–there is enough fall-off in temperature as I remove the decoction that it has been tough to hit the target temperatures later! I’m getting closer, but still have some work to do here.
  • Best Ingredient Added to Repertoire
    • Vienna Malt
      • I bought a bulk sack of this earlier this fall, and have made it the centerpiece of a few brews (including, of course, Vienna lager).  It’s really grown on me as a flavorful base malt, particularly for pale ales and IPAs. After American 2-row, this is my new favorite!
  • Favorite Book
    • Brewing Classic Styles
      • This book by Zainasheff and Palmer is becoming a really handy reference guide whenever I build recipes. The recipes in here are simple, don’t generally use crazy ingredients or techniques, and have both extract and all-grain versions. The broad variety of recipes is pretty handy, too. I’ve been referencing this one a lot since it arrived at my house!
  • Other Milestones
    • First Zymurgy article
      • At the beginning of the year, I had a “Brew Year’s Resolution” to pitch an article for a major homebrewing publication. Success! (and another article on the way in a few months)
    • First homebrew medals
      • Although my first few competition entries didn’t hit the mark, I achieved gold earlier this year. I can’t say I’ll enter every competition that heads my way, but the learning experience up to this point encourages me to try some more.
    • Planting hops
      • I planted four hop bines (two each of Cascade and Nugget), and got some good leafy growth. Hopefully cones are in the cards for year two!
  • Overall Stats
    • I brewed 29 batches this year–not too shabby!

2 thoughts on “2016’s Homebrew Highlights

  1. Pingback: Brew Year’s Resolutions for 2017 | Andy's Brewing Blog

  2. Pingback: Olde Persica Porter 1.1 | Andy's Brewing Blog

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