Happy new year, citizens.

I am not big on resolutions – when I make a to-do list, I like to include items that I’ve already completed so I can start crossing things off right away and bask in the glow of my own incredible efficiency – but I do believe in the importance of intentionality and not waiting for things to happen all by themselves. So, with that in mind, here are my brewing resolutions for the 363 days to come:

  1. Read in a timely fashion these good books that Santa brought me.
  2. Renew the bonds of friendship with some yeast strains and beer styles that I haven’t visited in years … Dortmunder, Witbier, straight lambic, Wyeast 2565 …

I’d love to hear what you guys have planned for your fermentors and kegs this year.

54 thoughts on “2013

  1. One of the first will be a session CDA, similar to the one Keeler did. Was that your recipe? Any suggestions for changes to the recipe? I’ve got an ounce of Simcoe I was thinking of using….

    • I have done Jakes CDA from NB. It was one of the most complemented on beers I have made. I would not make any changes to that recipe. I have another that is basically the same malt bill but the hops level is kicked up a few notches for the hop heads I am friends with.

      • Thanks Jeff. I made that last fall, and loved it myself. I also overhopped it a bit. 🙂 Wondering if the Simcoe flavors will conflict with the darker malts.

    • Originally, yes, but it’s gone through many permutations as both he and I have rebrewed it since. It takes very well to improvisation – I like it with a bigger load of aroma hops (Simcoe is great, as is Centennial, Cascade, Columbus, Zythos …) at flameout; Jake’s most recent version used a bit of cherrywood smoked malt.

      • Dawson – If you care to comment: I have a single ounce of Simcoe to use. I use a CFC and it takes 20-30 to chill everything into the carboy. Better to use that ounce of Simcoe at flameout or dryhop?

        • What kinda beer and how big of a batch? If it’s 5 gallons of straight-ahead pale ale, a flameout addition should still showcase the goodness; for something burlier like a CDA or IPA, a dry hop addition might give more mileage.

          • This is for the Session CDA. Thanks for the advice – she’ll go into the dry hop. Or maybe I’ll do 1/2 and 1/2 and round out with Centennial or Columbus ….. Thanks again.

  2. My plans are to expand my hop garden, splitting up the rhizomes that have produced well here in Vermont for me- Cascade, Chinook, and Saxon- to get more in the freezer come fall. Along with that, continue a few more (an IPA is already there) 100% homegrown hopped recipes that highlight their wonderfulness. Hope to pass the BJCP tasting exam and judge a competition or two.
    Happy New Year!

  3. Only been brewing for a year, but trying to nail down some staple recipes. Scheduled to brew a Kolsch and Pale mild this month. I have brewed those before and find myself really enjoying some quality session beers. Also hoping to get the kegerator project completed.

  4. Happy New Year ol chap..

    Hmmmm lets see… I have a Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Milk Stout (AG) in the works for the Missus then a Belgian Quad (extract) then my first attempt at a lager (possibly a Castle Lager Clone) and then a session beer of some sort.

  5. Beer related…
    – Finish getting my kegging system built out
    – Brew a maple stout (similar to Third Street Sugar Shack)
    – Get better at identifying hop flavor and aroma profiles

  6. G’day Dawson,
    I have a friend that has come back from a European holiday and is raving about Staroparmen dark lager from Prague. I am interested in giving it a crack. Got any advice? Recipes for clones are hard to find on the net.
    Others brews on the go are couple of Belgians, Blonde and Brown.
    Currently drinking a Pale Ale with Galaxy dry hops. Great armoa and flavour.
    Good to see you back in the public space on the interweb.
    Sydney, Australia.

    • I haven’t had the Staropramen dark, but I just had a half liter of Zatec dark on NYE and it was delicious. From what I’ve tasted and read, dark Czech lagers are very close cousins to Munich Dunkel but with a bit higher IBU and hop presence, plus a Czech lager yeast instead of Bavarian (natch). A solid Dunkel recipe plus a bit extra Saaz and your favorite Czech strain should get you most of the way there. Wyeast 2782 Staro Prague is a limited release strain and presumably originates from Staropramen … it’s fantastic but also unfortunately not available right now; so something like Wy2000 or 2001 would be my next choices.

      • Thanks for the advice Dawson.

