Savoring those Seasonal Suds

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Although not important to some, I find it quite enjoyable to brew my beer based on the upcoming season. With a little bit of forethought you can enjoy traditionally seasonal beers when they are meant to be consumed. It's not necessary, nor required, that you do this but there is something so nice about a floral and hoppy IPA with super-spicy mango salsa on a hot summer day!

allgrains.blogspot.com - Savoring those Seasonal Suds - Although not important to some, I find it quite enjoyable to brew my beer based on the upcoming season. With a little bit of forethought you can enjoy traditionally seasonal beers when they are meant to be consumed. It's not necessary, nor required, that you do this but there is something so nice about a floral and hoppy IPA with super-spicy mango salsa on a hot summer day


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Before You Call Me a Beer Snob, let me just say this; Screw. I like to be seasonal with my food if I can, my beer because I can and my way is more better than yours.

Planning out your brewing schedule to fit the upcoming season is not that much of a chore but there are few things you should keep in mind. Most low to mid-gravity beers take about a month to be ready, in my brewhouse; 2 to 4 weeks in primary then straight into the keg! I don't go for that 14 day primary limit that some old school brewers still stick to (and many books) and find that the extra 2 weeks really give the yeast some time to clarify and clean up their science experiment. If you have to bottle make sure you have a rough idea of how long it needs to condition before it's ready (high gravity beers very often need more than the 10 day minimum, I've had some take near 3 months). Higher gravity and specialty beers are planned on an individual basis but as an example; Imperial stouts are usually brewed around mid-late summer (if you can keep the fermenter cool), allowed to sit in secondary for a month or two and then bottle and given plenty of time to condition. This way they are ready and well aged by the colder months of January and February.

General Advice is all I can give with this because everyone's setup is different but as long as you plan it out and have a half-decent understanding of how long beers need to age, you should do just fine. Below are just a few of the brews I make every year and have ready for the proper season.

Fall
The last Saison of the warm months, Brown and Pumpkin Spiced Ales & Meads.

Winter
Browns to carry through Thanksgiving, Porters, Scottish and Spiced Ales to continue on with and Stouts to keep you fueled on those really cold nights.

Spring
Maibocks to start things off, Blondes for those first few session BBQs and the first IPA of the year.

Summer
Blondes, Saisons, IPAs and my favorite summer beer; Wheats galore.

Brewing these Beers a Season Ahead will most likely be necessary so always keep in mind your capabilities, the umpcoming months and the weather! Unless you have a DIY fermentation refrigerator brewing those fall beers can be tricky in the heat of the summer

Best of luck and cheers to the seasonal changes and the beers they bring about!-

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