Displaced Geek

Just a city geek and father coming to terms with being replanted in farm country

Familiarity Breeds Stuff

So as I didn’t really write about, not that long ago Emma and I brewed out first beer. Since then, I’ve pretty much been hooked. In fact, last Saturday I went to a workshop at one of my local homebrew shops.

A short while after I arrived, the roughly 15 of us attending were polled to see if anyone had already made a brew. Two of us had, and several others claimed to have witnessed the process. Nonetheless, as promised, it was a true beginner’s class – even if you lacked a single shred of knowledge when you walked in that morning, you would’ve left with enough information to make beer. Drinkable beer – maybe not, but beer nonetheless.

What I found most interesting, as we stood outside on a ridiculously pleasant March morning, was the relaxed manner that Mark managed to impart into the whole process. Now don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed our first brewday. And I fully acknowledge that a Gabriella lent a certain amount of tension to the process. But even with those factors taken into consideration, it was basically a day long process. I mean a 5 hour project isn’t one you start on the spur of the moment Sunday night, right? Wrong.

You see, it took US 5 hours, while I was at the store for roughly two, and in that time Mark

  1. decided on a style (barleywine-ish)
  2. developed a recipe
  3. brewed it

The final product promises (threatens?) to yield a 11% final product. Not only that, but he did it all without any of the stress that originally seemed to me to be inherent in the process itself (not just in doing it for the first time with a toddler). In other words, he basically embodied what seems to be the unofficial homebrewer’s motto: Relax Don’t Worry, Have a Home Brew.

Now, I know he’s as semi-pro as you can get, I mean hell he owns the homebrew shop! But it was more than that.

Last night, having embraced our new (more for me than Emma) label of “beer people”, just 10 days since our inaugural brewday, we transferred our first batch out of the primary fermenter and into a glass carboy for conditioning, freeing up the primary to start brew #2!

All added up, this was still a large percentage of the day dedicated to beer (nothing wrong with that), but the pace was completely different.
You may remember this:

Note the missing spice rack?

Well Sunday evening was a blast, and didn’t require hiding the dishrack in the dining room. Maybe it WAS just first time jitters? I’ve said it before, knowing how to do something properly is often just knowing what rules you can bend, and which you can break. Everything that came in contact with our beer was thoroughly sanitized, but both the prep, and the cleanup (which my Lovely Wife took care of because she’s awesome) took a fraction of the time they took on our first attempt. Not only that, but the whole process was actually a bit relaxing!

Alright, so what conclusions can we draw from all this? Well first of all, no matter how well behaved your toddler is, it’ll be easier when she’s asleep. And second, when in doubt, Relax Don’t Worry, Have a Home Brew.

It’s also worth noting, that an outdoor propane setup with less water heats faster than a natural gas stove with more water


Oh, and lastly here’s some proof that our relaxed approach worked:

Yup, that’s some happy yeast right there!


Written by Peter

March 12, 2012 at 2111

5 Responses

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  1. Yeah! The first one is always the hardest as they say! Keep it up.

    David Ivey
    Black Bucket Brew Inbox Magazine Editor

    David Ivey

    March 12, 2012 at 2214

    • So I’ve heard!
      Turns out we definitely caught something out of the air in that first batch. We took a peek this morning and it looks like there’s a tiny colony of who-knows-what that’s sampling our brew before we’re done conditioning it. I guess they’re not all that discerning. Oh well, we’ll see what happens.
      Nice site, BTW!


      March 13, 2012 at 1309

      • Hi Peter, I looked again at your photos and it looks like you made a yeast starter. Great move!
        Sorry to hear that your yeast appear to have competition. What does it look like?
        Hey, thanks for the site compliment! It’s greatly appreciated.

        David Ivey

        March 13, 2012 at 1447

      • Yeah, we make bread/pizza dough pretty often, and it just seemed like a good idea to apply some of the same principles.

        To be honest, it looks like tiny spots of bread mold at this point, but we’ll have to wait and see to be sure. It certainly doesn’t look anything like what people are posting over here.

        I’m guessing we’ll just go with a combination of:

        • “nothing that can hurt you can live in beer”
        • “if it tastes OK, then it is ok”

        I’m certainly not going to give up on our first brew, when other people are drinking stuff they have to skim before bottling!

        Your thoughts?

        Also – I’ll certainly E-Mail you re: InBox Magazine. What we lack in experience, we make up for in enthusiasm!


        March 13, 2012 at 1513

  2. Too Cool!! I love the video….happy yeast!! Hah!


    March 13, 2012 at 1128

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