Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013: A Year in Review

2013 was a good year for brewing.  It was my 3rd full year of brewing.  According to a Beer Advocate post in the beginning of the year, my hope was to:

Hope to get into kegging this year, at least my IPAs to get the freshest and hoppiest beer I can, as well as lagers so I can lager under pressure. I got a pump and new IC w/ whirlpool arm that will make for some great hoppy beers. I also hope to get a solera project started for more sours. Hoping to convert a 1/2 barrel keg into a fermenter for this.

Let's take a look back over the year and see how we did.

I brewed a total of 17 beers this year, for a total of 90 gallons:
  • I started with a single mash, single boil, split ferment of 2 IPAs, turning one black in the fermenter by adding cold extracted Midnight Wheat syrup.  The straight IPA was my first kegged beer, and took 2nd in category in a BJCP comp out of 31 IPAs.
  • Next batch was a rebrew of sorts.  My wife really enjoyed the German Hefe I brewed in 2011, and for Valentine's Day gave me an extra brewday with funds for ingredients to rebrew that beer, not only for her, but with her.  With a 2 month baby sleeping away in the brewhouse, and an almost 3 year old making his own beer with spent grains, hose water, and grass clippings, we brewed up another batch of Hefe together.  Unfortunately there was a tear in the foil over one of the carboys (split ferment for extra headspace) and half the batch got infected.  The rest tasted really good.
  • Extract Berlinerweisse feremented with yogurt only (no Lactic acid produced, only CO2, alcohol, and lots of DMS, aging on 2 Brett Strains).

I entered a national (but held locally) BJCP comp and had 3 beers place.  My end of 2012 Dopplebock (first ever lager) took 1st in category, the second lager, my Pils, took 3rd in category, and my first kegged beer, the IPA, took 2nd in category out of 31 entries, at 4 months old.

I judged 4 Club only Competitions, and 1 BJCP comp, and even hosted 2 of the COCs.

I started doing 2 new time saving tricks this year as well.  I began overnight mashing (dough in on Friday night, then runoff and boil in the morning).  I also started doing single mash to multi-beer recipes.

I built a pump into a tool box, put together a new brewhouse after buying a house, got new kettles and fit them with ballvalves, thermometers, and sight glass, bought a new Immersion and Whirlpool chiller, built my own bulkhead for my Mash/Lauter Tun, moved to CO2 forced racking, installed sprinklers for my new hop yard, built a hop oast, packaged a few pounds of hops, bottled my split ferment Sour Blondes from 2012, and finished my Logo.

I put together a Mystery Wort Brew Off with a local brewery who provided a wort to us of unknown makeup, disclosed the grist to us, and we had 20 minutes to put together a recipe, declare it, and then brew it.  We had a COC and peoples choice judging for the beers 8 weeks later.

I finished the year off by remodelling our spare room into an entertainment room with new (to us) shelving units for glassware and bottles for display, and the 6 kegs I now have.

I only had a few beers not turn out well.  The Mystery Wort is not a good beer and way over carbonated (possible Brett infection?), and the all Brett ISA had a bad hop profile that clashed with the rest of the beer so I ended up dumping the last gallon or so when I needed an empty keg.

I didn't ever start that sour solera project, but that is in the works for the next couple months, so not too bad for the year.

My favorite beers of the year would have to be the Black IPA, Imperial Red IPA (Rufio), CAP, White ISA, Imperial Red IPA (Autumn), and the Winter Warmer.

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