The first meeting of the new (and to my knowledge only) homebrew group in Victoria, BrewVic, is on the horizon, kicking off this Saturday, November 5th at 10 am. BrewVic is centred in the beer capital of Canada, Victoria, BC, but the VIC in the name stands for Vancouver Island, Cascadia, showing its close connection to the Island as a whole and to the region of Cascadia.
I've been away from brewing now for a few weeks and thats allowed me to catch up on bottling and think about what direction I want to move in next. Overall I think I want to focus on improving my techniques and methods in order to have greater control over the brewing process, which will hopefully allow me to make better beer. I decided I wanted to make an oatmeal stout (to be followed by a Russian Imperial stout) and I discussed in one of my last posts the new method I wanted to try involving steeping, as opposed to mashing, the dark grains. I also decided to try a mashout, as my efficiency has been less than expected in my last few batches, something I mainly blame on the temperature in the grain bed dropping too low during the sparge.
Probably one of the best ever brew days today, and no brewing was actually done, blending rather was the order of the day. With the help of my two somewhat capable assistants Arlo and Dave, my Belgian Tripel and India Pale Ale were blended to create a Belgian IPA.
Just looking at my page views and I just hit the ten thousand mark... maybe someone other than my mum actually reads what I write? Anyways, I digress. Lately I've been thinking a lot about how to improve my beer. I definitely believe that there is no substitute for experience. Resources like books, the internet, and other brewers can teach you a lot, but there is nothing like rolling up your sleeves and doin' some brewin' for becoming a better brewer. Nonetheless, I feel that now the way to continue to progress my brewing is not so much through increasingly outlandish recipes (although those will be coming), as through looking at my procedures, trying new techniques, and likely adding more complexity to what I am doing.
Its good to bet back to brewing what might be my favourite style of beer, the saison. The saison is a beer traditionally made in the french-speaking region of Belgium for the workers bringing in the harvest.
This one has been a ridiculously long time coming. After nearly destroying my tub and spending countless hours swirling the brewpot around and recirculating cold water, I finally got down to making an immersion chiller. This turned out to be a bit of a comedy of errors requiring several additional visits to the plumbing supply store, but in the end I got 'er done and am so far pretty happy with the results. But, first things first.