Author Topic: Writing For Class  (Read 608 times)

Offline aewurz

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Writing For Class
« on: November 17, 2015, 03:16:39 PM »
Hello! I'm currently a college student working on a paper about homebrewing for a writing class. I'd love to get some insight if anyone wants to help me out!

If you want to answer any of the following I'd be forever grateful!
1. Why did you start homebrewing?
2. What's the most rewarding part?
3. What's the most challenging? Any horror stories?
4. Do you find you don't go out to local breweries as much or are you still as likely to go out?
5. Any advice to first timers?

(If you want to offer up anything else that'd be awesome! And if you're willing to let me quote you in the paper and would send me an email with your name it would be so so helpful [aewurz@gmail.com]. )
Thank you! Have a wonderful day!

Offline jeffy

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2015, 03:55:49 PM »
There's a section of the forum called "homebrew bios" where you could harvest a lot of that kind of info.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline piersonm

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 05:02:26 PM »
1.  One of the first craft breweries I remember going to was in Pittsburgh, PA called Church Brew Works.  I was under the age of 21 at the time so did not drink any beer, but the brewery was and still is absolutely gorgeous.  On the table they had a step by step process on how beer is made.  I was determined to learn more.

2.  I feel the most rewarding part is holding up a pint of your beer and saying "I made this" and also letting your friends and family try it.

3.  I feel that the most challenging part is trying something new.  When I switched from extract to all-grain, that first batch was the scariest batch of beer I made.

4.  I find that I go to more local breweries.  Homebrewing actually got me a part time job at my local brewery working on their canning line.  I also shadowed one of the brewers and brewed a batch off beer on a professional system.

5.  My advise is to not follow the rules.  Don let anybody, book or guideline tell you how to make a beer.  That is the joy of brewing, make what ever you want!  The beer wont always be good, but hopefully you will learn something in the process that will help make your next batch of beer better. 
He who buys good ale buys nothing else.

Offline muzak

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2015, 05:22:14 PM »
1. I had been enjoying craft beer for a few years already. I can't remember how I first discovered it, but it seemed like a natural extension of my love of beer. Especially because I am the DIY, hands-on type. I think that aspect is the one that most appealed to me.

2. The first time you pour yourself a glass of homebrew. You admire it, smell it, taste it, and think to yourself, "I made this!" I get that feeling every time.

3. The large amount of cleaning that is required. If some people knew how much of the brewing process is cleaning, I think they might be turned away.

4. I actually go just as often as before I started brewing, maybe even more. I always find myself chatting with the brewers. I have a few very small breweries local to me, and they are all very friendly.

5. Don't stress out over little details. I've done some stupid mistakes and still ended up with really good beer. Beer is very resilient.
John L.
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Planning: Simcoe SMaSH
Bubbling:
Drinking: Saison, Amber Ale, APA, American Strong Ale

Offline chumley

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2015, 06:43:30 PM »
1. 25 years ago, my wife bought me a homebrewing kit to get me to stop my other current hobby at the time, which was growing weed in the basement (we had just bought a house next to a school, so that hobby was terminated).
2. Drinking the finished product. 
3. Emulating the great beers of Europe, that one cannot find fresh in the U.S.  Anyone can brew an IPA.  Horror story - many, they all involve spillage. I once had a stout I was racking upstairs spill, and the beer seeped through the carpet and floor and collected into the kitchen light fixture downstairs.
4. I never went to breweries much.  I prefer taverns. Dark, dimly lit taverns. I still go to taverns, as I enjoy a pint of PBR with a bourbon on the rocks. 90% of the time, I prefer what I have on tap at home to microbrewery offerings.
5. Screw bottles, go straight to kegs.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 07:07:46 PM »
1/  Hard to top Chumley on my #1 (;D). But, late 92/ early 93 my Dad bought me a Munton's ESB 'kit' as a birthday gift, which then consisted of two cans of hopped liquid extract and a packet of dry 'Yeast'. Today I would say the beer likely sucked, but damn if it wasn't good then. I was hooked.

