Projects and Thoughts

2013 down, 2014 the year of calibration.

For 2013 I set achievable goals, and I believe I met all but one. Not too bad, but I played it fairly safe with the goals. 2014 will be more of the same, attainable goals, focused on quality and consistency. Boring, but hopefully rewarding.

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I’d really like to post about 3-4x a month. – I managed to do this 10 of 12 months. I don’t feel as though I really generated more quality content, some of it was rushed, and not as valuable as I’d like it to be. I’m sure you all care about my brewing logs, swings and misses, but it’s hard pace for me to maintain while continuing to have a balanced life. 

I’d like to brew every other month at least. – Looking back I aimed low on this one, I’m not sure what I was thinking, I like to Brew about once a month, 12 batches a year seems about right. I’ve moved onto smaller batches with the goal of quicker beer turn over, and simplifying some of my process. I nailed this goal with 12 sessions, and 13 batches (11 Beers, 1 perry, and 1 cyser).

I’d like to brew a berliner weiss – I did brew one, I didn’t brew a good one, so this will have to go back on the list for 2014, with an added adjective ‘good’. 

I’d like to finish up some of my pending brewing projects. (keggerator, stir plate, storage). I finished the stir plate, and it’s been really useful for starters. I did a few other smaller projects like building another mash tun, kettle, a keggerator line cleaner, and made plans for a powered mill table. I didn’t really tackle finishing up the keggerator, it could use some finishing touches, but it works as is, and is not stopping me 

I’d like to brew with my buddy Michael. – I brewed twice with Mike, it was a lot of fun both times, but both times were non standard brew days for each of us. The first was a brew party, the second was brewing a huge parti-gyle imperial stout / oatmeal stout combo. I’m not sure either of us really were able to relax and enjoy the brew day, or iron out our processes together. I think it’ll be fun this year to have a few more relaxed ‘normal’ brew day and see how things go. I’m not sure if we’ll settle into split batches, or just play the role of help, either way, I’ll do more of this in the future.

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I’d Iike to brew a beer I can’t wait to brew again.  – This is the one goal I don’t think I completed. I made a few beers I want to make again to tweak, but none I can’t live without. The closest I came this year  I’m really happy with the mild I brewed, and eager to make another attempt at the hoppy wheat, but in general I’m still falling far from the mark on the beers I’m brewing and I need to improve xbefore I’m satisfied with where I am, and what I’m brewing.


2014 Goals: Time to tweak and tune my tools, my process and recipes. I have new tools for measuring and calibrating my brewing gear, now is the time to be as repeatable as possible, measure as much as possible.  I plan on focus on smaller batches, with quality, over variety, or quantity. If that means brewing the same recipe 12 times to get it right, so be it.

Calibrate everything.
12 Batches.
12-24 posts.
Hone my hoppy Amarillo Wheat Recipe.
Read and review 12 books. 

For calibration, I’ve picked up some new equipment, it’s important to  measure your results, but it’s just as import ants to ensure your measurements are accurate. On the list of things I’m going to calibrate; my hop scale, and regular scale, my thermometers, my volumes in my fermenters, my boil kettle, and the smaller mash tun. I also plan on calibrating my timings and things like boil off, vorlauf, and sparge time. The more I can quantify, the more consistent I can be. The number of batches should be reasonable to obtain, assuming I continue to have one night a month I can dedicate to brewing. Posting I plan on scaling back from 2013, I tackled some blogging projects I enjoyed in 2013, but at this point the rewards just aren’t worth the level of effort required to blog more frequently. Hopefully with the decrease in quantity will come an increase in quality. I have a few ideas about how I can address my goal of honing the amarillo wheat recipe. I’ve spoken with a few folks about the next steps. I plan to adjust my water additions, tweak the hop ratio more toward amarillo, as well as add some additional crystal. Hopefully this will be I’ll get closer. For reading and reviewing books, this is simple. I will not buy any more until I have read what I own. I have a staggering amount of reading to do. This is an aggressive goal for me, as I’m not much of a book reader, I plow through blogs and forums like it’s nobodies business, but books take a different level of focus. On the to finish reading list: For the love of hopsSecrets from the Master BrewersThe Audacity of HopsThe Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage BeerTasting Beer, Water, YeastThe Brewmaster’s TableWild BrewsBrewing Better BeerPrincipals of brewing science.


In general I plan on buckling down, and try to nail a few simple recipes. Nothing too fancy, just get it right. Wish me luck!

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