Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Brewery Resolutions for 2014...(If its on the internet I have to do it, right?)

2013 was a great year of beer. (From Hill Farmstead's Zwanze Day).

It being the time to make resolutions and all that, I thought I'd post a couple of my personal goals for the upcoming year in beer. I'll just rattle these off:

1. More blog posts. <Oh, the irony...>
Last year I brewed 120 gallons of beer, combinations of 5 and 10 gallon batches (17 total brew days). Its not that I don't take notes for all of my beers; I use Beersmith to track all my brew days, and mark water chem, addition times, musical selections, etc. (honest!). Yet only a portion of these brews ever hit this blog--10 posts in 2013, and only a few on actual brew sessions. You think this blog is only for you, the reader? Writing these posts makes me pause and reflect on past batches, and mandates better tracking in my own brewery. This year...more reflections! More tasting notes!

2. Nail a few house recipes.
Despite having a few "base" recipes, I tend to tweak my beers in one way or another each time I brew them. By year's end I'd like to have at least four "minor-tweak" or "house" recipes:
Brett Saison (based on previous iterations of Sweaty Bretty), Brett Trois IPA (Grizzly), Hoppy Berliner Weisse, and a Robust Porter.

KEGS! At NHC in Philly. Highly recommended.

3. Make Start a complex sour.
I've made a few Berliner Weisses using the quick-souring technique to good result. Admittedly, more complex sour beers take time. I'd like to have a few gallons of lambic reserved for blending by years end. I'm planning to get started on this next weekend (1/7/2014), when I'll be doing my first turbid mash. Whew, stay tuned for the good times.

I'm not sure who took this beautiful picture. I wish 'twere me, but 'twasn't...

4. Improve inventory tracking.
This would apply to both the supply and demand side of the brewery, but most specifically the supply-side. I've been fortunate enough to benefit from bulk grain buys coupling with the Albany Brew Crafters, but tend to dry up the reserves in-between purchases. This year I'd like to track inventory more closely to take full advantage. In the past I've attempted to use Beersmith's inventory feature to track purchases and usages of grain and hops, but the feature does seem a little unwieldy and counter-intuitive. Perhaps a good old-fashioned spreadsheet would be the way to go.

I think these four goals are approachable and surmountable, and should keep me pretty busy. If I meet all four I'll be a content brewer at year's end. Hold yourself accountable to any brewery related resolutions by commenting below, and happy brewing! (And please resist the obvious puns -- they are painful to even the most literary of brewers...)

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