Well, I managed to squeeze in two Brew Days this month; I'm right on track for my 100th such to come on the 4th of July weekend. Woohoo! Party at my place!
The first batch brewed was an "Oktober Ale"--the base recipe was for an Oktoberfest/Marzen, but I didn't have any lager yeast to hand, and didn't really feel much like futzing with it... The grains were half-and-half Munich and Pils malt; Magnum bittered it, and Hallertauer were for flavor and aroma. It's almost certainly over-hopped for style, but it's for me, and I'm not that concerned with it.
The second batch was last weekend's; I did a braggot. Again, the grain was mostly Munich, with a bit of melanoidin for some unfermentables. The honey was a gallon of Killer Bee I've had kicking around for a couple of years. For hops, though, I tried something new--Citra. It's 11% alpha, which is fairly strong, but the aroma!! Wow--mango and passionfruit. Nice, deep, and complex. From what I've read, it's not great for a bittering hop, despite the acid levels; I'd tend to agree--I can see it getting muddied with too long a boil. I used a bit less than an ounce of Magnum for bittering, then the Citra for aroma. Starting gravity about 1.130; I hit the whole thing with a wine yeast (D-47, one of my favorites). Initial airlock smells are great! I'm thinking this will turn into something quite lovely.
On the equipment side, I've been gathering parts to do a RIMS setup. I've got the heat exchanger done, and I have most of the parts for the control box. I'll post pictures as I get things assembled (hopefully this weekend). With luck, I can do a "dry-run" water-only test, see how it holds temp, this weekend, or maybe next; I'd like to have it basically functional for my next Brew Day at the end of the month. Hmmm... That means I'd need to build a new liquid return for the MLT, too. Well, back to the hardware store for me...