Why I Love Homebrewing

Beer in the Sun

Let’s get the obvious reason some people love homebrewing out of the way: beer. I mean, how many hobbies do you know of that let you do something you enjoy, then you end up with beer you made at the end of it? I can only think of one.

Most of the homebrewers I’ve talked to have something beyond just a love of good beer that got them hooked on the hobby. Curiosity is a big part of the hobby. What happens if I brew the same recipe but ferment it differently? What if I never make the same recipe? Can I make cider? Would this change to my brewing system affect the end result?

My Early Foundation

Once I learned brewing was just another form of cooking, I got really curious. My mom tells stories about how she had me on the kitchen counter in my car seat, cracking eggs into a bowl for her, before I could walk. I’ve always loved cooking and exploring how to combine flavors in a way to make  fueling our bodies a source of enjoyment.

I’ve also always like flavors associated with different fermentations: sauerkraut, bleu cheese, kimchi, and kombucha speak to my soul. I didn’t like the first beer I tried, but when I found dark beer, my brain went to work thinking of fun and interesting flavor combinations.

My passion for brewing springs from the exploration of flavors, their sources, and how they can be changed with different processes. The simple fact that the timing of hop additions can affect bitterness levels and the aromatics present in the finished beer shows how good brewers really have to understand their process as well as their ingredients.

Active Fermentation of Porter

But I know brewers have different reasons for their passion. If you already brew, what attracted you to brewing beer? If you’re getting started or thinking about brewing, what aspects attract you to brewing your own beer? Leave a comment below.

Growing Hops at Home – Rigging Your Pole

Your Home Hop Yard – Step 1

When you plant your hop yard, one of the things to keep in mind is keeping it easy to harvest. One way to do this, since hop bines grow vertically, is to attache the strings they climb to a cord allowing your to raise and lower the strings like a flag.

This way, when harvest time comes, you can take the strings and go sit in the shade with a tasty beverage rather than standing where the hop plants are.

The components used:
http://amzn.to/1TN0Lro – Eye Screws
http://amzn.to/1WfuSvK – Quick Links – used to attach the pulley to the eye screw
http://amzn.to/1OhsxYV – Pulley
http://amzn.to/1VNiT81 – Clothesline Rope
http://amzn.to/1VNjs1B – Spring Snap – allows you to quickly snap the loops at the end of the twine to the rope to raise the strings.



Shorten Your Brew Day (Part 2)

Shorten Your Brew Day for More Fun

shorten your brew day to enjoy your beer moreAs I started in Part 1 of these tips to shorten your brew day, I don’t have enough time to do everything I want in my life. The main motivator for me to shorten my brew days is to make time for other activities I like, and in the long run, to be able to make more beer.

I know I’d love to have a couple extra hours on brew day. Even if it’s just time to sit and visit with my family and enjoy a brew from my last batch while relaxing, it would make brew day even more enjoyable.

Whatever the reason you have for wanting to shorten your brew day, I think it’s a great thing to pursue. Being more efficient doesn’t mean you have to move faster or enjoy the process less. It’s about finding ways to make brewing part of your life without it preventing you from having a life.

More tips for a shorter brew day(continued from part 1):

5. Split Your Brew Day

Overnight MashHonestly, this idea from Dan at the F It Lets Brew It! channel kind of blew my mind.

I had heard the recommendation to get everything in place previously. But for some reason, I had never really thought about splitting the brewing process across consecutive days.

Dan said by doing this, he can get up at a reasonable time and still be done by the time lunch rolls around. I’m definitely going to be adding this to my process.

Try a split brew day and see if it helps you make time for other activities.

6. Clean As You Go

Large Batch Brew Kettle

There are times in the brewing process where you’re waiting: mash rest (45-90 minutes), settling after adding your batch sparge (10-20 minutes), waiting for boil (15-30 minutes), waiting for the next hop addition, chilling, and there always seem to be times between steps that take a few minutes longer than you think.

Rather than sitting around during those times, I try to use them to keep things flowing smoothly. Some of the tasks that don’t always happen the day before:

  • Weighing Hop Additions (unless you read #3)
  • Mixing Sanitizing Solution
  • Rinsing & Preparing Chiller
  • Emptying & Cleaning Mash Tun
  • Sanitizing Fermenter
  • Assembling and Sanitizing Transfer Equipment (Auto Siphon, Racking Cane, Pump, Hoses)

I highly recommend cleaning out the mash tun while you’re waiting for boil to happen. When I wait until I’m done with the boil, it gets easier to make excuses to put it off. I’ve never let my mash tun sit for more than a few hours, but I’ve seen videos of home brewers struggling not to throw up while cleaning out their mash that sat for a few days. Don’t put it off.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Brew More Often The advice any avid brewer wants to hear came from Josh: “Make more beer.”

OK, that’s not what he actually said, but it’s a good summary. If you want to get more efficient at making beer, you need to do it more often.

You not only become more comfortable with your process and equipment, but you start to notice where you should be keeping your stuff. It ties in with getting your equipment set up, but really keeping it all together so you know how to use it will keep your process efficient

Shorten Your Brew Day!

These are a few of the tips I was able to pull together to help you (and me) make our brew days more efficient and effective, so we can have more time for additional activities we enjoy. Even if that’s squeezing in one or two extra batches on a beautiful day, I hope these tips help you enjoy making beer at home even more!

If you have other tips, please post them in the comments below. Really, even though I’ve been brewing since 2009, I still love learning from my fellow brewers. Please, leave a comment below.

Brew up an adventure!