Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring and Seasonal Homebrewed Beers For The Month of March

It's March and Spring has Sprung. It's time to decide what you are going to brew the next 30 to 60 days. Yes, the weather is starting to change, it's going to get warm, trees and plants will bear fruit and we will once again begin brewing lighter beers for family, friends and ourselves.

We're done with the snifter full of big 12% Barley Wines, Octoberfests and Marzens. Big beers just doesn't seem right now that it's starting to warm up. Now is the time to make refreshing Ales and Lagers. However, don't fold up your proverbial Snuggie Blanket just yet. Certain beer styles that require aging will require some forethought and planning. So, let's make plans before you race off to look up your next lawn mower beer recipe.

If you want a big winter warmer that's aged 6 to 8 months, being that it's already March, you should
setup to brew one now. You can't brew a big beer a month before Octoberfest or December for winter consumption. In fact, January through May is the season to brew big beers for consumption within 9 to 12 months. Brewing big beers now will give your beer a chance to age nicely, with the consideration of aging over some wood or in a barrel. Big beers are also good for long term aging, which can be brewed anytime if long term is the intent.

Aged big beers to consider for consumption include Marzens and Octoberfest for August/September, and Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines and Scotch Ales for December/January. However, as of today, we are running late on styles that require more than 9 months aging. Unless, it is for competition, not consumption.

Competition season is a consideration for this months brewing. If you entered the National Competitions with the American Homebrewers Association, you've already brewed several of your favorite beers hoping for that big win, and maybe even a Ninkasi Award. For competitions with due dates in June and July, most Ales and Lambics should be brewed March through April. However, beers that require long term aging, now is the time to brew next years competition winning big beer.

Other beers to start in March for consumption and competition within the next 30-90 days include Pale Ales, Pilsners, Stout, IPA's, Lambics, Kolsch, Bocks, Maibock, Munich Helles/Dunkles, American Lagers and pretty much anything Ale and light, as opposed to a big beer.

Since IPA's are best consumed young, brewing in March will be best for consumption and competitions due in May/June. Lagers will require a lagering period, therefore a finished Lager would be ready for competition June or July depending on when you start and how quickly your yeast will finish out.

It's time to schedule your brewing for consumption and competitions. Good luck and feel free to post your responses.