Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Brief History of a Homebrewer

I brewed my first beer on Sept 22, 2011, which was a brown ale out of a kit.  My most recent beer was my first All Grain attempt, a Saison, on September 8, 2012.  The year between these two I brewed 15 different beers, all extract with specialty grains (except the first and second to last).  Some were bad, but most turned out good.  Before I bought my brewing equipment, I poured through The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, by Charlie Papazian and How To Brew, by John Palmer.  While I didn't understand everything initially, with experience I was able to piece together the theory with the practice...and before long, I actually felt I knew something.

Some may be tempted to go all in and quickly move to All Grain.  My theory was to take things one step at a time, and learn a little more each time.  This isn't a final exam to cram for, it's a hobby and learning endeavor.  I used my first year to work on the methods of brewing, from sanitation, through the boil, chilling, pitching, racking, waiting, bottling, and waiting some more.  At each step, with new experiences, I learned more.  I've made mistakes and figured out what not to do next time.  I've come up with good ideas and implemented them.  With each new brewing session I work to fine tune the craft a little bit more.  One day, I may have a good system.

So, what is my point here?  What do I want to say with this post?  How about this?  You won't be a proficient brewer overnight.  There are too many variables to learn it all at once.  Keep brewing and work on your system, and unless you are a true dunderhead, you will learn something new each time.  At the end of a year, you may be a somewhat decent brewer.  The cool thing is, there is still so much more to learn.  So why rush it?  It is both a science and an art.