Saturday, October 26, 2013

134 Beers Brewed. What's Next?

As a homebrewer, you always have the ability to branch out and try something new or different.  You don't really have to please anyone except yourself, so the rewards of successful experimentation far outweigh the risks.  If a particular beer comes out different than expected then you learn something from the process that you can manage for the next time.  If it's absolutely unpalatable then you pawn it off on brewing friends and dump the rest down the drain; you're only out of pocket an average of $20.

I've been slowly cycling through the many beer styles in the style guidelines and every once in a while I like to look back and take stock of what's been brewed and make decisions about what's to come.  Here's a breakdown of all 134 beers I've made in the past decade:

2B Bohemian Pilsener 1
3A Vienna Lager 1
3B Oktoberfest/Marzen 1
4B Munich Dunkel 1
4C Schwarzbier (Black Beer) 1
5B Traditional Bock 1
6D American Wheat or Rye Beer 1
7A California Common Beer 1
8A Standard/Ordinary Bitter 1
8B Special/Best/Premium Bitter 2
8C Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale) 1
9D Irish Red Ale 1
10A American Pale Ale 10
10B American Amber Ale 8
10C American Brown Ale 7
11A Mild 3
11C Northern English Brown Ale 1
12A Brown Porter 2
12B Robust Porter 9
12C Baltic Porter 2
13B Sweet Stout 1
13C Oatmeal Stout 3
13E American Stout 2
13F Russian Imperial Stout 3
14A English IPA 1
14B American IPA 18
14C Imperial IPA 7
16A Witbier 3
16B Belgian Pale Ale 3
16C Saison 6
16D Biere de Garde 2
16E Belgian Specialty Ale 5
17B Flanders Red Ale 4
17D Straight Lambic 1
17E Gueze 2
18B Belgian Dubbel 1
19C American Barleywine 2
21A Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer 1
23 Specialty Beer 6
24A Dry Mead 1
24C Sweet Mead 1
25B Pyment 2
26B Braggot 1
28D Other Specialty Cider or Perry 2

It's easy to see that my focus has been on American beers, especially IPAs and Pales.  There are also plenty of beers and styles I haven't even started to explore.  Likewise, I should mention that I've included Dregs beers that I've made (10 so far) which are either approximations of styles or complete anomalies depending on what base beer and yeast are combined together.  Some of my favorite homebrews have been lagers, which is interesting because I rarely seek out commercial examples.  Maybe it's all of the time and effort it takes to make them come out right.  I realize that I need to make more beers with fruit and spend more time working on mead and braggot recipes-drinks that I really enjoy.  

For the last weeks of 2013, I plan to make a blackberry cyser, a lambic (number 2 in a series meant for a gueuze), a hibiscus metheglin and a barleywine (recipe to come).