2021’s Homebrew Highlights

This was a big year for my brewing, even if I had busy stretches with minimal time. As I enter the last few minutes of 2021, here are my thoughts looking back…

  • Favorite Batch
    • This was a tough one to pick! I had a decent number of beers I really liked, and so I chose the following two as my favorite batches:
      • Ill-Tempered Gnome. I don’t make American brown ales very often, but this one was just awesome. The hop character is particularly memorable, and I definitely want to make it again sometime.
      • Alstadt Altbier. I feel like I perfected my altbier game on this latest version of the recipe. Again, a very memorable beer!
  • Least Favorite Batch
  • Experimental Recipe with Most Potential
    • Winter Dream Ale. High-alcohol beers are not the sort of thing I do all the time, but this particular recipe was really enjoyable in the Christmas to New Year’s stretch. It had a nice mix of flavor and body, making an interesting beer without addition of spices or strange adjuncts.
  • Most Fun New Style/Recipe to Try
    • I had fun putting together an amber kellerbier, in Dimorphos Kellerbier. I really freestyled it in the recipe, and achieved a tasty result.
  • Upcoming Beer With Most Potential
    • I have another Pliny the Elder clone fermenting right now, and I’m crossing my fingers that it turns out well!
  • Best Technique Added to Repertoire
    • I’ve been using a Hochkurz mash semi-regularly, and like the results in terms of extract yield as well as fermentability and flavor.
  • Best Ingredient Added to Repertoire
    • The HOPBOX was a lot of fun to play with, and gave me a nice IPA as a result. I’ll be enjoying the next iterations as they arrive this year.
  • Favorite Book(s)
    • For Christmas, I received a copy of Dark Lagers: History, Mystery, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (by Thomas Kraus-Weyermann and Horst Dornbusch)…it has been a fun one to browse! The historical information is interesting, the recipes seem solid, and the food recipes are also something I’ll look forward to trying.
  • Other Milestones
    • I had some fun with other fermentables this year, including creation of miso paste as well as injera bread. I’ve continued with sauerkraut and homemade mustard, all of which are fantastic accompaniments for beer and sausage.
  • Overall Stats
    • I brewed 31 batches of beer this past year, totalling around 150 gallons of beer produced.
    • No particular beer style dominated 2021, although I had three batches of German pils and two batches of American IPA as the most frequently brewed styles. Expanding into IPAs as a general category, I brewed seven recipes in the IPA world (including American, English, white, and double IPAs).
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