Friday, January 10, 2020

Brew Years Resolutions for 2020

Another year and another decade in the books! All-in 2019 was a very solid brew year for me. The only hiccup was the beer I brought to Ales over ALS and having to dump eight one-gallon batches.

One of my big resolutions last year was to post more content. I did update this space more. I played around with posting video on YouTube until I realized I don't have the patience for video editing. I also consciously updated my Facebook page regularly. Even it it was something as simple as a link to an article or a photo. My engagement on Facebook has been strong and I've picked up a few new fans.

Dry(ish) January was mostly a success. I made it all the way to January 28th! On that day I was hanging out with the Buck family at Maine Malt House in Mapleton, Maine. There was a bar at the malt house and I may have gone overboard with sampling. From there I was snowed in and was lucky to find a hotel in Presque Isle.

I could do Dry(ish) January again, but I do think I have generally reduced the amount I drink. If my liquid calorie intake becomes an issue there is always Sober October or something else similar.

I never did retake the BJCP exam again in 2019. I didn't have time to study in advance of Homebew Con. After Homebrew Con I didn't see any other exams scheduled in the area. I'm fairly ambivalent about moving up in rank at this point.

My resolutions for 2019 were fairly modest and mostly successful. I brewed the beer I wanted to drink. As it turned out that meant I didn't brew a single IPA in 2019.  I have put some thought into what I want to accomplish in 2020, but not a great deal.

  • Enter more competitions: I have always been in and out in terms of entering competitions. At some times I am all about it, and then I can go months at a time without entering any. After entering two BJCP competitions last year I want to get back into it and see what we can learn. 
  • Enter Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing (MCAB) qualifying events: The MCAB is a competition only open to first place winners at select qualifying events. If I am going to enter more competitions I may as well throw my hat in the ring here.  
  • Go all out for NHC: In 2019 I entered four beers into the National Homebrew Competition. The imperial stout I brewed with Sven advanced to the final round. A batch of Pa's Lager scored well and made it to mini-best of show in the first round which means it almost advanced. For 2020 I will apply for the maximum of five entries into the competition. The plan is to brew beers that I feel have the best chance of advancing and potentially medalling.
  • Win a medal at Jamboree: This one is more about club honor. Mike Shea from the North Shore Brewers cleaned up last year, but as a club we can do better.
  • Brew with my house yeast: One of the things I think that is missing from craft beer is the loss of house character. Breweries could make different brews and different styles, but they had a house character. As a drinker you could tell that the different beers a brewery made were made by that brewery. One way brewers did that was using a house yeast strain. Every beer I have brewed with my "House Irish Ale Blend" has been outstanding. I want to use that yeast in more brews and learn how it ticks. From there maybe my beers will have that house character. 
  • Make more strong ales: This fall I was lucky enough to go to the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer (FOBAB) in Chicago. That rekindled my love of high gravity beers. I brew more of them in 2020 and cellar the bottles in my basement.
  • Work to finish my home brewery: My basement brew area is overdue for tidying up. I need to clear out the clutter and improve organization down there. I spend most of my brew days looking for random items. The big thing I need is a sink. Cleaning with just a hose isn't ideal. Even more inconvenient is not having any place to easily dump waste water. I have watched YouTube videos that make installing a sink easy enough, but it's probably better for everyone if I just hire a plumber. 

That list is a lot longer than I thought it would be!

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