2013: A Look Back



2013 was a good year at the Crow’s Nest.  I brewed 3 more batches from last year, there were more hits than misses and a few beers that seemed to turn the corner from the original batches.

The Hits:
– Brick’s Milk Stout. This was my first shot at lactose in the kettle (or any point) and I wasn’t exactly sure how this one was going to turn out. Up to now my stouts have always been good, not never great. This one falls into the great category, with its creamy body and balanced roast character this beer is quite easy to drink. Laura will have to chime in, but it was extremely well received with friends and family.

– Welcome West IPA. My first true west coast IPA turned out great and the hopheads it was brewed for really enjoyed it. This beer really opened my eyes to using dextrose in the kettle and balancing the bittering hops with the flavor and aroma hops.

-Dubbel & Saison – These were my first attempts and Belgian and Saison beers and both turned out really great. Both fit the classic definition of the style and were quite tasty. I think I enjoyed the saison just a little more, it being super dry and easy to drink. Both had great yeast phenolics that my usual beer doesn’t have.

The Misses –

-Irish Red – This beer really didn’t turn out bad, I just didn’t like the diacetyl that the yeast threw. Everything else with this beer was pretty good all and all. Next round I’m going to go with an american ale strain and try again.

-Best Bitter – This beer wasn’t great, just okay. This beer was a little unbalanced on the malt side and definitely could of used more aroma hops and a dry hop. Bitters aren’t the most exciting beer style out there, but there is plenty room for improvement here.

-Smoked Winter Warmer #3 – At this point I’ve only tasted a couple bottles (no official tasting notes) but I can definitely tell its underbittered. Malt sweetness comes through a little too much and looking back I tried to lowered the amount of IBU’s in the initial hop addition and make it up in later additions. This usually works well for hoppy beers, but not in this case. Also, it being the strongest beer I’ve brewed to date, the additional alcohol adds a sweetness as well. This beer definitely needs more IBU’s and at least 45 IBU at the beginning of the boil.

2012 Goals –

I wanted to enter some competitions, but I didn’t really fall through on that only entering one. And that competition wasn’t even sanctioned so I received zero info about my beer. Also, didn’t quite get around to building a brew stand or using the keggles that i inherited. I think 5 gallon batches are really the perfect size for the time being.

2014 –

This year I’m not planning on changing too much from last year. My system is really dialed in and outside of a few equipment upgrades (i.e. new wort chiller, burner) not much will change. I am hoping to zero in a few more of the recipes I’ve been brewing for the last couple of year with a few new styles getting attempted for the first time.


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