Author Topic: I've lost that "new hobby" smell  (Read 5708 times)

Offline netsteel

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I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« on: August 16, 2012, 09:51:08 AM »
I need your help, guys. I've hit a slump. I'm losing my enthusiasm and need a pep talk. I've made it through 7 successful brews, with #8 being bottled this weekend. In the past 6 months, I've gone from kits brewed and chilled in a tub to all-grain and a chest-freezer fermentation chamber. I consumed as much knowledge as I could on brewing from books and the internet. I was borderline obsessed, but it was new so I was excited.
Well, the newness has worn off. My excitement has waned. Now it's just another Sunday in the kitchen.

So, I look to you for ideas. How do you keep it interesting? Do you take breaks? What keeps you coming back? I'm not giving up. I've tasted some of the best beer I've ever had, and you can't come back from that. I just want that spark back.
Peace, Love, Beer!

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 10:14:09 AM »
You've got 71 different styles and infinite possibilities to try out yet ;)

Do something completely off the wall, put all that brewing knowledge to use and get creative.
Jason
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Offline nateo

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 10:15:53 AM »
I think you should definitely take breaks. What you're describing is called "plateauing" and it happens when anyone starts something new. You grow a lot quickly, then you level off for a long time, and it takes a lot more time and effort to "take it to the next level." Going up the slope is exciting, but just coasting on the top can be tough.

I like talking to people on the AHA forum. I'm exposed to ideas I've never thought of, and forced to justify (to myself, if not necessarily to others) how and why I do the things I do. But, I still get really sick of brewing from time to time and have to take some time off to clear my head. A fresh perspective will help you decide if it's worth sticking with brewing, or if you're just not that into it. 
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline FirstStateBrewer

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 10:16:56 AM »
I have found homebrewing to be an addictive hobby!  When my pipeline of homebrew gets low, the urge to brew more calls to me!   ;D
Scott B

Offline mmitchem

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 10:21:59 AM »
I think I went through a similar phase one time when I was first starting. What snapped me out of it was learning the science behind the processes and competing.

The science part really was an awesome thing that really made brewing more than a simple mixture of stuff. It became larger. Tiny details became very large. It remains that way to this day.

Competing really opened my eyes. I can drink my beer fine, but it helped to validate, or dismiss, what I was tasting and smelling in my brew. Ultimately, it made my beer far better than I could imagine.

So buck up tiger - there is alot to explore and master. If you mastered it all in 8 brews, then brewing might truly have become bland. I am betting there are still mountains to climb though ;)
Michael P Mitchem
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Offline gsandel

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 10:29:45 AM »
time to get involved....(I mean with other people this time)
try a homebrew club or start your own
introduce friends, neighbors, girlfriends, (or best yet) friend's girlfriends to brewing....
build a stand or change something dramatic in your brewery
brew and enter in competition
grow hops
make cider, mead, or wine
wrangle yeast

For me, the brewday is a means to an end (good beer), but being with and sharing beer with friends, and spending my energy and brain power making process, technique, recipe, and equipment upgrades in between brew sessions fuels part of my passions.
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline Alewyfe

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 10:46:11 AM »
I think I went through a similar phase one time when I was first starting. What snapped me out of it was learning the science behind the processes and competing.

The science part really was an awesome thing that really made brewing more than a simple mixture of stuff. It became larger. Tiny details became very large. It remains that way to this day.

Competing really opened my eyes. I can drink my beer fine, but it helped to validate, or dismiss, what I was tasting and smelling in my brew. Ultimately, it made my beer far better than I could imagine.

