This doesn't really pertain to those of you who keg with tons of taps, or who exclusively bottle, but for those of you (like me) who keg with ~2 taps, do you utilize a pipeline strategy?
I've recently decided that my thought process for beer goes like this: "Do I want a hoppy pale ale or do I want something else?" That something else is usually a stout or porter, but can be almost anything but sour or super sweet beers.
Based on this realization, I've come up with this strategy:
TAP 1 is a pale ale (usually IPA) of some variety. Usually playing around with different base malts, trying with and without crystal, playing with hops, etc.
TAP 2 is the Something Else.
My kegerator can fit three kegs, but I only have two taps, so I have an ON DECK spot for a keg to carb and condition without being on tap. If I think the IPA is going to kick first, On Deck is the next IPA. If I think the Something Else is going to kick first, On Deck is the next Something Else.
The IPA and Something Else have different pipelines. Generally speaking, unless I'm doing a hefe or other drink-when-young beer, the Something Else pipeline can be as long as I have primaries for. I let them sit until it is time for one to get promoted to ON DECK, then it gets kegged.
The IPA pipeline is more tricky. I like my IPAs FRESH. Generally 2 weeks in primary, 5-7 days dryhop in primary, then in the keg for another week. Approximately 1 month. And it probably drains in 3-4 weeks.
I've been trying to come up with a way to time it so I never have to drink an IPA older than my ideal. Since my IPA brewing time of ~4 weeks is close to my keg drinking of ~3-4 weeks, I try to brew when I think my IPA keg is almost kicked. That way, I always have 2-3 IPAs in rotation. I have 2 until the one on tap is nearing its end, then I brew up a 3rd.
Kind of fun to write this out, because it made me think through what I was doing...