Author Topic: The journey  (Read 1588 times)

Online klickitat jim

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The journey
« on: April 21, 2013, 01:40:24 AM »
I've been brewing regularly now since October. Not a long time but I've been pretty active at it, brewing once a week until a few weeks ago. I took a break to let lagers occupy the freezer.

I started by studying How to Brew.  Then bought a 5 gal pot, built a wort chiller,  built some fermentors using Cambro clear 6 gallon buckets I  found at Cash n Carry. My first brew was a partial mash Stout kit from Morebeer. It turned out great. I did an APA kit and then my own recipes after that.

I jumped to all grain about two months into it. Great move. It got me into the science side of things and much more fun.

I started down the typical recipe experiment path, trying all different kinds of malts. Sometimes eight different grains in there. Same with hops. Try this, try that, etc. Then I heard about Belgian beers. Knew nothing about it then and still don't but I know that I like a few commercial examples. This led me to buy Brewing Classic Styles, reading the BJCP style guide. Trying several commercial examples.

I moved away from capping and started kegging. Great move!  But my first kegged APA tasted like an exam glove. It got better though, more like an apple peel. An ah ha moment. Now I know what Acetaldehyde is, and DMS,  and diacetyl,  and oxidation etc.

Now I'm going down a path of simplicity but with quality. Learned about temp control, yeast starting, mashing techniques,  what's required vs what isn't, hop handling, etc. Now I'm playing with FWH and Flameout additions. My grain bills are getting shorter. Using less two row, crystal and darks. More quality like castle pilsner. Just ordered a 55# sack of Maris Otter which will be base for most of my ales at least for now lol. APA will be all MO.

I'm getting burned out on IPAs and Stouts now that I'm interested in these finer points of flavor. I like the challenge of esters and subtle malt flavors rather than blowing away taste buds with alphas and charcoal.

I wonder where this is heading. Every time you begin to think you know what you are doing, a whole new world is discovered.

What a cool hobby!

"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 01:50:03 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline donsmitty

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Re: The journey
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2013, 05:04:36 AM »

I jumped to all grain about two months into it. Great move. It got me into the science side of things and much more fun.

What a cool hobby!


"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"

I can relate to your story...very addictive, can't wait for the next Brew Day to arrive.  I'm at the all-grain step in your story and need to master that process with proven recipes before moving on to my own.  Still having some issues but I'm confident we will get there with some help and guidance from the forum.

Indeed! This is a very cool hobby.

Online klickitat jim

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Re: The journey
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2013, 05:30:14 AM »
I don't think my recipes are really mine. Certain its all been done before. But I think it's the difference between the type of brewers. I'm not too concerned with repeating precisely. But I fully respect it as a talent. Thankfully I love variety lol. I would be just fine if I never made the exact same batch twice

"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"


Offline denny

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Re: The journey
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2013, 09:49:37 AM »
Your story shows what makes it such a great hobby, Jim!

BTW, making the same recipe over and over will really help you become a better brewer!  But I understand what you're saying.  I was the same way the first few years.  There's so much exploration you can do that it's tough to brew the same thing again.
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Online klickitat jim

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Re: The journey
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2013, 09:56:21 AM »
Like a kid fishing lol. No bites, move. No bites, move

"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"


Offline phunhog

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Re: The journey
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2013, 12:11:39 PM »
I have been brewing pretty regularly for the last 5 years and I still feel the same way you do.  This hobby really is limitless!! Plus there are so many different facets of it that keep it interesting ( biology,  water chemistry, building brewing stuff/gadgets, political/business side of it, unique/historical beer styles, and on and on.  Glad you see it as a journey and not a destination. I think a  lot of people want to brew killer beer RIGHT NOW and don't understand that it is sometime a lengthy process to get to that point.

Online klickitat jim

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Re: The journey
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2013, 12:16:01 PM »
Well said

"Friends don't let friends drink bad beer"


Offline redbeerman

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Re: The journey
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2013, 12:51:15 PM »
It's funny how you can fine tune your process using the equipment you started with, then change things and have to adjust the4 process to get the same results.  Or you have a colder than usual winter or warmer summer.  I have temperature control for my lagers that works great, but since I rarely use my fermentation chamber for ales I find I am at the whim of the weather for ale fermentations.  Brew belts or the equivalent help.  A good grain mill, water chemistry, etc.  There is so much about making a truly great beer that takes time to perfect.
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Jim

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Re: The journey
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2013, 01:30:03 PM »
+1.  It's definitely been a journey, and a fun one.  I started brewing in 1992 or 1993, when the ingredients and even the know how available to a homebrewer were so much more limited than what is available today. I arrived late to the party to this forum, even though I've been a longtime AHA member. Don't know why, but it's quickly become one of my best resources. I feel like I've learned more in the last 5 years than I did in the first 15, for sure. If you strive to get better in any facet of life, you'll get there. I can't imagine a better (or more obsession-inducing) hobby!
Jon H.

