Brew Year’s Resolutions for 2017

It’s 2017! After a great year of achieving many brewing goals during 2016, it’s time to set some goals for the next year. What’s on tap for my Brew Year’s Resolutions?

Update: I also sent in one of my resolutions (the sci-comm one) for the Experimental Brewing podcast by Denny Conn and Drew Betchum. The episode is available at their website–my piece of audio starts at the 19:40 mark.

  • Do more science communication with homebrew as a vehicle.
    • Last year, I had the goal of pitching a story idea to a major homebrew magazine–and got an article published in Zymurgy! The short piece focused on the ways in which I blend homebrewing and paleontology, and has led to another article that should (if all goes well) be out early this year. I’ve really enjoyed the research and finding connections between my two passions in life, and find that it’s also an interesting topic for many other people. To that end, I want to do more of this kind of stuff–in particular, I’m hoping to turn some of my research into a presentation on the topic that can be given for a variety of audiences (contact me if you’re interested in having me speak for your group!).
  • Pitch another article for a homebrew publication.
    • I have some ideas for (non-paleontology) articles on homebrewing, and want to get a pitch or two out there early this year.
  • Explore lagers and pilsners in more depth.
    • Last year I started brewing these styles in earnest, encouraged by the Fast Lager schedule that is increasingly popular. I also recently bought a second fermentation chamber, which will be added encouragement (and space) for lagering. After years of doing traditional American ales (and not brewing a lot of most English and Belgian styles), I want to delve much more deeply into European and American lagers. There are a lot of options, and I want to try as many as I can! In just a few days, I’ll be making a Munich Helles that should be ready just in time for Easter.
  • Use water chemistry more effectively.
    • I’ve recently started playing more with my brewing water, in part because I have started making styles such as Bohemian pilsner that don’t mesh well with our super-hard local water. My personal tasting evaluations have found that my blonde ales and a Belgian wit were also a bit “flabby”, which I also attribute (in part) to the tap water. This year, I want to do more with water adjustments on those light-color brews that really need it.
  • Dial in my brewing system parameters more tightly.
    • I’m achieving pretty good predictability on my brewing temperatures and volumes, but want to dial it in to the next level. Mostly, this will entail reviewing past batches and adjusting the settings in BeerSmith.
  • Enter at least three homebrew competitions.
    • I entered two last year, and had decent success. Although I’m still not a regular on the competition circuit (and may never be), I would like to keep getting feedback on my beers via BJCP-type competitions. There are two local ones coming up in the immediate future, and I want to do at least one more beyond that.