Friday, September 16, 2016

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat… Otherwise known as the Joy of Home brewing! ~ Sleepy

So you want to brew your own beer, hell everybody does it, why not you?!  The first thing you should know is that there are 3,684,194 ways to brew beer, and you will find that everyone has an opinion and you should do it like they do or you'll make bad beer.  I call BS, do whatever works for you.  As long as the beer tastes good, it doesn't matter how you got there or what they say. 
The best way to get started is to buy a kit.  My girlfriend at the time, now my lovely wife bought me a Mr. Beer kit for Valentine’s Day one year, little did she know the monster she was creating.  It’s not a bad kit, it will help you learn the basics, but it is limited.  It comes with all the ingredients you need and instructions on making home brew.  The recipe that came with my kit was a Canadian lager I called “Hoser Daddy”, named for Mr. Joel Heflin and his love of all things Canada (sarcasm).  It wasn’t terrible, but certainly not award winning.  It wasn’t until I talked with a brewer friend of mine that I discovered you shouldn’t use the yeast that is supplied with the kit, and you need to add hops to it as well.  But that’s enough about my first foray into the world of homebrew.  You can start with a Mr. Beer kit or any homebrew kit at your local homebrew supply shop, getting experience is all that matters. 
Once I had brewed a couple of beers, I began to search for any and all things about home brewing, hence the 3,684,194 ways to brew beer.  I read countless blogs and asked my brewer friends so many questions that I think they began to avoid me so as not to answer more of my stupid brewing questions.  I also found this book “How to Brew” by John J. Palmer (available on Amazon).  It was here that I developed a better understanding of how and why brewing techniques were developed and implemented.  With this newfound knowledge, I tried some more kit recipes and the beers turned out pretty good.  By this time, I’m feeling pretty confident and started looking for greater challenges in homebrew, probably a little too soon, but most of them turned out good.  I brewed a couple of pale ales, an IPA, and Jalapeno blonde called “Silver Tongue Devil” (named for my dad) that everyone wants me to brew again.  Here in lies the problem or the agony of defeat when it comes to home brewing.  It’s easy to brew a great beer, but it’s hard to brew a great beer over and over again. 
Since that time, I’ve had a few hits and a lot of misses.  I’ve had to pour 5 gallons of beer down the drain due to a number of reasons including bad recipes, wrong techniques, and the cardinal sin of dirty equipment.  If you haven’t brewed before, you’d be surprised at just how easy it is for one utensil to not be perfectly clean and screw up and entire batch, but that’s another post for another day.  I hope to cover many topics from cleaning and sanitizing, selecting the right ingredients, to using different techniques to help expand your knowledge of home brewing. 
Bear with me, I am nowhere near an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night!    Through it all, I have developed a love for brewing and a greater respect for beer in general.  I still have plenty of victories and many defeats, but that's what it's all about.  Well, that and drinking beer.  Until next time, Prosit!