[caption id="attachment_8532" align="alignleft" width="298"]41741786711_ce93a15a7e_o A Barley Wine in the making[/caption]

The bulk of the summer is over and what a beautifully hot summer it was. The heat is not good for brewing unless of course one has temperature control. Now things have settled down a bit, it's time to think about brewing for the next set of competitions.

I should caveat that although I intend to maintain the high level of alcohol output, I have drastically reduced my levels of alcohol input. I tend to be fasting or on a low-carb diet, making drinking alcohol an out-of-bounds activity. So expect to hear me complaining about a surplus of beer in the garage, something that I will have to rely on the usual reprobates to soak up.

[caption id="attachment_8531" align="alignright" width="298"]27796739088_ca4936f19d_o Temperature controlled Lager ferment[/caption]

I've completed three brews already since the National competition in March. I brewed a Barley Wine, a Russian Imperial Stout and a Lager. The lager was brewed under strict temperature control and came out tasting much better than previous attempts. The lager yeasts work best at temperatures of around 12 degrees, otherwise a fruity flavour develops that does not fit the style. The Barley Wine has been bottled, but is yet to come up to condition, despite adding extra bottling yeast. The Russian Imperial Stout is conditioning in demi-johns and I suspect I will have the same problem with conditioning.

This evening I will be making a yeast starter for a Golden Belgian Strong Ale and I suspect that will be ready to package in a week or so. The strategy this year will be to bottle a dozen and put the rest into a pressure barrel so that it can be "taken care of" by various individuals in the town.

[caption id="attachment_8530" align="alignleft" width="300"]26748610957_426d7f777f_o A very active Russian Imperial Stout[/caption]

I should add that I have levelled-up equipment-wise. I mentioned temperature control above, and now I have a dedicated brewing fridge along with a heat mat. Along with an ink-bird, these will allow me to maintain a steady brewing temperature - around 20 for ales and around 12 for lagers - and also a steady long term conditioning temperature - around 12 for ales and around 3 for lagers.