I've said it before - I love this time of year. Almost every style of beer is an acceptable one to consume...though there are some styles that garner more attention than others - and rightfully so. In addition to the 2012 experimental version #1 of Black Rose Immortal Imperial Stout, we've got our Ethereal Earth Belgian Strongs (#1 & #2 plus soured versions of each), our CaramelRye IPA fresh hopped ales (#1 & #2), and most recently, the Thanksgiving Horizon Line IPA - which prompts me to tell a "funny" story, of which many brewers can possibly relate (or maybe they can't, which won't make me feel all that pleased with myself).
The story of GrassLands' life as of recent is fermentation capacity and fermentation space. As noted above, we've got so many different experimental batches going at one time - each taking their own sweet time to fully ferment - that scheduling new brews has proven to be a challenge...especially when you want to continue a family holiday tradition by brewing at a get-together each year. Here was my challenge - I wanted to brew, but didn't have a fermentation vessel (bucket or carboy) to house the unfermented beer in for the journey from Atlanta back to Tallahassee. I had to get creative.
My solution? Transfer the brewed wort (unfermented beer) into an unused 1/6 barrel (5 gallon) keg and pressurize it for the trip home. Seems like a decent solution right? I'd keep any bacteria out through the pressurizing of the keg and make sure the interior was completely sanitized. Check and check. Then I'd get home and free up some of my existing fermenters then transfer the wort, pitch the yeast, add oxygen and voila! Biological Science commences!
When you're thinking things one way, life has a funny tendency to present you with the exact opposite scenario. I get everything ready and begin to depressurize my keg so I can get on with the transfer into a real fermenter. Then something like this happens:
Oh yeah, it also happened in my dining room...not somewhere convenient like outside on my patio - which would've offered at least the tiniest silver lining. In the wake of running to get cleanup materials, my brain started to roll around what happened. I finally figured that my beautiful, family-brewed centennial hopped Horizon Line IPA met some ugly buggies somewhere in between taking it out of the kettle and opening the hatch on my keg.
Now I'm forced to get creative in how this ultimately gets delivered - as NFBL Prez and brewin' buddy Adam G. (who had a spontaneous fermentation similar to my situation) might say - "just change the name, man!" I'm left wondering how "Funky Horizon Line" will actually turn out. Ahh the joys of homebrewing in preparation of becoming a professional brewer, right? I keep telling myself there was nothing I could do, but oh the shame! Who knows - maybe it'll be awesome - a man can dream, can't he? And so we wait for the final chapter of Funky Horizon Line to be written - one that'll never be replicated again :)
So, with that story almost completely told, here's what we've got in store for the end of 2012. Fermentation! I don't believe we'll have another major brewday between now and the start of the year - which will probably change, but we'll see. There's just a bunch happening between now and then. However, there will be changes getting incorporated here & there. We're close on the apparel line - and I'm optimistic it'll get completed by the end of January. We're going to be revising our Fermentation Fridays email (are you on the list?) so it'll be more interactive and less text-driven. And perhaps most importantly, the GrassHoppers will be back in the mix! I expect that lotteries for the first experimental versions of our fresh hop CaramelRye IPAs, Black Rose Immortal Imperial Stouts, and Ethereal Earth Belgian Strongs will take place soon! Long story short; we're busy :)
So I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend everyone. I certainly had a blast with my family. We got to meet our 3rd out-of-town GrassHopper: Ray H. (@_CervezaFria_) where we talked (and drank) beer, the industry and other random stuff. Check out his T-shirt biz - I'll be sporting one of his fine creations this weekend at the annual NFBL Winter Party!
Have a wonderful weekend, my dear readers, because you deserve it.