Everything is planned. The recipe has been constructed, the ingredients have been purchased, milled, and are ready to be crafted into a refreshing “ahhh” moment when that first sip hits your tongue. But…wait. The system needs cleaned. It needs sanitized. It will take hours, sweat, and sometimes tears if you’re emotional like me. Then you have two perspectives: either you’re excited for the hours of brewing ahead if you have nothing else you rather do that day, or you’re dreading the fact that it needs babysat through the hours-long brewing process when you have a business to run or something else you rather be doing that day. Suddenly, all the fun you had planned on having or all the other important things you had planned on doing seem so far away, because of the cleaning or because of the entire brew day. If you’ve thought about and planned this for awhile you saw this coming and are not deterred. If you are new to brewing, just woke up with the whim to brew with no planning, or are a busy brewery owner wanting to quickly test out a thought you’ve recently had, you are stopped in your tracks considering whether you really want to do this right now. I’ve been there, so many times. Sure, my first brew day was amazing. I had planned on it for so long, saved up some cash for the equipment, and took hours carefully selecting my first extract kit. I had so much fun!
After my 10th or so brew, things were getting a little monotonous, except the cleaning, I was over that halfway through my first brew day. I was still happy to brew but sitting and waiting and watching just got old and boring fast, even when I was enjoying my last brew while I was working on the next one. Then I was out of college, working, and the only free time I had were some evenings and the coveted weekends – unless I had made plans, then even the weekend was consumed. Brewing just became a cool thing that I still had immense passion for, but that was like a good friend who lived out of state. You love them, miss them, and want to hangout, but the work of seeing them and spending time with them just isn’t always exciting when you have local friends, family, and events to tend to on the rare free day. So I started making plans because I really missed making my own beer and sharing it with friends and family. I would wake up at 4am on a Saturday, get my equipment ready and start cleaning. A few hours later, I’d have my wort trying to boil (trying to boil 5 gallons on an apartment’s electric stove top was a horrendous experience). Another hour or two I’d start hopping, then begin the chilling with the “wonderful” immersion chiller. Another 30 minutes or so later, I’d be pitching yeast and adding the airlock. I was so excited! In just less than 2 weeks I’d be able to bottle and wait another 2 weeks for carbonation!
At this point, after waking up at 4am to get started, it would only be about noon! I HAD SO MUCH DAY LEFT FOR ACTIVITIES! But wait, I still had to clean up. I had to rinse everything out enough so that it wouldn’t be growing a few days later into some life form. I’d have to wipe out the trub and throw it away, clean all my lines, kettle, chiller, and the mess I’d obviously make every time. It was going to take at least another hour to get this all done. Not so bad, it would still only be early afternoon and all my friends wouldn’t be waking up until around now. They wouldn’t want to be going out for at least another 6-8 hours. That’s the perfect amount of time for a nap that I obviously need because not even 3 cups of coffee could keep me going for that long. Awesome! This is going to work!
10 Hours Later…
*Spongebob narrator voice* “10 hours later…” Yep, I’m not going anywhere, sorry friends, sorry life, goodnight world. My grand plan had failed miserably. This can’t be possible for anyone who wants to have at least some fun while also brewing regularly, let alone possible for master brewers when they’re trying to run a brewery.
We’d like to know your feelings about brew day. The things you hate. The things you love. Why you want to brew, but just can’t seem to get into it. Why you do brew, but wish you brewed more.
Please leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts and feelings.