Isaac’s First Homebrew

September 19, 2012

The following is a guest post reprinted from A Moment to Think. Congrats to a newly minted brewer! Welcome to the happy family.

Reflecting on my first homebrew

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally cracked open my first bottle of hombrew. What a great experience.

The Beer

The first beer I brewed was an American Brown Ale. I was a little skeptical because I’m not very into American hops, but I’ve had some in the style I’ve liked so I decided to give it a shot. The final product is a little unbalanced when first opened — it starts surprisingly sweet (malty) and then morphs decisively into a (not too) bitter hop taste. After it sits a little, though, this juxtaposition mellows and the flavors blend together better. It’s not perfect, but it’s tasty and a damn fine feeling of accomplishment.

The Process

I’ve been thinking about learning to brew for some time now. I bought books, I read online, I looked at the starter kits. I felt like I needed to know before I started, but then one day I had enough and just bought a starter kit and some of the necessary supplies and jumped in. If you’ve followed my stories for sometime, you’ll know that this is how I tackle things I feel are a challenge, like hockey. No matter how much you prepare, you’re going to make mistakes, so after a certain point of preparation and thinking about something, I need to just do it, consequences be damned.

The Partnership

In this endeavor, I was not alone. I think I could have brewed the first batch by myself, but I had one of my best pals by my side. He had been thinking about brewing for a while, but he’s a big fan of being very prepared and wanted to make sure everything was right. With brewing, things like temperature are really important and to do this just right, you need a decent amount of space and, depending, some specific equipment. I didn’t care, just throw the beer in my closet and I’ll do my best. One of the best feelings of this brewing experience has been the additional bonding time with a great friend — and knowing there is more to come.

The Lessons

– Just do it. Seriously. If you want to try something, do your research, but don’t let anything stop you from trying. I was totally prepared for my first batch of beer to be terrible and that would have been just fine, because I enjoyed the hell out of the process. The brewing itself, learning all the steps, talking with my friend, all of that. The fact that it’s pretty tasty is just a satisfying bonus.

– I am surprisingly patient. Beer can take a long time. I thought I’d go crazy waiting to crack open the first bottle from the moment the first pot of water started to boil, but somehow I didn’t really start getting crazy until I put the first bottles in the fridge a couple of days ago. I don’t know where that came from.

– Accomplishment. It feels really good to get shit done. It also feels really good to learn a new skill. I know this, but it’s always eye opening to do it again. Why is that?

What’s next

Sorry wallet, this hobby is here to stay. I already have my second batch, a Saison, fermenting away. We didn’t get a chance to brew again this weekend, but I plan on getting a pipeline started so I always have new beers coming. Even if I don’t move up from brewing small batches in bottles, I’m in love with my new hobby.

Then again, how hard is it to love beer?