My 2016 Homebrewing Year in Review

First off, let me say thank you to everyone who reads this thing.  When I started this blog a couple years ago, I was excited when I got up to 30 page views in a day.  While I’m certainly nowhere near the level of some of the other blogs I read, the fact that more and more people are reading this and even commenting makes me feel like it is worth doing.  So again, thanks for reading!

This was a crazy year for me on a personal level.  Relationships and friendships ended while others began.  I had several different residences over the course of the year.  One thing that kept me level was brewing.  Special thanks to my friend Jason for allowing me to move in with him while I got back on my feet and for letting me turn his garage into my brewery.  We had a ton of fun having friends over to share some good beer with us while we made more.

This was by far the most productive year I’ve had in brewing beer.  While I continued honing my craft with hoppy New England style beers, I also found time to mix it up, taking on styles that I had never attempted including my first sour ales.  I had 19 batches brewed in total!  With that in mind, here are my five favorite beers of 2016 in no particular order.


 Wake Up Aurora – My Imperial stout with coffee, vanilla, and maple

White Death V7 – My main New England Style DIPA.  The recipe is 99% there!

Murky Waters Mango Shake – DIPA brewed with lactose, vanilla, and a ton of mango

Slow Dance – Wild ale aged on oak with wildflower honey

Serrated Summer Ale V3 – A hoppy blonde ale perfect for hot summer days

Honorable Mention:  ISO: Whalez Bro! 2016 – Coffee maple Imperial Stout aged on oak and bourbon.  I’d put this higher, but this beer was a huge pain in my ass!

2016 Needs Improvement:  There weren’t many I wasn’t very pleased with, but here they are!

Hop Harvest IPA 2016 – Just not enough flavor from the fresh hops came through

Juleol 2016 – A Norwegian spiced Christmas ale that I got the spice balance wrong on

Blitzen’d – I think the beer needed a bit more hop flavor, and I think I pushed the yeast generation too long on this Christmas IPA.  A good beer here, I just know I could do better!

House Blend Brown – A coffee brown ale that was a solid beer, but it would have benefited from a fuller, smoother body


Next, lets take a look at my 2016 goals and how I did!

My 2016 Goals:

  • Use Maple in a beer.  Done!  Both my Wake Up Aurora and ISO: Whalez Bro! used all natural maple extract.  Sure, its not maple syrup, but it was much more cost effective and easy to work with.  Read the post for Wake Up Aurora to learn why I used extract rather than maple syrup.
  • Finally finalize my White Death Recipe!  Almost.  I brewed this beer twice this year and it’s so damn close to being as perfect as I can make it.  The version 7 linked above was 99% there.  A couple tweaks to the hop bill and its done.
  • Brew another Lager.  Done!  Done twice as a matter of fact.  I brewed an Oktoberfest lager again, and Haifisch, a Munich Helles for the first time.
  • Brew a Brown Ale.  Done, although I can brew a better example of the style.  My House Blend Brown, as detailed above, could use a fuller body and maltiness.
  • Brew a Belgian Quad. Nope, and honestly my desire to do this one has faded so it will likely remain unfulfilled.

My Goals for 2017:

  • Finalize White Death:  This will get done
  • Develop a list of two hop House IPAs:  I’m going to call this my Shark Series.  I plan on keeping the malt bill the same, but changing the hops up.
  • Do a fruited sour and use wine:  I’d like to age a sour on oak with some wine added to simulate wine barrels.
  •  Use coconut in a stout:  I’m thinking this may happen in my next ISO: WHalez Bro!

Again, thanks to everyone who read my blog this year, and I hope you will continue to do so.  I had almost 20,000 views from over 9,000 different people.  This is WAY up from the 4,000 views from 2,000 people in 2015.  Once again, my write up on looking for my house yeast comparing Conan to Wyeast London Ale III was the most read, but my beer recipe page was almost as high, indicating people were browsing my recipes more which is pretty cool.  I hope that my recipes inspire anyone who reads this to get creative with their beers.  Feel free to use any of my recipes as they are, but I encourage anyone reading this to take these recipes and make them your own.  The fun of brewing is to take a recipe and tailor it to your palate and personalize your beer.  Good luck to a happy 2017 and a great year of brewing!