I’ve often heard of a homebrewer’s beer supply as “the pipeline”. On one side of the pipeline, you’re making beer, on the other side of the pipeline, you’re drinking it.
Of course, in the middle there’s a whole series of stages. Fermenting, dry hopping, ageing, bottle conditioning, carbonating, etc. The key to a good pipeline is having a steady supply of beer that’s ready to be consumed.
Myself, I usually try to brew quick stuff when I’m running low, like pale ales or wheat beers, and when I have plenty of beer, I try to brew recipes that can stand a little age, like Irish Reds.
Just last month, my pipeline was dry as a bone. It was sad, I was actually, *gasp*, buying commercial beers. Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I like to brew enough so that I don’t have to buy much beer, or at least when I do buy beer, it’s so I can try something new, not out of necessity.
My “Cheeks to the Wind Mild” is in bottles now, although I’ve tried a few, and they were delicious, they still needed some time to carbonate. I think it’s the cold weather that’s slowing it down.
Then a few weekends ago, I bottled my “Crimson Corps Bulldog Ale”, and “Maple’s ESB”. The ESB is great, and I’m expecting the “Crimson Corps Bulldog Ale”, and Irish Red, to have really developed some flavor in the next couple of months.
I’m a big fan of Irish Reds, they taste pretty darn good about a month after brewing, and then they get better and better over the next 8 – 12 months if stored correctly. The 12 month upper limit is really just a guess on my part, I’ve always ended up running out before then. They make a nice staple in the brew closet.
When I have plenty of beer available, then it’s time to make some Stouts, Lambics, etc. Anything that need some time before they get really good. I’ve got an idea for a coffee stout that I need to work on, and I would like to make a couple of batches of Saison, one for drinking, and one for souring.
Of course, I need to get another Lambic going too. The one I have now is going to celebrate it’s 2nd birthday in May, and I really should already have had one going by now.
Now, to keep the ball going …