If you have not made yourself familiar with the About page please make your way over there to find all the information of what to expect from myself and this site along with learning a bit about me. However, for my first post I will digress away from what will be the normal formatting to bring up something that has been on my mind. I wish to discuss What Home Brewing Is Not.
My list for What Home Brewing Isn’t:
- A cheaper way to get beer:
- By the time that you factor in the cost to buy the brewing equipment, even the beginning/lowest grade equipment, you are still looking at a cost near or better than $100. Then there are upgrades. There is the cost of water and the rising cost of electricity (or gas) to heat the water to make the wort. You have to buy bottles and caps or kegs. You have the buy special sanitizer for all your equipment. Then the ingredients can cost a pretty penny. Last but not least, time. Everyone has heard the phrase, “Time is money.” It takes time to make beer and that costs you money. It could take a few hours to brew a single batch. Then the batch has to be transferred to the fermenting keg, carboy, or other large and sealable container so the yeast can do their work. Home brewing is not cheap alternative to buying a case of cold ones from the local Stab-and-Grab down the street.
- A way to get drunk quicker since there is more alcohol in craft beer:
- This is a straw man argument that I run into sometimes. True, there is (usually) more alcohol in home brewed beers. True, they do taste better and go down quicker than the more common beers. However, the types of people that are involved with brewing their own beer or indulging in craft beer are not the kind of people that drink with the sole purpose to get drunk. Craft beer and home brewing are about more than just getting 16oz. of liquid with a certain alcohol by volume; it’s about the experience. Someone who has the patience to wait weeks or months for their own batch to be ready to drink is not the same type of person who will throw drinks back to get tanked on Thursday night before their kid’s little league soccer game. We do it for the experience of making something with our hands. We do it to try new things and get a sweat going while we do it. We do it for the reward that we can enjoy a cold one with the satisfaction that we made it. It’s American to make beer. It’s the true entrepreneurial spirit that made this country great.
- Only people with a high level of skill can home brew
- False, there are many preassembled kits out there that have all the ingredients that you need to get started with step-by-step instructions to get it done. If you can read at the level of a third-grader then you can brew beer. Currently, my father and I only use these preassembled kits. I hope to make our own recipes soon, but for now even we are playing it safe.
- Only people with a lot of free time can home brew
- False, the actual brewing part itself does not take that long. I think the longest brew we did here in the valley took three hours, but that was because we had to do it over an open fire outside where we had little control over the heat (story time in another post, it’s a good one). Most brews that we have done take an hour and a half to two hours for a five-gallon batch. Make it a Sunday afternoon tradition between the football games.
- However, home brewing does take a lot of patience. Once the beer is brewed you have to let it do its own thing. It is best to put the beer in the fermenter and forget about it until bottling time (unless it requires dry hopping or other additives during the fermenting). After it’s bottled then there is another week or two for it carbonate. Patience, patience, patience.
- Home brewers are snobby people who think they know everything about beer
- Within any community of people you are going to have a few bad apples. But I do not think that a minority should dictate the identity of the majority (and that goes far beyond just the home brewing community). I know a bunch of great home brewers. People from all walks of life, big and small, old and young, men and women, blue collar and white collar. Home brewing does not attract people who have the attitude of, “Allow me to attach my monocle whilst we discuss fermentation, my good man” (my attempt at a snobbish tone). Every home brewer I have met was very humble and could not wait to learn more about his or her hobby.
- It’s dangerous
- Anything you do in life carries some risk. Driving to work everyday is more dangerous than home brewing. Human error is always a factor in everything we do. It’s what makes up people. The human experience is fun. We are going to make mistakes, learn from them and move on. The risk of an over boil, fire, CO2 exposure, bottle/keg explosions, and others are always there. If you pay attention to what you are doing and use common sense you are going to avoid a vast majority of dangerous issues.
- If you experience any issues ask people what you did wrong. This site is for a community to share knowledge, laughs, beer, and to make memories.
That’s my list of What Home Brewing Is Not. This week’s discussion question: What do you think home brewing is or is not? Post your answers. Hit the “leave a comment” button at the top of the page.