Friday, January 10, 2014

Brewing Goals 2014 & 2013 Report Card

2013 was an amazing year for me as a homebrewer and beer geek. I started this blog, presented at the 2013 National Homebrewers Conference, made a trip to Belgium, and moved to St. Louis (the future home of my brewery). 2014 has big shoes to fill!

My first post in 2013 (my first post for SHPB) laid out my brewing goals for 2013. Lets see how I did and set the marks for 2014:

2013 Goal #1: Brew more than forty (40) 5-gallon batches within the year.

Grade: F

My most glaring defeat of the year. I brewed 17 5-gallon batches (2 double brewdays) in 2013. No excuses, just more effort. I hope this high mark will encourage several double batches (and more experimentation)!

2014 Goal #1: Brew more than forty (40) 5-gallon batches within the year.

2013 Goal #2: Start and maintain a blog as a brew log.

Grade: B

I improved the detail, consistency, and follow up on my brewing notes, but I dd not post as much as I would like. I also want to spend more time logging the evaluation of my beers and standardizing my verbiage against the Flavor Wheel.

2014 Goal #2: Continue to improve brewing notes and post > 75% of my notes to the blog.

2013 Goal #3: Pitch appropriate cell counts for every batch.

Grade: A

I made huge strides in yeast propagation and fermentation process. Every batch was pitched with the proper amount of healthy yeast cells. I also built a stir-plate and experimented with lager fermentation. Hopefully I can keep it up in 2014 and beyond!

2014 Goal #3: Purchase additional controller / refrigerator to control fermentation temperature of two 5-gallon batches at once.

2013 Goal #4-5: Win 1st place in any category at the Indiana Brewers Cup; Enter the NHC.

Grade: Incomplete

In 2013, I focused on experimentation with both wild yeasts and lager fermentation. I also did some recipe development and tried some new ingredients. Brewing for competition really doesn't interest me at this point. 

2013 Goal #6. Go to the NHC!

Grade: A

Presenting at the 2013 was one of the highlights of my life. I can't wait for 2014!

Currently, I'm planning some wild yeast experiments for this year, and I hope to share the results at the 2015 conference. Stay tuned!

2013 Goal #7. “Clone” my own beer.

Grade: F

My brewer's ADD got the best of me in 2013. Though I learned a lot through experiments and playing with new ingredients, I still need to gauge my consistency.

2014 Goal #4: "Clone" my own beer.

Additional Goals for 2014

2014 Goal #5. Conduct experiments to explore Brett flavor contribution vs. beer pH.

I believe manipulating beer pH (through blending or lactic fermentation) has a huge effect on the flavor profile contributed by brettanomyces. Time to experiment!

2014 Goal #6. Conduct experiments to explore spontaneous fermentation feasibility in various areas of St. Louis.

The products of spontaneous fermentation are wildly different between St. Louis and Belgium, but how variable are the results within the same city? Are there certain areas of St. Louis that provide significantly better/worse species (and conditions) for wild beer?

2014 Goal #7. Join a Homebrew Club!

Its time to branch out!

So now that the bar has been set, let's get to it!