        I know your not at NB anymore but in the spirit of sharing some beer nerd-dome from down under, I noticed on the NB site they have an Australian Sparkling Ale kit. Coopers Sparkling Ale is the preeminent example in the market and possibly the only ale branded as “sparkling”. Coopers Sparkling it is very turbid and is one of the few commercial examples of a bottle conditioned beer in the Australian market. Some would consider the use of “Sparkling” in the name as a piss take. In 1862 when Thomas Cooper started brewing his Sparkling Ale, I suspect that satire wasn’t one of the key marketing strategies when choosing the name of his beer.

        The Coopers business is still run by the Cooper family and is the largest independent brewer here.


        • Cool, thanks AD – I think I remember reading in an old Michael Jackson book (which had a small chapter devoted to the AU sparkling ale style) that the “sparkling” adjective was originally a reference to the CO2 level and not the clarity. Seem right?

  7. This year I’m going try sour beers using the sout mash technique and maybe even pluck up the courage to do a full on Lambic using Wyeast 3763 🙂

  8. Plan to be nicer to my yeast, i.e. not treat them like a fortnight stand, but rinse and repitch and let them continue to ferment for multiple generations, all while exploring every style (or not) they can be used in.

  9. hmmmm….Last year list included learning to brew a decent lager and to that end I brewed 3 of them.This year I’d like to learn more about brewing a Lambic and then brew one.

  10. Well, with a friend we brewed a Chocolate Blueberry Stout on the first. We will see how it turns out. I have been reading the blueberries really do not carry thier flavor through with beer.

    I will pretty much be following the brewing calendar this year, since it is my first year of brewing. I hope to get my spare refrigerator turned into a 4 tap kegorator by the end of the year. May even start growing my own hops as an experiment.

  11. I’m going to spend my second year as a home brewer learning more about the ingredients, doing some SMaSH batches to really get an understanding of different malts and hops. My wife has also expressed interest in lambics, so that might happen.

  12. My plan is to get more fermentors and more kegs. I need to brew more often. There are so many different combo’s of malts and yeasts I want to try. Also, I want to dial in a great full-bodied low gravity pale ale. One I can drink 6 of and not be hammered. I’m thinking 10% rye, and a chinook, simcoe, and crystal whirlpool.

    Brew Strong!

  13. 2013 is the year to perfect this nascent hobby called extract home brewing. I am on my fifth batch and want to perfect all associated techniques ( esp fermentation) before the next step to BIAB.

  14. Plan on brewing my pumkin ale kit from NB. Procrastination 🙂
    Get into all grain brewing, just having a hard time deciding what equipment to buy.
    Complete my 1st lager a bock (6th brew overall) in 2013.

  15. I’m going to brew a Munich Dunkel. I’m collecting the grist today, and the hops are in my fridge. I’m going to brew a single hop IPA, for which I have a veritable bucket of Citra.
    I’m going to build a temperature controlled fridge freezer (Independently temperature controlled fridge and freezer parts of course), for which the parts are in my parts box.

    I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to brew more.

    Out of interest, MZA, how do

    I’ve seriously got to potty train my son. Phew.

    • … how do I potty train? With my kid, I found it to be much like fermenting a batch of beer: you can really only set the stage and create a conducive set of environmental factors, then just sit back and wait for the smaller organism(s) to actually conduct business … and then cleaning up after them when they’re done.

  16. I hope to do an Eisbock, assuming the weather cooperates. But I wish I had a better alternative to JZ’s shake the keg approach to knowing when to rack off the ice crystals.

  17. First brew of 2013 is a honey wheat, despite the cold weather that begs something darker and warmer. Then my first sour beer – a Berliner Weisse recipe in time for summer. This would be a good year to utilize my spare refrigerator and attempt a lager as well.

  18. I remember reading that Hunter S. Thompson typed out the entirety of A Farewell to Arms, and The Great Gatsby, to get the feel of how they wrote. In that vein, I am going to brew well know recipes this year. Denny’s BVIP and Rye IPA, Sister Star of the Sun, and a bunch of others that have been proven over the years. Doing this, I hope to have a better feel for how they developed their recipes in a more practical manner. Have any recommendations?

    Other than that, I hope to make more beers with friends around, and to have a day set aside with friends and family to pick hops, brew, and have some delicious food. I’ve got a couple of bines going into their 3rd year, and 3 others going into their 2nd year.