2/ Trying to brew commercial caliber beer every time, if not better than most. Many of my friends and family think I do this every time - they're wrong. I'm getting closer, though.

3/ Plenty of mistakes - infected batches from poor sanitation early on, a couple of batches badly oxidized, mistakes in adding hops at the wrong time/amounts, etc. If you brew long enough there'll be plenty of stories like this.

4/ I don't go out quite as much now because there are a lot of very mediocre new breweries in the area, but I still have old standbys that I hit on occasion.

5/ Brewing can literally be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. Start out simple, read thoroughly first, and remember to enjoy it. If you're getting anxious and losing sight of the fun, you're doing it wrong.
Jon H.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 09:47:08 PM »
1. Why did you start homebrewing?

I wanted something with more flavor and body than BMC.  Ironically, considering what I know now, my "gateway" beer was Michelob Dark.  I had reached a point in my life where I was ready for a hobby that would challenge me and my wife finally caved in and said "fine!  Try it if you want."  8^)

2. What's the most rewarding part?

Like others, it's when I pour a glass and remember that I made the beer I drink and that often it is better than I can buy.

3. What's the most challenging? Any horror stories?

The shear volume of topics to learn.  Like Alice down the rabbit hole, it can be a bit overwhelming at times.  Water chem still has me too baffled to actually do much with it.  I've read the books, I looked at the spreadsheets but it hasn't clicked with me yet.

4. Do you find you don't go out to local breweries as much or are you still as likely to go out?

I'm still just as likely to go out, which is to say I didn't go out that much to begin with.  Job, kids, wife, house all combine to mean spare time is at a premium.  The local pubs are still good places to get excellent beers but my basement is easier to get to.

5. Any advice to first timers?

Start with a classic: Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.  Somebody in a cave or a mud hut figured out how to brew prior to math or chemistry being known things.  So will you.  Take it at your own pace.  You are not racing with anyone. 

Keep it simple to start with so you can see what the impact of any changes are.  You can fix something by throwing in a bunch of new parts but you will never know what actually fixed it.  No one made a perfect beer the first time out the gate.  It took me something like 15 batches to realize what problems I had and still more to get most of them diagnosed and fixed.

The biggest obstacle for most people is doing something first time.  Make like Nike and just do it.  Then make a second one.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2015, 12:10:24 AM »
1. Why did you start homebrewing?

My Dad used to brew beer and make wine when I was a kid. (Like 50 years ago) He made a ton of other stuff like sauerkraut,  head cheese, smoked sausage ect. So brewing was in my blood, but once I grew up and moved away I got to busy too do it myself. A few years back I was looking for a winter hobby that is less expensive than rebuilding Harleys and decided to take up brewing.

2. What's the most rewarding part?

There are a number of things that are rewarding about brewing but to me the main thing is having something fun that is completely unrelated to work, bills, politics, and all the other things that tend to divert your attention away from peace and quiet.

3. What's the most challenging?

The scale of beer quality may appear to be a constant slope (drinkable, good, excellent, world class) but the knowledge and skill required to create those levels are not constant.  They are exponential. In otherwords, the amount of knowledge and skill to go from excellent beer to world class is far greater than going from good to excellent. Also, there are far fewer brewers creating world class beers so the info base is much smaller. Its fairly easy to make drinkable beer. Each step of the way to increase the quality of the beer is exponentially more difficult.  So the challenge, especially if you are not gifted in mathematics-chemistry-biology, is researching, learning, and applying the fine details. Then add to the problem that a batch of beer isn't done in a day, so it can take several months to several years to perfect a certain beer. There really is no end to it. If you are the type of person who wants to follow a set of instructions and get perfect results the first time, brewing is going to be a challenge to you. If you enjoy the never ending journey to an elusive perfection, brewing is your bag.

 Any horror stories?

