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Homebrew for the Seasons

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I recently got into homebrewing and want to brew beers that correspond with the seasons. Due to my work schedule I am only able to brew four times a year and am not able to enjoy the fruits of my labor until I have left for work, been gone for several weeks, and returned home.

In October I brewed a stout that is bottle conditioning now. I will get to enjoy that when I go home in December. That was my winter beer. I am now triyng to figure out what kind of spring beer I want to brew when I go home next month. I think I have narrowed it down to a nut brown ale or a Belgian pale ale. Any suggestions?

I have to be able to brew and bottle my beer within about 17 days so extended fermentation is a no go for me.

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  1. My go-to site for this sort of conversation is Homebrewtalk. You should find some good suggestions there.

    Benefit of brewing over the winter is that you have access to some cooler temperatures in garages, etc which is why lagers are such popular spring offerings.

    A brown ale doesn't say "Spring" to me. What do you like to drink in the thawing days post-winter? I am brewing saisons like a mad man right now so that is an obvious choice for me. A lightweight belgian pale is a good call too. What about an American Pale? something golden and hoppy?

    1. I've been homebrewing for 40 years but not so heavy into brewing/drinking 'seasonally ' (though as an exception I do make a Christmas Burton Ale every April) .... HOWEVER I must admit that years ago (before I started brewing at home) Springtime always meant "Bock" with a good variety of bock beers available starting in March.
      Soon would be the time to be brewing it in order to have it be ready for spring ... Maybe a nice malty Helles bock would be in order?

      7 Replies
      1. re: The Professor

        Can't brew and bottle a lager in 17 days.

        1. re: Ernie Diamond

          Absolutely right, I guess my mouth was watering so at the idea of a Bock or Maibock, that I totally zoned out on the 17 day requirement. Brainfart, I guess.

          I've had some pretty awful examples of lager at some of the many brewpubs I've visited in my travels over the years. The fast turnaround they do sure has something to do with it. One brewpub brewer was actually proud of the fact that his "lager" was being poured 10 days from brew-day. I just smiled and nodded (and ordered his stout...which was delicious).

          1. re: The Professor

            Ten days?? I think that the best beer I ever brewed was a Maibock which took me 72 days.

            1. re: Ernie Diamond

              Exactly. It's the main thing wrong with brewpubs that try to do lagers...very few give them the age they require.
              Even some ales need a good while for everything to come together. I do a few batches of Burton ale each year (some of which gets blended into my annual Xmas brew) and although the ferment is actually finished in 10 days, I wouldn't even think of drinking them until they've got at least 8 months of age on them...and a year is even better.

              As far as the OP's request goes, he may be able to do an American style bock, (or more realistically a bastard version using ale yeast) within the time frame he requires. Pitching a lot of yeast (and one that will floc out efficiently), he could definitely do a moderate strength quasi bock in 17 days no problem.

            2. re: The Professor

              I certainly want to start getting into lagers at some point, unfortunately now is not that time. I'd like to get a few ales under my belt before trying my hand at a bock or schwartzbeer.

              That being the case I am looking at IPA, nut brown ale, ESB, pale Belgian ale, or maybe even wheat ale.

              What kind of ale would you like to drink on a cool spring afternoon in the Pacific Northwest?

              1. re: jpc8015

                Just brewed an American Pale Wheat. I think that a pale, well-hopped ale would be a great break from the winter offerings. Turn-around time will be manageable as well, shouldn't take too long to get something together, especially if you keep the gravity lower (say, below 1.050). I just racked a bitter last night that is ready to drink after eight days. Some styles favor less ageing. In general, lower the OG/higher the FG, the better it will be. You can make any of the above selections work if you keep the gravity low, the hops low and the malt bill uncomplicated.

                1. re: Ernie Diamond

                  I think I have decided to go with the Columbus IPA extract kit available at morebeer.com. Maybe after this batch I will get away from the kits and start using recipes provided online as guidelines for my own styles!

        2. The traditional answer would be a Maibock

          1. You might also check out www.realbeer.com/discussions for further ideas on home brewing projects.