2009 Brew Year Goals

I believe that people are more successful when they have goals — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound goals. I also believe that most people make completely bogus New Years resolutions and quickly forget them. It is no surprise when the year ends and they have not accomplished them. That is why I am defining my 2009 Brewing Goals, not my New Years resolutions.

Here are my goals for the coming brew year:

  1. Reuse the yeast cake from a previous batch
    • Some folks pitch right on top of a previous cake. Others wash and save. I bought some Wyeast British Cask Ale Yeast from the private collection that just ended, it would be nice to get more than one batch out of it. Since I just made a batch of CJ’s JPA after Christmas with it this would be a great time to start.
    • Here is the goal: Figure out how to get more than one batch out of a pack of yeast.
    • Do it by Groundhog Day (2/2/2009)
  2. Organize a group buy for equipment and ingredients amongst your brewing friends to save on shipping
    • There is no homebrew shop close to me. I order my equipment and ingredients from the Internet. Sometimes the shipping charge is more than the cost of what I am buying.
    • I do know a couple other home brewers in the area. If we pool our orders maybe we can share the pain on the shipping.
    • It might even be possible to go in with one of the local brew pubs.
    • Here is the goal: When you are going to place an order, let your brewing friends know and have them let you know what they want to buy from the same places and order it all together.
    • Do it by Saint Patrick’s Day (3/17/2009)
  3. Plant some hops
    • Who wants to get caught paying too much or stuck in a shortage when hops grows on trees… uh… bines?
    • Look over some of your favorite beers and determine what hops are your favorite.
    • Select a few hop varieties to grow. Think bitter, flavor, aroma, style.
    • Order some hop rhizomes.
    • Plant and care for them.
    • Do it by the first day of Spring (3/21/2009)
  4. Put together a “toolbox” for brewing stuff
    • I have all my brewing stuff stashed in cardboard boxes around the house. When I need to do something, I search through all of them to find what I am looking for.
    • Here is the goal: Figure out what brewing equipment you need on a typical brew day and buy a toolbox from the hardware store that will hold it all. Do the same thing for bottling day. If it will all fit, great! If not, get a second one for that stuff.
    • Do it by National Homebrew Day (5/2/2009)
  5. Completely nail at least one brew
    • Thorough cleaning and sanitation
    • Proven recipe
    • Quality ingredients
    • Good grain crush
    • Proper steeping
    • Full boil
    • Correct hop schedule
    • Rapid wort chilling
    • Adequate aeration
    • Sufficient quantity of healthy yeast with ample nutrition
    • Proper and stable fermentation temperature
    • Appropriate priming and conditioning
    • Do it by Memorial Day (5/25/2009)
  6. Start whirlpool chilling
    • When I bought my immersion chiller, I got the optional recirculation package. It is not doing me any good sitting in the box it came in.
    • Here is the goal: Buy a high temperature rated, food grade pump and the appropriate plumbing and fittings to be able to recirculate during chilling.
    • Be ready to try it on a brew by the first day of Summer (6/21/2009)
  7. Develop a house beer
    • It will probably be somewhere between Saranac Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Something that Gretchen will like as well as I do. Hoppy with a good malt backbone and a clean finish.
    • Have a draft recipe and brew it by Independence Day (7/4/2009)
    • Work on making it consistently.
    • Make two consecutive consistent batches by the end of the year (12/31/2009)
  8. Get the water tested
    • Water chemistry effects mash pH as well as hop utilization.
    • Everybody says to go to Ward Labs and ask for the W-6 Household Mineral Test for $16.50.
    • Do it by Mead Day (8/1/2009)
  9. Brew a partial mash beer
    • There is no magic here. I just want to try partial mash brewing to get my feet wet with base grains.
    • Find a partial mash recipe, or even a kit, and try it out.
    • Follow the instructions to the letter and see how you think it compares to extract with steeped grains.
    • Do it by Labor Day (9/7/2009)
  10. Attend a regional brewfest and do a write-up
