The New Year is a great time to reflect on accomplishments from the past year and think ahead to the next twelve months. While contemplating your goals and objectives for 2017, don’t forget to consider your brewing habits!
Below are my six “Brew Year’s” Resolutions:
Brew more – For starters I want to brew more beer. Not necessarily more frequently, but certainly more volume. Looking back on my homebrewing notes, I know that in 2016, I brewed 18 batches of beer, plus one batch of cider (two are still in progress). I do a lot of small batches: I yielded roughly 68 gallons of beer, for an average of about 3.75 gallons per batch. In 2017, I intend to brew more five-gallon batches and fewer small batches to make the most of my time and effort. At some point in the year, I plan to invest in a larger boil kettle and more fermenters to achieve this goal.
Get a keg system – I’ve been bottling my homebrew for four years now. It’s time for an upgrade! A kegging system will help me save time, allow me to drink my beer sooner, and make it easier to transport my homebrew to festivals and events.
Get control over fermentation temperature – Looking back over 2016, there were one or two batches that could have benefited from stricter fermentation temperature control. In the coming year, I intend to monitor fermentation temperatures more closely and go the extra mile to make sure fermentations happen in the correct temperature range.
Enter more homebrew competitions – I had a few batches that turned out very well (last spring’s Saison, for example). I’d like to submit more of my beers into homebrew competitions to get feedback and see if I can’t win a prize or two.
Brew more classic styles – As a homebrewer, I love to experiment, brewing crazy batches with unusual ingredients. In 2017, I plan to brew more of the classic styles: pale ales, stouts, Belgian ales. The fewer unusual ingredients, the easier it will be to evaluate my homebrew and make the necessary changes and improvements.
Repeat past brews – My final objective for next year is to redo a few of my beer recipes to see if I can improve them. I believe I’ve developed a good American pale ale recipe, it just needs some minor tweaking. With repetition, I’ll figure out how to make it turn out well on a consistent basis. This will ultimately be the best way for me to become a better brewer.
What changes do you want to make in 2017?
David Ackley is a beer writer, homebrewer, and self-described "craft beer crusader." He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.