2012 year in review

As I sit here, nearly a year from writing my 2012 goals, I’m struck how I can’t help but be disappointed by my year in brewing. I have accomplished a few of my goals, and a few projects, and made some investments, but I have not made enough progress improving brewing, process, or beers. I feel like I’m a closing in on a process, but have some coming process changes that will make it different once again.

I haven’t had a chance to think about my 2013 goals so that will have to be in another post. I’ll leave this post as a 2012 wrap up. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to eek one more beer, maybe a cider into 2012, but otherwise its over, and I haven’t brewed nearly as much or as well as I wanted.
What I set out to do in 2012:
House / Flagship beer? I’ve made some progress on recipe design, and things to not do (add 1lb of hops in the last 15 minutes). I’m only slightly closer to having the bootle farm house beer.
Enter my beer into competition.
This was a success. I managed to enter 3 beers into competition. Now if you were asking was I happy with the beer I submitted, I’d say yes to two of the entries, and one I knew was a total bust, but had paid the fee, so off it went.
If I plan to do this in the future, I’ll need to invest in a real bottling solution, since bottling from tap is just a bad idea.
This was a great way to get unbiased feedback, insight into the flaws in my beers. I’m happy with the feedback I have received, and look forward to sending more in the future. I’m not happy with the scores, but flawed beers get flawed scores.
Partial Mash. I did it, I didn’t like it. It seems like all the trouble of all grain, w/out all the control. I decided to get a whole grain setup, which I have yet to use.
Brew at a professional brewery.
Complete miss, I wanted to spend a day working / helping out at professional brewery. I really didn’t pursue this, had I pushed the few connections I now have from the home brew club, I’m sure I could have shoveled grain some where, but that’ll have to wait for another year.

What else is interesting, is that I’m about to celebrate one year of this blog. While I haven’t gotten the volume to the level I’d like to brewing, or posting, this has become what I envisioned it. Inspired by a post over on
MeekBrewing I thought I’d provide some site stats for the year. Over 40k hits. Averaging 30 visits a day. The most popular post by far is the keggerator update. The coolest thing that has happened to this place, by far, was being profiled on Norm Millers website. So, the year in home brewing blogging hasn’t been too bad. I hope to continue to brew and post in 2013.

So despite what I said when I started this post I’ll include some things I’d like to do in 2013.
I’d really like to post about 3-4x a month.
I’d like to brew every other month at least.
I’d like to brew a berliner weiss
I’d like to finish up some of my pending brewing projects. (keggerator, stir plate, storage)
I’d like to brew with my buddy Michael.
I’d Iike to brew a beer I can’t wait to brew again.

Thanks for the year, hears to 2013.

2012 Brewing Goals

I have a bit more lofty brewing goals for 2012 than I did for 2011.
2011 was simple, just brew. No excuses, stop worrying about doing it perfectly, stop fretting about having the right setup. Just get a few batches under my belt, cut my teeth, and make a bad first draft. After spending the year researching and trying to hone my technique I plan on finding my home brewing sweet spot. A style to perfect, and make my own. Something I’m going to want to have in quantity, and something to call the house style or flagship of the bottle Farm. To meet the criteria, it’s gotta be sessionable, flexible, good all year round. The two styles that come to mind are saison or pale ale. So goal 1, is to pick a style and try to brew it right.
The next goal dove tails with this, it’s to enter my beer into a home brew competition. After I’ve honed the beer a bit, perhaps worked out the kinks, I’d like to have something worth entering to a competition. This will be a great way to get unbiased feedback, insight into the flaws in my beer and hopefully some suggestions on improvements.
The third goal is to step up to partial mash brewing. I started with a simple extract recipe, followed it up with extract and steeping speciality grains. The next logical step is to partial mash. I don’t have the gear or the time to go all grain. Despite what Gordon Strong thinks, you can brew some pretty good extract beer, if you put your mind to it. There are so many more variables I’ve yet to control, that worrying about adding complicated mashing / sparging processes to my brew day at this point will only cause more problems than allow me to make better beer.
My last goal is a serious stretch. I’d like to spend a day helping a brewer at a professional brewery. To see their process, and see how things work on a bigger scale. I don’t have connections to any brewers yet, so I’m hoping to leverage
social media to make some friends and see what can happen. I’ve been told most small craft brewers can always use some extra help (manual labor), so maybe someone will take me up on the offer.