So You Want to Brew?

July 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm Leave a comment

The Big Decision

Are you trying to decide whether to make your own beer? Here’s some advice – just do it. Making your own beer is fun. That’s the best argument I can give for deciding to make a go of it.

In today’s economy, though, you probably don’t want to spend a lot for equipment and ingredients if you’re not sure you’ll enjoy it. You will NOT save money making your own beer. As home brewing has grown in popularity the cost of ingredients has increased, particularly the cost of hops. You can easily spend $35 on ingredients for a batch of beer that will yield two cases.

If you’re still not sure about laying down the cash, an excellent way to see if brewing is for you is to find a friend who does it and watch them. See for yourself first hand what it takes to brew beer. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

If you don’t know anyone who brews their own beer you can look for a home brewing club in your area. Home brewers are some of the friendliest souls you’ll ever meet and nearly all of them would happily share their wisdom with you.

This Bud’s Not For You

I have to tell you this, though: if you’re a Bud Light/Coors/Miller drinker and you want to make one of those beers just stop right now. It’s not going to happen. Lagers are probably the most difficult beers to produce consistently. American lagers like Budweiser and Coors Light are made in huge breweries with a staff of billions, under a tight regimen of inventory and temperature control. The big breweries have to maintain a consistent color and flavor in their product because that’s what their customers demand. Let’s face it – macro beer drinkers aren’t really in it for the nuance of flavors. They rarely notice what they’re drinking.

About the Brewing Process

Brewing is sometimes like flying an airplane (or so I imagine since I don’t actually fly planes). There is a lot of preparation and activity at the start, then a lot of sitting around with occasional monitoring of your progress, then more activity at the end. Certain events need to occur at a specific time and if they don’t it can affect the rest of your process.

Patience and commitment are vital. You will need to commit a couple of hours to the brewing of the beer and you can’t abandon your post during the entire process. Once you’ve brewed a beer and stored it for fermentation you have to let it sit for days and sometimes weeks at a time. That can drive some people crazy. If you aren’t a patient person then brewing may not be for you.

It might sound like I’m being just a bit too serious and pretentious. After all, it’s just beer, right? I’m saying this because I’ve dealt with people who get blind-sided by the amount of time it takes to brew a beer. I’ve had people ask me, just after I’ve put the kettle on and started steeping the grains, what time that day the beer will be ready. Sorry, it’s not like grilling a burger. It won’t be ready today.

So, that’s a fair warning about what it takes to brew your own beer.

Becoming a Hop Dad

If you’re ready to take the plunge and become a Hop Dad this site will serve as a resource for you. In the coming days I’ll publish some “Getting Started” posts to help you get equipment, ingredients, and the basic process down. Soon you’ll be on your way to brewing your own classic.

As you become familiar with the brewing and make more beer, please share your experiences here. I’m going to post recipes, as well, so together we can make a nice collection. Beer and the hobby of home brewing are meant to be shared.

Let’s do it, Hop Dad! Put the kettle on!

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Entry filed under: Brewing. Tags: .

Welcome to Hop Dad Getting Started, Part 1 – Getting Equipped to Brew

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