I was going to post in late October to review the blog at one year but I figured that if I was going to post something completely self-referential I might as well do a year-in-review instead, so this is a review of the blog up until now (the last 14 months) and looking ahead into 2015. Nearly every blog I read does a post like this once in a while and they can be pretty heavy on the back patting…I’ll try to keep it to a minimum but if you want to skip this I understand.
2014 Report Card
First thing is first, I think I’m off to a decent start but I didn’t hit all my goals for the 2014 outlined in the “Happy Winter Apsis!” post from the start of the year. I didn’t stray as far as I wanted from my all saisons all the time attitude. I did do a few different beers this year but fell short of my goals for sure. I’m going to go ahead and renew that goal for next year and say brew half a dozen styles that I’ve never attempted before. Things got too busy this year for reasons that will be clear in the coming months.
I did start my yeast project with my Saccharomyces paradoxus ale and Brettanomyces claussenii ale and that project will continue into 2015 for sure with at least 6 small batches of single yeast work. This is a primary goal of mine in the coming year. I want to bank more yeast strains and get more test batches done. I’ll be posting about Kluyveromyces lactis in January or early February so look forward to that…several more are in the pipe, now that I have a bunch of 1 gallon fermenters, you can expect many more experiments to come. I’m gathering different yeasts and I’ll tease one more after the K. lactis I’m brewing with Zygosaccharomyces bailii…I have no idea what to expect but that is the purpose of these small batches.
The other thing that I got going this year and turned out to be more work than I thought was my “Grain-to-glass” collection. I was able to brew on a commercial system at DC Brau (30 bbl of pale ale) and I also participated in a hop harvest at Stillpoint farms. The goal with the grain-to-glass posts is to thoroughly explore the craft beer industry from as many angles as possible. I hope the coming year I can get a lot more done. I’ve already lined up two more of these, at a brewpub and a nanobrewery, so hopefully those posts can continue.
One goal I did hit was my series of experimental hop beers. I’m not going to write much about that since I wrote a summary of those experiments in a separate post where I explained how that will continue indefinitely with minor modifications in the next year.
Milestones for the blog
One thing that happened this year that I still cannot explain, this blog was named by “Garage Talk” and “24 Great Blogs Homebrewers Should Follow“. I was in a good company on that list but am not sure why I was included. I am flattered and hope that I can live up to that praise. I didn’t start the blog to get named on third party garage warrior websites, but it is nice to know someone reads it.
I’m not the most popular blog on the internet, surprising I know but in 2014 alone I topped over 22,000 visitors to the blog. That isn’t a huge number but hopefully the content of the blog keeps improving and more people will find something useful on here.
I reached 50 posts to the blog, so I’m just shy of one a week. I think it is important to generate complete and useful topics rather than adhere to a schedule but I hope I can post more regularly next year. I hit lulls in my posting to this blog on a few occasions over the past year, I will endeavor to avoid that in 2015. I also messed up the auto-posting feature on here and a few articles were posted in a semi-completed state. I’ll labor to be more professional next year.
I feel like there are a few interesting threads running through the blog right now. First, homebrewing…my own recipes and experience. Second, craft beer industry…my own interaction with the craft beer industry at various stages. Third, beer sceince…whether I’m measuring IBUs in beer or fermenting with a strange strain or writing about yeast physiology…I think these posts are rather unique and interesting. And finally, the new comer to the blog, food fermentation. The food fermentation is just another homebrew / science thread that I want to develop in the coming years. It makes sense to me to include bread, cheese, hot sauces into this blog…doesn’t seem out of place at all. I hope you all feel the same.
Most popular posts
So what are people reading? Here are the top 10 posts from the past year.
I’m happy to see three of the Experimental Hop Series on that list, I love those beers and I love that ongoing experiment. I get a google hit almost every day for “Mosaic saison recipe”…it could be the same person googling it every day…seems unlikely though. I also get google hits all the time for “Barrel smoker”…so one of my most popular posts isn’t even about beer…oops. I guess I can live with it.
I’m going to continue the hoppy saisons, shoot for one a month in the coming year. I’ve obtained several hops I’ve never used before including (but not limited to) equinox, apollo, and zythos. I have a list of about 20 different hops I haven’t used that I’m trying to source. So throughout the year, my use of interesting hops will continue.
Where are the readers from?
Not surprisingly, the majority of my readers are from English speaking countries. I’ve had visitors from 84 different countries but about 75% of my visitors come from United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Belgium. Not much else to say here, just a fun little metric.
Upcoming posts in 2015 (maybe I should call these goals)
Enough talking about the past, onto the future. First, I’m going to renew my goal to brew lagers this year. I have a set up now that will allow for that and I have one lager in the carboy RIGHT NOW. So, that’s definitely happening. I’ve also go 6 more experimental hop saisons to brew throughout the year. Definitely going to do those. I said it last year but I’ll renew this promise now that I seem to have my process down…I will brew several “new” styles…new to me at least…this year. Starting out with a couple of witbiers.
There will be more science, more food fermentation (cheeses!), more microbiology, and hopefully some interesting styles. My whiskey barrel is working hard, already on the second beer (an English Old Ale). Hopefully get two or three more beers in there this year before it becomes too neutral. I’m also looking into restarting all my sour fermenters.
I’ve been upgrading some equipment lately so there might be a few posts on just “how a brew day goes” with me coming up.
Some of my favorite experiences from the past year were the hop harvest and brewing a beer at DC Brau. I’ve set up a few more posts in that style for the upcoming year as well. There will also be a few posts about the beer industry from the manufacturer’s point-of-view. Those posts are going to be good (I hope).
Making fewer promises this year, I just hope that I can keep posting to this and that people find it interesting. It’s been fun so far, hopefully the blog will continue to improve in 2015. If you have any suggestions of experiments or things you’d like to see coming up, let me know. Enough talking about myself and my own blog. Thanks for reading.
Lastly, an update to the blog.
This is highly self-referential but I’d like to customize this blog more so that will involve me learning how to do some wordpress programming. A small feat I know but I’ve just been lazy about it. So hopefully this place will look a little nicer at some point in the coming year.
“Each age has deemed the new-born year The fittest time for festal cheer.” ― Walter Scott