November 22, 2011

Slow month for brewing, busy month for school

This has been a particularly busy month which is why I haven't had a chance to write anything since the beginning of the month. I have a solid week of studying (minus a little turkey time) and then two hardcore weeks of studying intermixed with four finals. I'll be especially happy when this semester ends for a couple of reasons. First, it's the last heavy load semester of classes and second, the day after finals end my wifey and I are going to visit friends in Colorado and cram in a cool eight brewery tours in six days. It's the perfect time to go and get all those rare tap house-only Christmas beers/winter warmers. When I return I will get to brew the second year of the lambic solera and take my first taste of that beer, so I'm excited both to get to brew a big batch and to taste the lambic. I also hope to get another small batch or two fired up if I have the time. Unfortunately I have a lot of non-brewing stuff waiting to get done over the break and next semester.

I am excited for December to roll around because that means it's time to break open my winter saison, which I brewed all the way back in March to give the brett time to wear out. The beer has a little cinnamon and a big helping of homemade candy sugar so I have high expectations for the beer. There's also a hoard of beers to open in my beer stash. My bottle of Petrus oud bruin I bought back in May will get opened up after my last final. I also have a couple bottles of Goudenband and Liefman's kriek I'm very excited to try. I also have a wit, Blanche de Namur, that looks interesting, the new Ovilla Quad, one of my winter favorites, Affligem Noel, a year old bottle of Scaldis Noel, a Jester King collaboration hoppy wheat, and not to be left out, a vienna/rye I brewed at the beginning of the month but lost the time to bottle.

December will also mark the opening of the first Specs Liquor in the Dallas area. Specs is a south Texas chain of liquor stores that sells a great selection of beer, wine and liquors. They are also extremely reasonably priced for the selection they offer. I'm excited to hit those great deals.

I will also promise to release more posts next month, including the tasting, bottling, replenishing and final decisions about the lambic solera for year one. I will include the vienna/rye blond recipe and some tasting notes, tasting of the winter saison, some thoughts on the legal intricacies of opening a brewery, and hopefully a lot more, including what I learn and taste at all those brewery tours. I hope I can get everything done with my abbreviated winter break -- I am losing a week to some week-long winter session classes -- and start anew for the spring.

As with 2011 I expect to do a lot of brewing in the early part of 2012, namely because the cold temperatures makes keeping batches cool considerably easier than the warmer months. So for now there is definitely a fruit hefeweizen and a black ale waiting to be made. I plan on doing a fruit version of my saison -- probably apricot -- and maybe another winter version. I also want to brew up more gratzer, more green chile beer, a wit, a dubbel, a dunkelweizen and if I find the time and space, an oud bruin that will sit for a year until early 2013 after I complete the bar. Most of those beers will be small batches since I still have a good 16 gallons in bottles, plus 9 gallons in the fermenters. I'll also be rebuilding my hop garden and ordering some more rhizomes in the hopes that the summer of 2012 will be less brutal than 2011.

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