End of the year – end of the world?

it's the end of the worl and I feel fineWhere has the time gone? Its almost 2013, and there have been no blog posts from Anarchy Lane North in many months. Well, we see 2013 only if the Mayans were wrong. But personally I think the guy writing the Mayan calendar just quit for the day and never went back to it. I’m sure they figured “eh, thats enough calendar.” So I figured it was time for an update as the year draws to a close. You might wonder…So what’s been going on? Where have you been? Well, many life changing things have been happening here, and brewing has taken a bit of a back seat. I left my job last spring, and found new employment at a better company. We also lost one of our brew-dogs to liver cancer, which was very hard.  But sadness turns to joy as Jayne Evil and I are expecting our first child very soon. Very exciting times!

But what about brewing? Well, I’ve gotten back on track, and have been brewing a bit. But not as much as I would like. With the wife not drinking any beer for the past 8 months, my consumer base dropped by half! The beers I have been brewing have been pretty standard. Nothing very exciting. Just beer. Session cream ales, pseudo-lagers,  and pale ales to fill the fridge. They probably have been nothing very exciting to write about anyway. But maybe there is something there after all. Why such simple beers? With limited brew days, why would you spend your time making such things?

One reason is that I didn’t feel very creative, and not a lot of spare time. When you are busy, sometimes the last thing you want to worry about is what your next batch of beer will be. So in general I just brewed what I felt like drinking at the time, and found recipes that fit those styles. I used ingredients I had on hand, and got the job done. It sound a little bit mundane, but sometimes you just need beer in the fridge. It was a coincidence that at the same time JMan was sort of doing the same thing. Brewing simple beers, with great results.

Out of that necessity for simple-minded beers came a few experiments as well. I needed to fill 3 kegs quickly with one brew day. So what do you do? Partygyle! I also used the opportunity to experiment with a concept JMan and I had talked about that he had recently tried, and that was double-batching. It is a simple concept of mashing / brewing a concentrated wort, and diluting priort to fermentation to get a much larger final volume. In the experiments JMan and I have done, this seems like a great way to brew larger volumes of beer on a smaller system. It also can allow you to get 2 different beers from the same mash by splitting into two fermenters.  I will definitely revisit this again.

We are currently planning our next Big-Brew for 2013. It’s been several years since we have done a giant mash brewday. And I’m glad JMan has brought up the idea again. It’s a great way to get a big volume of Barley wine using smaller systems, and partygyle brewing techniques for multiple beers. I’m sure it will be total anarchy as it should be.

I’m not sure where my brewing will go in 2013 with the impending childbirth. Brew-projects for 2013 involve adding a hood / vent system to my basement brewery to vent steam outside. That’s about it. My free time will no doubt be somewhat limited, but my guess is I will find time for brewing anyway. I’ve been thinking about time saving techniques, such as no-chill, BIAB, and just plain doing some extract beers. But I don’t think this will be necessary for the most part. My all-grain brew days have become fairly routine, and so I may just find myself brewing at different times of the day. Late or early when others are sleeping. Or splitting up the work as much as possible throughout the week. Where there is a will there is a way. I will continue to brew on!

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