I was looking through my book shelf earlier today and ran across Extreme Brewing by Sam Calagione.  I bought it a while ago when I was first learning to brew.  This is not a book review so I won’t be going to far into the book but I will say this for it, if you haven’t read the book it is well worth your time to pick it up.  Sam Calagione is a fantastic writer and the ideas presented can expand your ideas of what is possible. 

The book did remind me of my first attempt at brewing with wheat (which was also my first attempt to brew with a mini mash).  It was this beer that began my move toward all grain.  I modified the recipe for blood orange wheat and made mine with tangerines.  Now at the time I did not understand how to perform a mini mash at all.  I ended up soaking the wheat in a grain bag much like you would crystal malts.  If you have ever worked with wheat grain before, I am sure you can imagine how wrong this approach ended up being. 

At one point a while ago I lost all my original brewing recipes (probably a good thing) so I have no idea anymore what my recipe build out even was.  (This would also be a good time to stress the importance of backing up your recipes)  The best lesson about this whole fiasco was the forgivability of making brewing mistakes.  Even though the beer wasn’t exactly what I intended it to be, it still turned out quite tasty.  The beer finished out at roughly 3.5% (about half of what I wanted) and had a strong fresh tangerine flavor. 

As is often the lesson, our life in beer is very often similar to our life outside of beer.  Many times we have these great intentions and plans.  And then just as often we make mistakes and misjudgements that take us in entirely new directions.  More often than not we may not end up where we intended but where we are can be a great place anyway. 

Time for a pint…

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