I've been watching from the sidelines for some time now. Still really appreciate all that many of you do to make this forum interesting, informative, even cutting edge.
Since mid-December I've brewed three 10-gal batches. I have a German Pils lagering, and in the past week I've brewed a Kissmeyer Smoked Baltic Porter (BYO Jan/Feb 2013), and my version of a White IPA (as I told a friend, not the racist variety). The first two went great, including home smoking pilsner malt with alder for the baltic porter. But yesterday's brew of the Belgian Wit / American IPA hybrid, I forgot to add the FWH addition at the right time. I caught the omission just as the wort was about to come to a boil, and just tossed in the bittering hops (13% Summit). This error added 30 additional IBUs to the beer and per tasting the wort it's a hoppy monster. Even though this beer is best young, I'm guessing I'll end up carbing it and tucking the 2 cornies in my wine cellar to mellow for a couple/few months. Time will tell.
So, I kegged the White IPA today and was amazed that the hoppiness is ok - fairly intense, but with mostly late addition hops it packs tons of hop flavor (Summit bittering, late additions of Galaxy, Amarillo, Centennial, and Citra) but it doesn't have the bitterness intensity I was concerned about. And once again, it just goes to show that you REALLY CANNOT predict a beer's perceived bitterness based on tasting the wort sample. I'm saving the dry hops I'd set aside for a different beer.
Also, yesterday I brewed 10 gallons of a Chimay Red clone recipe (Belgian Dubbel) I cobbled together, using some ~45 L candi syrup I made myself, plus a little molasses. Half will get racked on top of mixed cherry puree in secondary, ~2.5 lbs dark sweet cherries, ~5 lbs tart cherries. I used Michael Tonsmeire's recipe for candi syrup which worked well for a not-too-dark candi syrup.