    Cheers, and happy brewing!

  19. I have freezer full of hops, a tote full of grains and a closet full of sours (Special thanks to your NB episode for giving me the push I needed) I am going to continue brew more IPAs, Hoppy Pales, and keep my never ending chain of sours going (Lambics and Flemish Reds every six months)

    Brewed my first IPA of the year tonight. Big emphasis on Simcoe with Centennial and Amarillo playing a supporting roll. Mashed at 149, hoping to finish down around 1.008. Next up is a RyePa with Galaxy and Nelson.

    Hoppy Brewing All!

  20. I moved from doing 3 Gallon BIAB to a 5 Gallon all-grain, no sparge method in August. During that process I kept trying to brew wild ideas and flavors without understanding every element. I plan to tone it down a notch to refine the no sparge process so I can truly understand how every aspect of my brew (grains, hops, water quality, etc).

  21. This year I’m going to dive into the world of AG brewing with my first attempt in about two weeks. Do you think its worth it for me to download ibrewmaster for Android?

    • Sure? It’s fairly inexpensive and pocket-sized, which are both nice. Personally I find myself using BeerSmith a lot more and printing out its brewsheet reports to use on brew day. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

      • I second BeerSmith. I have spend some time learning how to use it and It has taught me a few things since I am new to brewing. The price is not bad at all, and it satifies the scientific geekness in me knowing everything and the posibilities of what I am about to brew.

  22. Dave Miller’s Brew like a Pro is a great book, I just finished it. My plans are to continue to learn the brewing process doing extract for another couple months and mastering consistency… but my biggest leap is I think I’m ready to keg instead of bottle. I’d prefer to drink my beer from a tap and just bottle a few when visting buddies. Happy brewing Mr. Dawson!!

  23. A Dortmunder Export? Nice Style, indeed 😉
    Let us please know what of those you actually brewed and how they tasted!

    Hoppy new year!

  24. My brother just got engaged, so I’m planning on doing up 4 wines and some beers for the wedding. I got 8 better bottles a couple of months ago through a promotion, and I want to fill them with things I can age for a while and transfer to kegs as needed.

  25. The new Stan Hieronymus book is excellent, I love nerding out over the variety origins, and imagining being in one of those propagation yards smelling varieties for the first time… ah, its my “happy place” book.

  26. Got the same book for Christmas. Just started it and hoping my hop crop does better this year. Last year was a pain with the drought we had! Cheers Mr. Dawson.

  27. Will we see any Sustainor 2 this year? That’s up next for me, made it last year with WY2124 fermented around 60F then lagered in the bottle for 2+ months. With the keezer upgrade and newly found temps under my porch (32F-40F) lagering in keg should make it that much better!

  28. Hoping to start a local HB club with some pals who have a BBQ club. Sounds like a good combo to me!

    MZA – need you to make a comeback on the video screen. I gotz so much more to learn! Cheers!

  29. MZA,

    When you made the Sustainor 2, you split it and fermented with 05 and 2124. I’ve made this with the 2124 fermented at roughly 60F and very much enjoyed it. What was your personal preference when it came to the two? I’m re-brewing it again and would like to hear your thoughts.

      • Not having ever had the 05 version, but i can say the 2124 was something special. Now with the newfound 50F under-my-porch lager cave, i think i’ll stick with the 2124. I’ve got a somewhat vienna style on tap now with 2124, and it is magical. If it aint broke…

      • Sorry for the rapid questioning, but which of the 2 recipes did you prefer? Sustainor 2 or the original with Munich instead of the 2 row?

  30. G’Day Mike,

    Boy, am I glad to have tracked you down at this blog. I did notice your absence from BTV and shortly thereafter the end of the episodes. Not sure what happened there, and we will probably never know. To borrow from Heraclitus, the only thing that is constant is change.

    My 2013 brewing aims – obtain some glass carboys with a view to starting an adventure with sour/funky beers (at present I ferment in HDPE plastic). This has been on my to-do list for a couple of years now, so I’m going to try hard to make it happen. Also I’m going to aim to do some brew days with non-brewing friends to show them the process and hopefully demystify the magical transformation from malted barley to good beer. Might even make a brewer out of one or two of them.

    Look forward to reading your posts throughout the year. The interwebs will be a better place for the knowledge you share.

    Ben W
    Newcastle, NSW, Australia

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