Brew Year Goals for 2014


Happy New Year, kids.

I kicked off 2014 right with a can of Heady Topper, while my girlfriend and dog slept on top of me/my couch in the post-midnight afterglow. Today consisted of some Winter Classic action, some homemade pizza and now this blog. I want to kick off 2014 with something I rarely make: resolutions.

As I try to mature (pronounced “ma-tour”) as a brewer, I want to give myself some milestones and guide-markers to aim for; so I’m setting some Brew Year Goals for 2014.

2014 Brewing Goals

  1. Compete in a Homebrew Competition. Pretty straight-forward. The best way to improve is to have your beers critiqued. While I appreciate the general thumbs up/thumbs down from my friends, so more pointed criticisms should help me as a brewer.
  2. Join a Homebrew Club. I sought to do that in my first year as a brewer, but I’ve struggled to find one whose time and geography fit my schedule. Since I travel a lot for work, weekday meeting nights don’t really work for me. I also don’t want to drive more than 30 minutes away from home if I can avoid it.
  3. Improve my Homebrew Setup. This is one-part buying new/better equipment, and one-part analysis of my setup to better understand where I’m losing efficiency and how I can make my brewdays more productive.
  4. Re-Brew Cheeky Bastard. Cheeky is probably my most successful brew to date. The aroma on this brew was awesome – 5 outta 5 awesome. I’d like to dial in the bitterness and mouthfeel on this beer because I think it could help me with…
  5. Develop a “House” Beer. I want to start establishing a “roster” of beers that are 1. good and 2. re-brewable so that I can start dialing them in and perfecting them. Obviously an IPA should be one of those brews, so I think Cheeky will make the short-list. I’m also enjoying Winter Sun, but want to wait to see how Hairy Dog’s Breakfast turns out before settling on a stout.
  6. Switch to Kegging. This is something I almost pulled the trigger on multiple times this year. So far the more consistent problem I’ve had with brewing is carbonation. I pitched extra champagne yeast into Cheeky and that sort of threw off  the mouthfeel of that brew; Suicide by Hops, 187 and Midnight In the Garden all failed to carbonate.
  7. Improve My Yeast Ranching. Part of the reason I believe those beers failed to carbonate was due to poor yeast ranching on my part. I want to improve my ability to wash, harvest and propagate yeast. I have some Conan from Cheeky that I plan to propagate for another brew.
  8. Finish Reading BrewingYeast, and HopsI have been buying/reading various different brewing books, but I haven’t finished one since How to Brew. I plan to sit down and focus on reading a few of these books to help improve my brewing knowledge.
  9. Brew 20+ Time in 2014. This is a pretty ambitious goal and comes down to one brew every 2-3 weeks for a year. I think I can hit this target and if the brews keep improving, I should make for some interesting beers.

Is there anything else that you think should be on this list? I’m leaving room for #10 (because 9 is my lucky number), so feel free to leave some ideas/advice in the comments.

Happy New Year!

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10 Comments

  1. Great list! I’ve made similar resolutions for myself in the comming year with the exception of kegging… First and foremost I’m hoping to participate in a few local homebrew competitions, but have a small obstacle to overcome. I don’t cap, nor am I a fan of starting and I never use small bottles. Unfortunately, most comps require unlabelled, capped 12 oz brown bottles for entry. Just a heads up as you work towards this goal yourself…

    Reply

    1. I usually do the 22s for bottling, but I’ve started doing 12oz because my friends have started to like the beers I’m brewing and ask for sixers.

      Reply

  2. Want to hit your brewing goal of 20 batches? Give more beer away. Kegging will help a lot with this as I found once I could fill growlers for people I had to brew 2-3 times a month just to keep supplies high.

    Reply

      1. I highly recommend kegging and you just reminded me of another much better reason. No more conditioning. Properly carbonated beer in a few days. Also I dry hop in the keg. Insanely superior beer. Good luck!

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