Depends on what you call horror.  I've never blown myself up, or burned down the house, or poisoned anyone. But I have made simple mistakes that ruined my beer. When you bottle beer you typically add a little dissolved sugar to create the carbonation. One night I was getting ready to bottle a batch of a really nice luscious Belgian Quad. I had gotten hungry and boiled up some hotdogs on the stove, ummm in a pan that was identical to the pan I had disolved my bottling sugar in. About a month later I discovered that hotdog water does not go very well with a Belgian Quad.

4. Do you find you don't go out to local breweries as much or are you still as likely to go out?

A better question is Do you buy more or less commercial beer? I dont go to breweries more or less than I used to. I do buy about the same amount of beer as I used to, but now I'm buying more variety. I'm always looking for something I haven't tried before. Or some award winning world class version of a style I'd like to brew.

Being a brewer is less about drinking beer than most people think. When I tell non brewing friends that I brew 5-8 gallon batches and usually two batches at a time, they usually comment about how drunk they would be all the time. Thats not really whats going on. In fact I haven't been "drunk" in years.

5. Any advice to first timers?

Allow yourself to start slow small and simple. Learn as you go. Dont try to know everything all at once. Avoid the urge to add every crazy ingredient to your beers. There is a reason why 20% abv stouts with pop tarts and sushi aren't popular. When you are first learning to brew use tried and true recipes for simple drinkable beers, and use those to learn the process. And be prepared to learn more about beer than you ever imagined existed.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 12:14:52 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline crynski

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2015, 01:46:08 AM »
1. Why did you start homebrewing?
My boyfriend handed me a book called "Make Some Beer" while we were out and said "you like beer we should try this".  He is sort of a prepper and is into homesteading and self sufficiency, while I'm more of a gadget geek but I do love DIY so this was fun for both of us.  The funny part is he doesn't drink beer. 

2. What's the most rewarding part?
When other people compliment your beer.  My family is pretty honest so when they say it is good they aren't just saying that because it is mine. 

3. What's the most challenging? Any horror stories?
The learning curve is challenging, making drinkable beer with the current kits and equipment is pretty darn easy, but as someone else mentioned the knowledge level goes up exponentially as the product improves.
I cringe when I spend a lot at the home brew store but only my checkbook thinks that is a horror story.  I only have a few batches under my belt and luckily nothing has gone horribly wrong yet.   

4. Do you find you don't go out to local breweries as much or are you still as likely to go out?
I think I started trying harder to find locals and explore styles.  When I was younger I didn't think I liked beer because I only knew the major brands, and thought it all pretty much tasted like Bud Light.  Once I discovered the different styles and all the other things that were going on I started trying to branch out.  Now that I brew I look for different things I might not want to make a whole batch of until I have sampled, or something unique I might not be able to pull off at home.  Whenever I go out I ask what local beers a place has even at chains (most carry something regional now, though once when I asked what the "craft on draft" option was at a major chain the waitress told me "Blue Moon, Bud, Bud light, Miller Light"  :o )

5. Any advice to first timers?
First just do it.  Get a kit and make something drinkable then you will be hooked.  Pick up books and learn but don't be overwhelmed by all the information and variables.  Terminology, technology, and chemistry can wait until you get a handle on the basics.  Keep really good notes (if you love something you want to be able to do it again), and when you start experimenting change one thing at a time (this is something I struggle with in general not just home brewing). 

Colleen

I didn't quote the other poster so I don't know who mentioned Church Brew Works, but my cousin lives in Pittsburgh and she takes people there every time they come in from out of town.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 01:50:06 AM by crynski »

Offline aewurz

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Re: Writing For Class
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2015, 05:54:11 PM »
Thank you all SO much for your responses. You have no idea how much this helps me with not only this paper but with being a beginner as well! I sent an email to everyone asking if anyone would be willing to let me quote them. After that I'll stop bugging ya! Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it. You all are the coolest out there for sure! Have a great day.
-Amy