With the weather cooling down, as much as that is here in Florida, I’m ready to get full speed into brewing. The summer months got to be way too hot, and busy. Much more so than I thought it would. So brewing had to take a backseat to stuff that could be done inside the house, and as little time away from work as possible. I only squeaked out a handful of beers. And those beers were actually pretty good, at least the ones that are complete. The Citra SMaSH was gone before I knew it. The Westvleteren clone is kegged and drinking good. The Florida Weisse is still sitting on its yeast, and the aroma is quite pleasing. I just need to make up a decent batch to use for the yeast underneath it. By the way, this yeast seems more like a Saison yeast – which is what I’ll probably make with it.

Saying I’m going to be doing something and actually doing it are two different things. But I tend to plow through tasks if I have them listed out, mostly. That’s what I’ll be doing here. I’m hoping to make ample amounts so I can bottle some and keg the rest. The idea being that I will rarely open a bottle of homebrew if it’s in a keg. This will allow me to enter competitions. Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. And having the bottles handy will certainly help me attain, at least, that goal.

To help with the competition aspect I still wish there was a good calendar app that listed them all. The AHA has a decent listing of comps for the year. The format is just not something I can use as easily as I want to. I’ve begun making a calendar for myself that will list them all out for me in an easier to view format. Plus, I’m not sure if they list all competitions. Not to mention that once the competition has passed, you aren’t able to view it on their site. At least that I’ve seen so far. My method will allow that for me. And I’ll have to pull the information from the AHA and BJCP site to cover all my bases.

On that note! The BJCP note that is…I’m still looking at getting my tasting test out of the way. I had planned on this past summer/fall, but last minute dropouts that give me less than a week’s notice isn’t what I’d call an ideal setup. I’ll plan on taking the exam this time next year when I’m on my way to retirement and will have a little more free time. Which will mean I’ll have to take the entrance exam again, from what I’ve read at least. Hopefully they will let me take it without charging me again since I paid for three attempts and only used one. They say it’s hard, but if you’ve been brewing for any amount of time over a year, it’s easy.

Okay, back on track.  My plan is to knock out 30 gallons of imperial stouts so I can get my barrels stripped and onto the sour program they were meant for. I’m hoping to get this one brewed soonest, but I’m not looking forward to the super long day that will be. Base will be the Kate the Great clone that I’ve brewed once before. I didn’t get to sample much of that since my youngest was in investigating what was in the barrel while I was away on a business trip. The HBT team worked diligently on this recipe and it shows. For the small sample I did get was most excellent. I’m thinking of having this beer ferment out in my Speidel and Chronical. I’ve got the FTSs for the Chronical and will be making up an internal SS coil for the plastic fermenter. I’ll write about those when I get there, but I’m excited to see if the coil works in the plastic. I’m also thinking of making a glycol chiller, but we’ll see.

My next brew will be a Russian River Blind Pig clone. Followed closely by Pliny the Elder, one of my favorites. The final beer in this Russian River hops trilogy will be Pliny the Younger. I’ve never had the latter, and doubt I ever will. So whatever I make will be the closest I come. Of course I do have another RR on deck as well; Consecration. I’d brew that one right now if I had the fermentation space. I’ve still got 30+ gallons of sours chugging away in the closet. The cherry sour is almost to the point of adding cherries, well halfway there – almost.

My plan with the hoppy beers is to ferment the Blind Pig all the way out, cold crash then rack to secondary. That same day I’ll be brewing Pliny the Elder and racking that onto the yeast cake. Do the same with PtE and rack Younger on top of that cake. Of course this is all plan right now. If I see too much sludge left over I’ll have to think of something else. I may have to rinse the yeast in order to eliminate some of the dry hop mess. No big deal, and should only add a few minutes to the brew day. These batches are only going to be about 5 gallons to start with. If anyone of them sticks out I’ll definitely brew again.

Well there it is! My short term schedule all laid out in front of me. I’ll update with each brew day as it happens.

Good brewing to you!