2017’s Homebrew Highlights

20171113_1742532017 was a fun and productive year for my brewing. Here’s are some of the highlights:

  • Favorite Batch
    • Dunkel-Osteus
      • My first Munich dunkel brought together several techniques I had been practicing–water adjustments, late addition of dark grains, and lagering. It came out nearly perfectly, creating an intensely enjoyable and very drinkable beer.
  • Least Favorite Batch
    • Czech-ed Out Pilsner
      • My first dumped batch. When the hops have a funny aroma in the bag, they’re not going to have a better aroma in the brew. This ended up as a grassy-smelling mess (even though it looked beautiful). Lesson learned!
  • Experimental Recipe with Most Potential
    • Raspberry Belgian (version 1 and version 2)
      • I did two iterations of this batch; one with frozen raspberries and acid malt to provide fruit and tartness, respectively, and one with canned raspberry puree and kettle souring. The first batch hit the fruit flavor much better, although it wasn’t terribly tart. The second batch didn’t have nearly as nice of flavor or as pretty of a color, and was almost too sour. So, I’ll probably try another kettle-soured version that hits less acid (maybe a pH around 3.8?) and uses frozen fruit. With a bit of tweaking, this recipe should be a solid one.
  • Most Fun New Style/Recipe to Try
    • Red Rye Lager
      • I haven’t tasted the results yet, but this batch was just plain fun to plan and brew. I enjoyed experimenting more with rye, as well as applying my developing skills for lagers. It was probably the most creative brew I’ve done in awhile, in terms of going off-script for recipes.
  • Best Technique Added to Repertoire
    • Kettle souring with yogurt
      • I tried this with the second iteration of the Raspberry Belgian, and loved the concept. It’s way cheaper and easier than buying a fancy bacterial culture, and produces a nice, clean sourness. I want to try this with a few other styles, such as Berliner Weisse.

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  • Best Ingredient Added to Repertoire
    • I discovered the Amoretti Craft Puree series at Homebrew Con this year (we got a bottle in our “swag bag”), and have really been enjoying playing with it. It seems to fill a nice niche in between fruit extracts and straight fruit purees; the blood orange variety went nicely with my American wheat beer, and I also crafted a tasty peach IPA with the stuff. 2018 will bring more brews with this series of purees!
  • Favorite Book
    • As we close out the year, I just finished Pete Brown‘s Miracle Brew. I’ve enjoyed Brown’s writing, since I discovered Hops and Glory, and this book is a worthy successor. Brown excels at combining travelogue with beer history, while being pretty entertaining in the process. Miracle Brew is no exception–he surveys the history and cultural influence of major beer ingredients, while introducing us to many of the folks behind the scenes. His books tilt towards the British (I got a bit lost in the otherwise enjoyable Man Walks Into a Pub, because I’m not immersed in British pub culture), but this one is cosmopolitan enough to be engaging even for us Americans. Highly recommended!
  • Other Milestones
    • It was a good year for blending beer and science communication; I had an article in Zymurgy on the evolution of hops, which presented a ton of new information on hops that hadn’t made it into the brewing literature yet. Additionally, I put together a slide presentation on the intersections between beer and paleontology, which I gave at several venues (including HomebrewCon).
  • Overall Stats
    • I brewed around 30 batches this past year–that’s a new record!
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One Response to 2017’s Homebrew Highlights

  1. Pingback: Brew Year’s Resolutions 2018 | Andy's Brewing Blog

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