New year, new beer!

This year has started out really good in terms of beer for me! Other things haven’t been bad either, but I’ve hit the ground running in terms of both one of my most favorite hobbies and professionally as well.

In terms of homebrew both my wife and my parents gifted me with shiny new homebrew toys. From my parents I got a really nice Monster Mill 3 grain grinder. My wife got my a Bayou Classic SQ-14 propane burner. While I’m the one who does most everything in the kitchen from cooking to cleaning, I know she’s happier to not have to maneuver around me on a brew day just to get a snack or some milk for Gabriel. So now I’ve been working on moving my brewing experience to the garage. It’s a little colder, but there’s a lot more space, and it is much easier to clean things up afterwards.

The first new brew day in the garage wasn’t smooth sailing. I knew there would be some extra work figuring out how to deal with new processes and set things up in a new space. What I hadn’t been counting on was my mill utterly failing. At first the free spinning rollers wouldn’t spin. Then nothing spun and the torque from the drill tried to rip off my thumb. Fortunately I let go of the drill quick and the mill simply tipped dumping grain all over. I had been smart enough to use old musty grain to test the mill out with before putting the good grain in. Occasionally I can be forward thinking. Anyway after about two hours of banging on it finally fixed the issue (the hopper needed to be bent in a little bit as one of the edges of the hopper was just barely touching the roller, but created enough friction to keep it from moving). Once working it was great! Sadly my first brew day was hours longer than even brewing in the kitchen had been. Fortunately my second garage brewing attempt was much better, and was about an hour quicker than I’d normally have; and that’s even after doing a 90 minute boil on a bunch of pilsner malt!

Professionally speaking I’ve been the assistant brewer at Rogues’ Harbor Inn for roughly 9 months. The start of this year saw the release of the first beer that is based off my own original recipe! My first ever commercial brew was a Robust Porter. It’s a little different than the homebrew version that I made. I generally get much better attenuation at home than I do at the brewery. As a result the commercial version of my porter was a little sweeter, but that actually worked out well. It accentuated the chocolate malt and gave it a nice espresso and chocolate character. The homebrew was a little more roasted since it finished drier. I’m happy with my first commercial recipe and I certainly hope other people have been enjoying it as well!

I’m hoping this trend continues, not just in my beer related portion of life, but in all facets of my life! I could use a really good year since the second half of last year was less than stellar for me.