One of the reasons I started this blog was to track my brewing so I could look back and see how I have improved, record how my beer turned out, and whatever I happen to be planning. I want to brew a beer from each of the BJCP categories so I get some experience brewing and drinking a variety of beers. So I think it will be interesting to track my progress.
When I first started brewing, I made a couple of batches of APA followed by a couple of batches of IPA. I think a lot of new brewers do this sort of thing. I brewed a style of beer I like and then I brewed the most extreme version of that beer I could. That’s part of the appeal of brewing — make what you like, make something you probably couldn’t buy (and if you did it would cost way more and be less fun). Once I had a few kegs of Rogue inspired IPA around the house, I realized I didn’t want to drink double IPA all the time. It’s good, but I wanted a session beer too.
I set out to brew more drinkable beer. I also wanted to try something that required a colder fermentation. I made a couple of batches of California Common Ale and a batch of Kolsch; they seemed to fit with my general preference in beer. Both tasted great and were very popular. I think we went through the 2 5 gallon kegs of California Common Ale in 2 weekends. The California Common was definitely my most successful beer.
About this time my son Jonathan was born and brewing took a break. We moved into a new house and I moved my brewery into the backyard.
I brewed an very good IPA for my friend Stuart’s bachelor party. I made an Irish ale that I over-hopped trying to use my some spare hops for which I had no plans. I decided again I needed something more easy drinking, especially when I was brewing so infrequently. A few weeks back I brewed an English bitter. I just kegged it yesterday, so we’ll see how it turned out soon enough.
Anyway, with limited brewing time I decided I needed to have a better plan for my brewing. That Irish ale was just so random and took so much work and baby wrangling that I knew I needed to really like all the beer I made. I couldn’t just throw some stuff together and see what happened if I wanted to be happy with my brewing. Like Alison said, I was having low beer self-esteem serving that Irish ale. I also knew that I had to keep it interesting for me. I didn’t want to brew the same kind of thing all the time.
I’ll be generally following the recipes and suggestions in Brewing Classic Styles. You can buy a copy from Amazon or your LHBS. I’ll start with the easier recipes, styles I haven’t made before, and things I want to try. We’ll see how it goes.