Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year: 10 Goals for 2015

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to the year 2015.

It's been a good few weeks, with plenty of beer drunk, food eaten, etc. Another year has past, and I've noticed a few blogs outline their goals and aspirations for the year. So I kinda figured I'd jump on the band-wagon and let you all know where I'm taking the blog, my brewing and life in general. So here they are the challenges I've set myself for the 2015 year.

1: Wedding Beer - As you may know, I'm getting hitched in just over a year, and as such it's time to nail some real recipes for the big day. I don't want to give away too much yet, but there'll definitely be a fair few hops flying around at some stage. the aim is 6 batches of beer, so approximately 120 Litres of beer, plus possibly a couple of more special beer for the day.

2: 100% Brettanomyces -  I've done a couple of these beers now, and they've turned out pretty well. I really like how they play with some of the New age NZ Hops out there. My main goal for this is a medal at the NHC towards the end of the year, using 100% Brettanomyces fermentation, I'll most likely revise the existing Saison recipe to where I think I need to take it. given the WLP644 talk, I may look to amend the yeast to something more Brett-y. Maybe Lambicus, like 8 Wired. Time will tell.

3: New Equipment -  I've got a new Mash tun, and I'll continue to use the existing boil kettle, I need a HLT, Pumps, Stand, and I'll be set to go, this will be an ongoing project. I'm not aiming to finish it by the end of the year, but some progress would be great.

4: First Solo Barleywine - This is going to be a fun one. a beer (no honey), in a full sized batch of 18-21 litres. I know what my plan is, I'm just trying to fit it into my schedule somewhere. this is going to happen sooner rather than later, and of course 100% NZ Hops.

5: The SJPORR Challenge 2015 - I understand this challenge will be taking place world-wide again. So I aim to enter it again, and hopefully improve on my 10th placing for the recent one.

6: More Sours - I have plans to add to my Guts and Glory Flanders Red, I plan to add a Sour blonde and a Darker beer as well through the year.so watch this space.

7: Improve my process and fermentation - The Obligatory learn more improve the beer goal. This is actually a pretty important goal to have. If you don't improve and adjust the processes in place how will I/you become better brewers, and make, well, better beer in general. this actually ties together with the first goal of getting beers ready for my wedding.

8: Find a House Strain - This is a hard one, but it is on the list of things to do. While I've had good success with the dry yeasts out there. I really would like to save some money and invest in liquid yeast. Here in New Zealand the vials tend to be more expensive, but can be used a few time/multiple times in different beers/styles. If I get stuck I've always got the Dry stuff to fall back on. This may not necessarily be one particular strain. but a couple of different ones. But the overall aim is to find a house strain for American/clean style beers, also possibly something for Belgian style beers (this could even be Brettanomyces, who knows.) I'm aiming for a list of liquid yeast no more then 4-5 strain long. I can add 1 strain to my house list, WYeast 1469 - West Yorkshire Ale. this will most likely be my house strain for the quintessential British Real Ale. all I need now is a clean ale strain, and a Belgian strain (Less so, as I like the hugely different characteristics of some of the different strains out there.)

9: The Sons of Liberty Porter - Ha!I haven't, and will never give up on the beer. Despite the 15 and 8 out of 50 in the two previous NHC competitions. this is a beer I will get right eventually. you might say I have un-finished business with this brew. but let's not kid ourselves here, it may take sometime. but damn it will be worth it!!!

10: Release my first Commercial Beer - This will be on my list every year, until I achieve it. I don't think I'll achieve it this year. Maybe not even next year. But it will happen. I'll leave you to speculate on what that style would be or should be.

Phew! That a year worth of goals, plenty to pack into 12 months if you ask me. Have you got any goals for the year that is? If your listening/reading out there, let me know.

On separate notes, (there's a couple), I've kicked the Black IPA keg, it held it's own, and while it wasn't as good as the first version, it was still pretty damn tasty. I decided at the last minute to keg the Clown Prince Belgian Blond(SMaSH) and it's drinking nicely so far, some more time is required though given the sugar and alcohol involved. i used WLP500 from the Backup plan previously. Supposedly this is the Chimay strain, and you can tell, it's so Banana bread-y.
Fining with Gelatin: I fined the Belgian with Gelatin, to help clear up, what looked literally like yellow milk. the strain seems to take forever to clear out, so I just helped it along a bit. Gelatin is something I will probably start to use more, to remove unwanted haze, and I'm noticing some slightly more bitter note in my beers, when they're not clearing properly. This article HERE, suggests, that this is due to additional yeast in suspension, causing that extra bitter bite.

War-Pigs IPA is still in the keg, but it's a bit Meh, Damn Diacetyl. I'll have some tasting notes of War-Pigs up soon. along with the recipe as usual.

Lastly, I brewed up Version 2 of Promised Land Pilsner, but used WLP090 (so technically not a Pilsner). This is for my Friends Stag Party in a few weeks.

Primary1(Plastic): Promised Land II
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Watch This Space}
10 Litre PET Carboy: Braggot/Honey Ale
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): {Watch This Space}
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine + Partigyle.
Keg1: War-Pigs Am. IPA
Keg2: {Nothing}
Keg3: Clown Prince Belgian Blond
Next Beer to Brew: CYBI - Stone Levitation Ale Clone

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