I brewed a Belgian-style tripel on Friday and had a great time for at least three reasons: 1.) My friend Dan Dewberry came over and brewed with me. 2.) This was my first brewday of 2012 and 3.) Everything went extremely well.
It's been about a year now. I'm trying to control it, but with little success. What "it" is is an obsession with brewing a decent hefeweizen. I'm determined to get it right. But I keep getting it wrong.
Over the past year or so I’ve lost five friends. About one every two or three months and it sucks. I don’t want to bring you down, but every so often I think about those friends and what they meant to me.
I am a novice home brewer. There I said it. I am attempting to get better. Really that’s the crux. I have brewed off an on for about a decade but can’t seem to crawl out of the beginning stages of my brewing career. I’ve brewed some decent beers – beginners luck turned my first ever brew, a hopped up Pale ale, into my all-time favorite beer. But I’ve also brewed some duds and encountered some really strange outcomes – including an oddly sour hefeweizen – I don’t want to talk about (but I will, of course).
Like many home brewers, I came to the hobby via the craft beer explosion in this country. The experience of tasting really good beers created a curiosity in me about all things beer-related. It wasn’t too long before I was at a home brew supply shop getting my supplies and requisite copy of The Joy of Homebrewing, along with a handful of pointers from the friendly owner.
Despite all the years I’ve been doing it I’m no expert. In fact, I’ve got a lot to learn. Sure I’ve been brewing for 10 years. But, I’ve got no flow. I brew a handful of times a year and each time I seem to need to re-learn a portion of what I’ve forgotten since I last brewed. Thrown into the mix are a day job, a night job and two small children to wrangle – a one year old and four year old. I realize that kids aren’t necessarily an impediment to brewing but in my case they are a distraction (albeit a happy one) from my pursuit of the perfect brew. My goal of brewing on a regular basis has moved off the front burner.
But no more! As we all know, the best way to learn is by doing. Therefore, with the launch of this blog I am setting out to go from novice to intermediate to, someday, expert. Fingers crossed. Here, I’ll share my successes and inevitable – let’s not call them failures – missteps. I will provide details on what a novice brewer can do to get better, whether it’s tweaking a recipe by one ingredient per batch; utilizing a particularly useful tool; or reviewing some of the helpful brewing literature out there. I may even attempt to grow hops in my big back yard. Come along with me as I struggle, stumble and, hopefully, learn how to become a better home brewer....