So buck up tiger - there is alot to explore and master. If you mastered it all in 8 brews, then brewing might truly have become bland. I am betting there are still mountains to climb though ;)

+10
Compete for a bit of incentive....and humility! If you haven't joined a local club, you're missing a boatload of fun and camaraderie. Brewing with a friend is a great way to spend an afternoon. If you don't have a local club...start one! That will keep you Beery busy.  Obviously the friends you do have don't appreciate you enough. 8)  Get out of the kitchen...get a cooker and brew outside. Also, if I HAD to bottle everything I make, I may get disenchanted too. Consider a kegging set up. Have you done any side by side batches to compare yeasts, hops, malts or technique yet? Do you know everything there is to know about what the different malts/hops/yeasts will contribute to your flavor profile already? You can't have satisfied your curiosity about brewing and beer in 8 batches.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 10:46:30 AM »
Make something you can put away for a while (Flanders, Barleywine, Mead, etc.). This way if you walk away for a bit you still have something going.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 10:53:40 AM »
I agree that you need to bring more people into the hobby.  I enjoyed brewing from Day 1 but as I got more into it and met other homebrewers my wife started enjoying the social side of it.  Now it's almost a lifestyle for us.  We son't have anything resembling a homebrew club around here but there are enough of us to have some really great parties.  And through brewing forums we've met some great people across the country.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline davidgzach

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 10:56:43 AM »
Unless you made the 8 greatest beers of all time, there is a LOT of learning to go.  It took me 8 Pale Ales alone to start honing in on my recipe and 15 Pale Ale brews later, I'm still far from where I think it needs to be.  But it's pretty darn good!   ;)  And that is only one style.  Take what you like or what your friends like and try to make it better.  I think my Steam Beer would rank very highly out there, and it took about 12 brews to get it where I liked it.  But I brew for my tastes and what my circle enjoys.  Part of my next venture is to enter competitions as was previously stated.  I'm very interested to see what others think outside of my circle, good and bad.

Not sure how many of those 8 are lagers, but that's years of learning alone.

Like Jason said, start picking off styles, understanding them through your reading, and then making the best one possible to your taste.  Then you get in to water treatment, PH levels, yeast management, culturing, step mashing, decoctions, etc...

IMHO, take a break, enjoy your brew and let the bug come back to bite you when you are ready.  Stay active in the forum and learn from the guys that have been here a while.  I learn something new every day   

Dave
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 11:04:48 AM »
I'm going to throw my hat in the proverbial ring and say that competing has really driven my interest in the hobby to new heights.

I brewed with reckless abandon for around 18 batches before I got lazy with it and didn't really care what I was doing. Then I started studying to be a BJCP judge. I went through several phases with this. The first was "My beer tastes like crap! I'm gonna stop brewing." The second was, "Okay, now I've learned stuff. Let's make the best beer I can!" Slowly my brewing has gotten better and now I'm to the point where I think I brew pretty decent beer. (Stage three.)

All the while I've been entering in comps and it has really started a new interest in the hobby for me. I've made wonderful new friends, drank amazing beer and have really honed my craft. I can't speak highly enough of comps and organized homebrew events.
Amanda Kertz
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Offline weithman5

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2012, 11:38:49 AM »
i take a break every now and then and am doing so right now.  i have refinements to make in the process, just made an electric kettle, just in process of making a cross flow heat exchagner, working on mini keg system. need to get a mill (NateO knows why, thank you again)  sometimes for me it is this that is as much fun.
Don AHA member

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2012, 11:42:02 AM »
Definately competing.  Win a medal and you're soon planning how you can win Ninkasi next year  ;)

Also, being on the East Coast there are beers that I cannot easily get.  I will brew those clones ( thanks mostly to Can You Brew It? ) so I can try a close facsimile. 

I generally take breaks but not because I want to.  Either there is tons of family/house things going on or my kegerator gets full.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2012, 11:45:38 AM »
I generally take breaks but not because I want to.  Either there is tons of family/house things going on or my kegerator gets full.

I take breaks as well, just because I have no more room for the beer. Some months I brew once a week, others I brew once a month or even skip a month.
Amanda Kertz
Kansas City Bier Meister
BJCP National

Offline mmitchem

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Re: I've lost that "new hobby" smell
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 11:51:51 AM »
I take breaks as well, just because I have no more room for the beer. Some months I brew once a week, others I brew once a month or even skip a month.

I do that as well - the brewing stops when I have nowhere else to put it! Competing, and now judging have been a whole new experience. I dig winning medals. Kinda like a prize for working so hard. Even if I make a sucky batch, I still get solid feedback which helps me next time. You just can't be afraid to fail...don't be scurred lol ;)
Michael P Mitchem
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