As We Approach the New Year….

I’ve been homebrewing now for a little over 5 years, all grain for over two years. 2014 was special in that I think I’ve learned just as much this year about homebrewing as I did the previous four combined. This was the year that, for whatever reason, it turned from a casual hobby into an obsession, though a healthy one (I hope). There were a lot of brew days, a lot of research, a lot of reading about all things homebrewing and all things craft beer in general. 2014 was all about getting to know my process and system, tweaking it here and there, and getting proficient. I added a sparge step to my BIAB which allowed me to scale up to 5 gallons. I found a cheap way to control my fermentation temps, keeping it in the upper sixties. I characterized my brewhouse efficiency and worked around that to make the beers I want to make by incorporating grain overages in my recipes. I’ve developed 12 recipes that I think cover a wide spectrum of styles, all of which I enjoy (or I wouldn’t be brewing them). So I think 2015 will be less about experimentation and more about quality and proficiency. 12 recipes, 12 batches, 12 months. My main goal is to execute. Execute the recipe of the month on my system as flawlessly as I possibly can and trust the process I’ve developed. If I can go the next twelve months and pump out those twelve batches, resulting in 12 beers that I believe are of good quality, then I can think about doing some experimentation in 2016. As with a musical instrument, you have to learn the basics of playing it and become proficient before you can write a song. There are homebrewers out there that get so excited when they start homebrewing that their dreams get immediately bigger than their skill level. They plan on opening their own brewery before they’ve made the same beer twice. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself. I’m in this for the long haul. Like I say on my About page, maybe I’ll open my own microbrewery in my second act of life (10 years away probably). Maybe, maybe not. But obviously I’m not in a rush. I’m no expert and I still have a whole lot to learn. We all do, don’t we? Happy New Year. Proscht.

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