2016 Brewing Wrap-Up

So, here’s what sucked and what did not suck. Before I begin, I’m cracking open a bottle of the second batch of Tyrannicide, so far universally liked. I’m drinking it out of a pilsner glass my friends gave me in 2004 after I got back from Iraq. It’s got a Hawkeye logo on it and it’s etched with my college nickname, “The Dude”. I think that’s fitting today as we review the successes and failures of the past and look forward to the future. Cheers, you filthy animals. (All 17 of you)

Here’s what sucked:

  •  SouthEast Woodcreek American Pale Ale. It was too hoppy and too dark. It also had far too little alcohol. But, I’m looking forward to mastering this recipe for the 2017 block party. I want people to drink it like Bud Light. I think this is the year.
  • Bethusela’s Lake Cabin Ale: The first batch blew up. Whoops! The second batch fermented perfectly, but was too carbonated. I’ll fix that this year before the lake trip. I learned that when you ferment less than 5 gallons, you need to compensate with less carbonating sugar. That should have been a no-brainer.
  • Cort’s Gunslinger Graf: Sour, too carbonated. My first attempt at a malt cider needs some research. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong. I just need to read more about it.
  • Timing. I constantly ran out of beer. I need to mix in a few extract batches between my “premium” full-grain batches.
  • Some of you sheeple voted for Donald Fucking Trump. Seriously. You voted for a reality television buffoon. I hope this sinks in soon when you see him place his tiny hand on that big bible.

Major Victories:

  • I got much better at making all-grain batches. I consistently got to 80% efficiency or more. I upgraded mash tuns, replaced basic equipment with more deliberate equipment and made some great beers.
  • Revenge American Amber Ale remains my favorite. I think I’ve perfected this sucker.
  • Tyrannicide American Dry Stout. I made two batches because it was so damn good. Everyone seems to like it.
  • DiWiart’s Trappist Dubbel. This was a long fermentation with very high gravity. And it worked and was strong and tasty.
  • Bedfordshire American IPA: This was fantastic and I got it up to 8.14% ABV.
  • Yeast starter. I successfully used an Erlenmeyer flask to start up a batch of yeast. It was amazing how fast it worked.
  • Thirteen Dark German Alt Bier: This used to be a dark ale, now it’s a German Alt. It turned out perfectly.
  • Ranching yeast from a commercial bottle: Not entirely sure if this worked or not, but it appears that I was able to get the yeast to start reproducing. I pitched it into Grenadier English Porter last night. If it works, awesome. If not, I have a backup plan.
  • Upgrades: I learned a lot more about making labels quick and easy. I upgraded my blog and it looks pretty professional. What do you think? I upgraded caps. I now use oxygen absorbing caps from Amazon. They are pretty and cheap. I’ll use the fancy ones for special occasions.
  • Ironman Warbrew Bavarian Lager: My second real lager, fermented in the garage during winter. This is looking good so far. I’m going to give it a few more weeks. Lagers need a while and I don’t want to crack it open too early. I have a good feeling about this one. It bubbled for 2 weeks before I moved it to a secondary fermentation vessel. Ales usually only bubble a few days.
  • I got some more fans and followers. Not too bad for a guy with a hobby.

2017 Plans

  • Grenadier English Porter with commercially-ranched yeast.
  • This spring, I WILL be growing hops in the back yard. I may even finish a planter near the fence and plant some barley. How cool would it be to malt some barley and make beer with homemade barley AND hops?
  • Step mash by adding hot water at certain increments. This will take a bit of math, but I can do it.
  • Graduate college by October, Magna Cum Laude. I’m at 3.97 now. No more A-‘s.
  • Perfect Gunslinger, Root-Down, Bethusela’s and SE Woodcreek. My goal here is to get Randi to like one of these.
  • Showcase a beer at the Jimmy Carter Happy hour.
  • Compete in the Iowa State fair again and get at least a third place ribbon.
  • Win the Iron brewing competition at one of the IBU monthly meetings.
  • Enter one or more beers in another Iowa competition.
  • Enter a beer in the Sam Adams “Longshot” competition.
  • Visit a brewery and obtain a yeast culture for a new brew.
  • Roast or smoke my own batch of malt.
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