Brew Year’s Resolutions 2018

20170903_151314It’s a new year! Having reflected on the past year of brewing as well as how I hit my resolutions for the previous year, I’m ready to set out some goals for 2018.

  • Pitch a new article for a homebrew publication.
    • This is a holdover from last year. I had one article published in Zymurgy during 2017; now, I just have to get a pitch together for something else during 2018.
  • Perfect my oatmeal stout recipe.
    • I entered my Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout in the first-round 2017 NHC, and scored an exceptionally pleasing 40. Unfortunately, comments for improvement were pretty vague (which was a bit disappointing, given the caliber of judging there). I’m going to modify the base malt a bit, perhaps, and see if I can’t kick up the score and make it into the second round.
  • Brew some more sour beer recipes.
    • I had great success during the past two years with a Berliner Weisse and am working towards a respectable raspberry Belgian sour. I’m hoping to hone the raspberry Belgian, and brew at least one other kettle soured beer. A gose or another Berliner Weisse will hopefully be in the mix.
  • Brew a perfect IPA.
    • I feel like my IPAs are good right now, but could be better. A lot of this might be in dry-hop handling; I usually keg-hop the things, but end up with a result that can be a bit harsh. The upside of this is that loss of hop flavor from oxidation is less of an issue. It’s time to find a happy medium. For 2018, I want to experiment with different ways of hopping and transferring IPAs, to finally hit peak IPA! I’ll probably start with a return to dry-hopping in the primary…I need to first see if drop-off in hop aroma is even that big of a deal anymore given my kegging and cold storage setup. I had preliminary attempts for my Thanksgiving IPA, but it didn’t stick around long enough to verify hop longevity!
  • Hit my calculated starting gravities more consistently.
    • I’ve found that I am often 0.02 or 0.03 off my starting gravity, usually a touch on the low side. This is almost entirely a boil-off rate issue, so I want to dial that in a bit better this year.

This should be plenty to keep me busy–I’ll check in at the end of the year to see how well I did!

2017’s Brew Year’s Resolutions — How Did I Do?

Nearly a year ago, I drafted a set of Brew Year’s Resolutions for 2017. Let’s check in and see how I did!

  • Do more science communication with homebrew as a vehicle.
    • This goal was a solid win! I gave my “The Dinosaur in My Beer” lecture in various forms for five different venues, including Homebrew Con, and have more on the way. It has inspired me to do yet more with homebrew scicomm–something to look forward to in 2018!
  • Pitch another article for a homebrew publication.
    • I didn’t get this one. Move it forward to 2018!
  • 20170128_132534Explore lagers and pilsners in more depth.
  • Use water chemistry more effectively.
    • I’m feeling really good about this one! I’ve done a lot more building water from scratch where appropriate, and feel like my beers are improved as a result. I’ve definitely fixed the formerly “flabby” character of my blonde and wheat beers, which is a major win.
  • Dial in my brewing system parameters more tightly.
    • This one was a partial win. Thanks to modifications in my mash-in procedure, I’m hitting that temperature pretty consistently. I’m less happy with how closely I’m hitting starting gravities; I need to up the boil-off rates for my calculations. Once that’s done, I should be in good shape.
  • Enter at least three homebrew competitions.
    • I got two out of three on this one. I entered Romancing the Brew and the NHC, but never quite got around to doing a third competition. I think I’m okay with that. At this stage in brewing, I’ve earned enough medals to feel confident in my product, but the overall feedback is becoming progressively less valuable. My strategy moving forward will be to enter competitions opportunistically, aiming for at least two in 2018.

In the end, I racked up three total wins, two partial wins, and two misses in the 2017 Brew Year’s Resolutions. I’m pretty happy with this–now time to start drafting my 2018 resolutions!