    • Gretchen and I attended several festivals last year and had a great time. At the Selinsgrove Brewfest we had the honor of chatting with Hugh from Clipper City Brewing and he even served us Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale. Awesome stuff and we had a great time.
    • It also served as a nice opportunity for the wife and I to get away from things here on the farm and see a little bit of the world outside and enjoy some time together.
    • Here is the goal: Identify brewfests within a reasonable driving distance. Consider the breweries that will attend and the beers that you like. Look at the area where it is being held and see whether there are other things to see in the area — Parks, museums, battlefields, and so on. Book a motel room nearby so you do not need to drive afterwards. Make an overnight trip out of it. After you get back, share the joy with the brewing community on the Internet.
    • Do it by the end of Summer (9/21/2009)
  11. Get more flip-top bottles
    • I have 5 — count ’em, five — Grolsch bottles. I have had them since I got into home brewing the first time in the early ’90s. They are great. If I have got a little more beer to bottle than I expected, I just pop it in those. The rubber seals are reusable and cheap to replace when they wear out. The problem is I only have five of them.
    • Option 1: Buy a case of Grolsch from the local distributor and save the bottles.
    • Option 2: Buy a case of generic brown flip-top bottles from a homebrew supply store.
      • Pro: They are brown so the beer is less likely to go skunky.
      • Con: They are expensive and glass sometimes carries extra shipping charges.
    • Here is the goal: Get at least 12 more flip-top bottles.
    • Do it by Columbus Day (10/12/2009)
  12. Dial in the system
    • A consistent brew is all about knowing how your system works. While you are starting out, measure everything.
    • How much water per pound does your steeping grain absorb?
    • How long does it take your burner to heat a given volume at a given temperature to a boil?
    • How much boils off in an hour?
    • How much gas does it take to boil for an hour?
    • How long does it take to cool from a boil to a given pitching temperature?
    • How much water do you use during cooling?
    • If you know these things it is easier to formulate recipes and know whether you are brewing consistently.
    • Do it by Thanksgiving (11/26/2009)
  13. Make at least one step further on the brewing path
    • All grain brewing
      • I do not know how attainable this one is given that I still have it as a goal to nail one extract brew.
    • Kegging
      • This seems reasonable. In fact, I understand that it will make brewing easier and more enjoyable.
    • Here is the goal: Invest in the equipment needed to get started with kegging and keg at least one batch of beer.
    • Do it by Christmas (12/25/2009)
  14. Work on a logo for the brewery
    • Everybody else has one. Why not me?
    • Something with rolling hills (Hey! It’s a valley for Pete’s sake!). Low rounded ones to reflect the Appalachian foothills where I live.
    • Something memorable that will make a nice backdrop or accent for beer bottle labels, glassware, and clothing.
    • Do it by the end of the year (12/31/2009)
  15. Visit a brewery or brewpub and do a write-up
    • Who needs an excuse to go to a brewery or brewpub? Nobody, but here’s one anyway.
    • Here is the goal: Go to a brewery or brewpub and write up a post about your experience.
    • Do it by the end of the year (12/31/2009)
  16. Volunteer to help out at a brewery or brewpub in your area
    • While you are at that brewery or brewpub let them know you are a budding home brewer and see if you could help out. They’ll probably put you on clean up duty, but everybody needs to start somewhere and you still get to watch.
    • Do it by the end of the year (12/31/2009)

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p>There! Those are by brew goals for the new year.

What are yours?

2 Replies to “2009 Brew Year Goals”

  1. Holy smokes! That ought to keep you busy. Just remember you have lots of resources out here. BTW Growing hops is a no brainer. Check out my site for some basics. Cascade grows well for me here in Southeastern PA.Reusing the yeast cake is good, but, watch out for violent fermentations. They can blow off quite a large amount of beer. I’m gonna try to combat that by removing some of the yeast next time and using a bigger carboy.Completely nailing a brew starts with practice. So BREW MORE :-)Great post.

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