Before I set goals for 2016, let's check in and see how I did on my 2015 goals. The goals were:
- Water Chemistry: I'd like to learn more about how water chemistry affects my brewing. I'm going to start by reading Water from the Brewing Elements series
- e-HERMS: Complete my e-HERMS build
- Brew a high gravity ale (OG at least 1.100). To date, my highest OG has been 1.090.
- Brew a lager. The idea of brewing a lager intimidates me for some unknown reason.
- Dial in my pale ale recipe.
How'd I do? I purchased the Water book, started to read it and got distracted. Didn't pick it up again. I mostly finished my e-HERMs build...I built the control panel and HLT and am using it as an e-HERMs system, but I haven't ordered a larger mash tun...let's call this goal 75% complete. Brewing a high gravity ale...my Mexican Mocha Imperial Stout that I brewed in November came in at 1.106 (it then crapped out at 1.038, but my goal was OG, not ABV, so I'm calling this done). Brew a lager....this just didn't happen. Dial in my pale ale recipe....I didn't brew a single iteration of my pale ale this year. I brewed other pale ales, but not my pale ale.
Overall, I did a terrible job. I think part of the problem is my goals and motivations changed throughout the year, and buying a house (and then moving) killed my brewing for a couple of months.
Looking forward to 2016, let's set some goals:
- Brew a beer in excess of 11.5% ABV
- Brew a lager
- Complete my e-HERMS by getting a larger mash tun
- Brew a session IPA
- One blog post a month
Water chemistry is just not on my radar at the moment as I have too much stuff going on to fully commit to learning the science and then figuring out how to apply it. I've been attempting to brew a high ABV beer for a while now....The highest I've pulled off so far is 10.2%. I don't particularly enjoy high ABV beers, but at this point it's just the challenge of pulling off a fermentation of a high gravity wort to completion that is eluding me...I have a RIS fermenting right now that might fulfill this goal (started at 1.114 OG). I'm going to get to a lager this year if it kills me. I enjoy some of the dark German lagers, so I'll likely try something in that realm. I don't want to deal with trying to source soft water (my tap water is fairly hard) so pilsners are likely off the table for now.