Monday, January 9, 2023

Brew Year's Resolutions for 2023

What should my resolutions be for this year? I have no idea what I am doing with my life. Fuck do I know?

My mental issues aren't this bad.

That is only a slight exaggeration. It's been three years since I made Brew Year's Resolutions. Before starting this post, I skimmed through my previous years resolutions. My batting average on these resolutions is about what I expect the 2023 Red Sox to be. I still haven't studied for, or taken the BJCP Exam since 2019. My basement brewery still doesn't have a sink and is as disorganized as I usually am. I also still have not perfected Galloupe Gold as our house beer. Why do I do these again?

Anyway, here are my resolutions in order of probability I achieve them:

  • Detailed BJCP-style tasting notes on every batch, and log them: Jotting down some quick notes on the aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression on my latest batch Curly's Milk Stout really helped me analyze the beer. In the past I relied on memory to recall what I liked or didn't about a beer, or what I would change about a beer. Well, after over ten years of brewing that's not going to work anymore. I do log every brew in BeerSmith, but I will make it habit to include tasting notes for every batch in my beer log. Bonus points if I can do a side-by-side with a commercial example. 

  • Stop ingredient hoarding: I fell into this trap when I started buying bulk hops online. Over time the dorm fridge I bought as a separate beer fridge became my hops fridge. As I started brewing a little less often, started growing my own hops, and brewing less IPAs, I was buried in old hops. For the most part I didn't have any issues, but there were a couple batches where the old hops showed. In particluar IPAs or anything dry hopped.

    Homebrewers can be notoriously cheap. Making homebrew as cheaply as possible can become a game. At this point, I don't care anymore. I am fine buying hops by the ounce at the homebrew shop. As my inventory of Muntons malt starts to dwindle and I buy malt by the pound again, that will be a shock to the system. 

  • Make a decent NEIPA again: I brewed a few New England IPAs and Pale Ales in the mid to late 2010s. These were not Tree House-quality, but I was happy with them. My earliest attempts were even bottle-conditioned. This was in an era before store shelves were consumed with hazies. For whatever reason my last couple of attempts at the style were horrible. I am talking drain-pours. I think this is mostly old hops (see above).

    I did brew 30 gallons of NEIPA for the Muntons booth at Homebrew Con in Pittsburgh: 10 gallons of the Muntons Flagship Hazy IPA kit, 10 gallons of a partial-boil with Muntons Oat Malt Extract, and 10 gallons of all grain as part of a side-by-side experiment. Five of the six kegs were great, one was horribly oxidized. This is something I know I can do. I just want to brew one of my own again and have it be drinkable.

  • Brew more new styles: I have always felt like once I have brewed a style, I am better equipped to evaluate it. This is true even if my beer is flawed or misses the mark for that style. To keep track of what styles I have and have not brewed, whether I successfully brewed the style, and whether I have a recipe dialed in, I created a spreadsheet. As of today these are the new styles I am thinking about tackling:
    • American Light Lager
    • German Helles Exportbier (fka Dortmunder Export)
    • Tropical Stout
    • Biere de Garde

  • Reformat the blog: The blog was originally hosted on Gatehouse Media's WordPress platform for their blogs. I was prescient to export the articles, and create my own blog on Blogger. Originally I did this because it was always difficult to find articles in the archives on the various Wicked Local sites. Now with all of the changes at Gatehouse/Gannett, I don't think my blog really exists over there anymore. Occasionally I will google one of my old posts, and it will still exist on the website of a random South Shore paper. Other than that, this is the place where my work lives

    Moving the blog here has created several issues in the archives. There are lots of photos that are missing, mis-sized, and aren't captioned. There are probably broken links in the old articles. Tags are probably non-existent. Some articles have recipes, some just a link to BeerSmith, some have nothing at all. I need to start from the beginning, go post-by-post and clean a lot of this up. The main page could also use a face-lift. 
I have no idea what 2023 holds. I do know what my first batches of 2023 will be. I do expect to write more. That is not a resolution. Don't hold me to it!

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