2015 Brewing Plans

20140415-192907.jpgIt’s already February, I should be done announcing my plans for the year by now, but this is it, I promise. I have a few broad ideas as well as some more specific ones for my brew schedule this year and now that I’ve shared how I plan to write them up, I’ll let you in on what I’ll be making.

My first brew of the year was a new batch of Elkland Amber Ale. I plan to bring back several more recipes, most of which have become annual staples at this point. Next up on this list is Elkland Lager. The first batch of this beer from two years ago was Elkland Adjunct Lager, last year I called it Elkland Golden Lager, with the amber version converting to ale, I’m planning to simplify to just Elkland Lager this year.

Next up will be Table Cat. The first version of this beer, Bier De Table Cat from 2013, was too bitter among other problems. Last year’s was one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. It was gone way too quickly. As I’ve mentioned before, I recently bought a new fifteen gallon kettle, so the batch size of this quaffer is going to be as large as I can fit in there. Otherwise, I’m keeping the recipe as close to last year’s as possible.
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Old SMaSHy barley wine and Jade Otter, made from its second runnings will also be three-peating. I think I’ll be sticking with the yeast I used last year for Old SMaSHy and continue trying new Belgian strains for Jade Otter. I may up the hops even more, as well because they still seemed pretty mild last year.

My latest batch of Mount Hoodie is still lagering, but I plan to continue that tradition for a fourth year, as well. There are other beers and styles that I plan to repeat, though they don’t fit the seasonal nature of the ones I’ve already listed. I would normally already be drinking this year’s Amy Ni-Kölsch, but scheduling hasn’t worked out so far, it will be making a return later in the year. I’m going to be doing more Berlin(er Weisse) and a version with ginger.

Those will not be my only wheat beers, either. I’m planning to experiment with several wheat beer styles that I haven’t tried yet this Spring. I’m going to brew an American Wheat Beer, a Belgian Wit and a Gose. I did ‘Merican Wit, a hoppy wit beer, a couple years ago, but I’m going traditional this year. Gose is somewhat similar to Berliner Weisse, so I have that experience to help but I still need to do more research to get as traditional as I can. As for the American Wheat, that is a newer style that is still evolving. My plan is to use a neutral ale yeast with a lot of Red Wheat in a moderately hoppy beer.

The American Wheat will be ready for Memorial Day, the others will be around that time period as well. Hopefully before that, I will be starting my first full on sour beer. I’ve experimented with several lacto fermented beers and more recently some Brett beers, in the coming months I’ll be using the full range of yeast and bacteria to ferment a Flemish Red Ale. My plan is to do two sour beers this year, starting with the Red in the Spring, followed by something else in the Fall. I don’t know what that beer will be, but I want to get a couple things going so I can keep a solid flow of sour beer once I get the first taste.

Speaking of that Brett, though, I have more plans for long aging beers. I’m hoping to do another Old Ale. This time, I will get more traditional, though. A strong, dark, English Ale which I will ferment traditionally and then age on oak with Brett. I hope to do one or two more generations with the Brett that is sitting under Green Painted Gold before then, but I don’t have specific plans yet.
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A lot of these plans are sure to change and a lot more will be added. In the immediate future, I’m planning a Pre-Prohibition American Pilsner and a double batch of Porter (half normal and half with bourbon, oak and vanilla). I’d like to fit in one more lager while it’s still cold. I want to do another, more traditional Saison this Summer. I also want to do a lot more session beer. We’ll all just have to wait and see how much of this I manage to get to.

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