Offline beersk

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Re: The journey
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2013, 06:42:57 AM »
I love this hobby. I've had my ups and downs, but fortunately I think I'm getting them worked out. And it's an ever evolving hobby, I think. I'm always thinking of ways to improve my process. I'm now fermenting 4 gallon batches in kegs.  There are always things you can improve. This is one of those hobbies that, if for some reason I can't drinking beer anymore, I will be doing it for a long, long time. It's definitely a journey without a definite destination; only to make great beer.
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The journey
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2013, 07:31:22 AM »
+1.  It's definitely been a journey, and a fun one.  I started brewing in 1992 or 1993, when the ingredients and even the know how available to a homebrewer were so much more limited than what is available today. I arrived late to the party to this forum, even though I've been a longtime AHA member. Don't know why, but it's quickly become one of my best resources. I feel like I've learned more in the last 5 years than I did in the first 15, for sure. If you strive to get better in any facet of life, you'll get there. I can't imagine a better (or more obsession-inducing) hobby!
Add in information one can find on the internet today, and that has been my experience.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline gsandel

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Re: The journey
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2013, 08:19:01 AM »
Quote
I've learned more in the last 5 years than I did in the first 15, for sure.

This has been my experience over 20 years as well.  There are many facets, and not everything is for everybody, which makes discovery a wonder (and rediscovery, too....just when you decide something about yourself as a brewer or drinker, you try something and it opens up a new set of doors).
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: The journey
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 10:56:42 AM »
I started in 1992, had never tasted a homebrew, didn't know a homebrewer but something had been pushing me to brew for years.  Armed with The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, a bucket and a can of prehopped malt. I got started.  Now I brew 10 gallon all grain batches in my brewery that fills half a garage.  I've met homebrewers from across the country, and homebrewing has become a lifestyle for me and my wife.  It's given us a love of beer that has taken us across Europe and America enjoying whatever the locals brew.  It's also given us an appreciation of truly homemade food and drinks.  We recently made our first(but not last) batch of homemade bacon, I've made cheese, vinegar, sausages, jerky, etc. 
All of this happened because my wife gave me a $50 homebrewing kit for Christmas so many years ago.  Enjoy the journey, there's no telling where it will take you.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline bwohlberg

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Re: The journey
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 11:59:37 AM »
I've been reading the forum for some time now, and finally I've decided to contribute.

But for me, it's been an interesting journey too. Three years ago I picked up The Complete Joy of Homebrewing on a whim, but never really did anything with it. About a year later, my local Homebrew shop had a class that I took, and that's when I was hooked. I wasn't even big into beer at that point. Since then though I've been brewing pretty steadily (save a three month excursion to Switzerland), and am hoping to finally get my hands dirty in some all grain soon. On top of that, I'm even working at that same homebrew shop now, and the learning just doesn't end. I learn a lot from the experienced brewers that come in, but I get real excited when we get people who haven't brewed before and are interested (I'm a teacher at heart I've found out). And although my working at the shop (which some would consider a dream job I'm sure) is hopefully temporary for me (again, teaching is my calling), this is one hobby that I love and get real inspired by.

Also since this is my first post here, I do want to thank those of you who repeatedly do post. Your responses have given me great ideas for future brews, taught me about things I should do differently and more often than not, give me a good chuckle.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The journey
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 02:02:08 PM »
I've been reading the forum for some time now, and finally I've decided to contribute.

But for me, it's been an interesting journey too. Three years ago I picked up The Complete Joy of Homebrewing on a whim, but never really did anything with it. About a year later, my local Homebrew shop had a class that I took, and that's when I was hooked. I wasn't even big into beer at that point. Since then though I've been brewing pretty steadily (save a three month excursion to Switzerland), and am hoping to finally get my hands dirty in some all grain soon. On top of that, I'm even working at that same homebrew shop now, and the learning just doesn't end. I learn a lot from the experienced brewers that come in, but I get real excited when we get people who haven't brewed before and are interested (I'm a teacher at heart I've found out). And although my working at the shop (which some would consider a dream job I'm sure) is hopefully temporary for me (again, teaching is my calling), this is one hobby that I love and get real inspired by.

Also since this is my first post here, I do want to thank those of you who repeatedly do post. Your responses have given me great ideas for future brews, taught me about things I should do differently and more often than not, give me a good chuckle.
Welcome. We all started with our first batch.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!