This is a good topic for me. I really like the thought process in designing beer. I think home brewing had made me a better beer drinker, since I understand the process more. But I’m lazy. Cleaning (75% if brewing) is drudgery. The typical brew week for me is pure joy when I design a beer, consult notes, put the concept into software, research history of the style, etc. Then, I go to the LHBS, and have a wonderful time shopping. On brew day, I mill grains in good spirit while heating strike water. I start mashing, and it’s all downhill. From then on, it’s hot, frustrating, time consuming, and I swear like a sailor for the following five hours. About a month or so later, bottling day. I grumble through cleaning bottles, sanitizing, stacking in the dishwasher. Actually bottling it’s kind of fun, until I have to clean up.
I have always enjoyed brew day which is Sunday for me. I am an early riser and the pot is on by 6:30. It is so peaceful at that time of the morning, no cell phone calls or other interruptions just me, my dog and a cup of coffee.
I love the brewing process. I don’t brew the greatest beer in the world, but I’ve got my process down pretty well. Now I just need to focus more attention on the finest details of the process, recipe tweaks, and ingredient freshness. I’m the guy who always uses up that 7 oz of grain from 3 years ago just because I still have it on hand. If I could manage my ingredients better, I’m sure I’d be brewing better beer. So, if you consider that as part of the brewing process, which it kind of is, I’m still obsessive over all that and want to get all aspects to be ultra efficient one day. The flavor of the finished beer is almost secondary to the obsession with optimization of the process. Or maybe it’s about 50/50 for importance for me.
“Swearing like a sailor for five hours” ? Sounds like your process needs some refining A lot of people make it much harder than it has to be. Yea it takes time out of your day so if there is something else you should be or want to be doing you should probably just buy beer. But if you have the time and simplify your process it’s mostly just sitting around drinking home brew watching a pot. I’ve mostly switched to biab and kegging so cleaning is really not that involved for me. A pot and my chiller is all I need to wash.When I bottle it’s off the keg into flip tops as needed. Also I buy my grain crushed and very rarely make starters.
20 yrs ago I used to golf, and Brew Cat just described my golf day! The clubs have 20+ yrs of dust on em’ and I should have thrown em’ in the pond. Brewing is 100 times or more satisfying in all ways. And Dave, I’d give anything to have some of you guys beers, all of ya! Better yet, a beer party where we could all talk and really get to know each other. I for one would be taking notes on everyone’s fine points. Like Dave said theirs always room for improvement.
Love brew day.
That’s why I brew all-grain: I get to play more !
Yeah, one of these days, I’ll try BIAB. If I’m being honest, my biggest frustrations are slow runoff/stuck mashes, a sink that’s too small to clean my equipment, and hauling my kettle full of wort downstairs to my garage for the boil. And all the bottles… Once winter sets in, maybe I’ll try some smaller batches indoors, all in the kitchen. I’d also like to keg, but damn, it’s spendy.
Unfortunately it is. I was lucky in that I only bottled once before I thought that wasn’t for me and got into kegging. I also was fortunate enough to obtain 15 ball lock kegs before they became $60 for a used keg. $75 for a new keg isn’t bad but it does add up! One thing you can do is start piecing it together a little at a time. Also check craigslist for pieces as well.
I definitely enjoy brew day for the most part. Chilling is my least favorite part. I’m always worried about the wort just sitting there, exposed to contamination threats, etc. It has never happened pre-fermentation but I still get nervous about it.
There are definitely times where I feel a tad burnt out and probably need to take an extra week off. I typically brew every 2 weeks, 5 gallons, and that keeps my supply pretty stocked with people coming over for a couple beers here and there.
But there was a time where I was frustrated and wanted to quit brewing. I couldn’t figure out where an infection was coming from that made beers taste butterscotchy a week after kegging. I finally found a moldy gas disconnect when I took it apart. So much ruined good beer from that stupid little oversight. After that, I went through a period of serious questioning and probably (lol) PTSD with it. Now, I’m finally brewing super good beer and brewing it consistently. Life is good.
I really enjoy brew day when I make sure and carve out the time so there’s nothing else on the schedule that day. Brewing under a time crunch is rarely fun and can be quite stressful. I’ve been using the same brewing setup for 10 years now. I feel like I have the big parts of the process down so brew day involves messing with little tweaks (pH, water, ions, etc) that keep brew day fun instead of a grind. I’m always looking for someone to high five when my extraction efficiency is just where I want it to be. heh.
I only have 7 brews under my belt so far. Started in September and still really enjoy it. Doing Extracts with Specialty Grains so I can have everything done in under 4 hours from lighting the burner to cleanup. Really bummed that I don’t have anything to brew up this beautiful Sunday morning actually.
Same with me. I’d rather drink my homebrewed standards than any commercial brew, but more than anything I love and look forward to the process: brewing is my “treehouse”. I look forward to the six hours that make up a brew day every few weeks as an escape.
As we get older, the trend among my similarly aged friends seems to be to ‘downsize’ with regard to home and habitat. I fervently hope I never have the need to downsize to the point where I am no longer able to brew.
I really enjoy the process. It’s fascinating, generally relaxing, and there’s something special about drinking great that I brewed.
It would be much easier to just buy beer if I didn’t like to brew. Microbrews and local brew pubs are extremely popular and abundant in my area.
I enjoy brew day. I’m not a big fan of cleanup. I find that I enjoy the brew day most on those days when I can take my time and enjoy the whole process rather than having to rush things to make some deadline. I generally drink a couple of beers during the process taking advantage of downtime during mash and boil. I don’t enjoy the days as much when I’m rushing to finish and all of the downtime is devoted to cleanup with no time for relaxing and enjoying the process.
I used to find it overwhelming before I really ironed out my process, and there are days that I wish that I would have found something else to get into, but at the end of the day when I taste the finished product I am happy that I chose homebrewing as my #1 hobby.
I typically take a vacation day to brew because it is too stressful to brew with the wife and two little kids at home, so I do it when they are at school/ work. I usually start at 9:30 am and I am done by usually 3 pm with clean up and the yeast pitched.
While I mash/boil I listen to my music, read beer blogs, think of new recipes to create and enjoy a homebrew. It is a great way for me to clear my head and relax.
Sure there are brew days that do not go as planned and I get upset, but 10 years later it’s still a learning process for me and I don’t think I want to throw in the towel just yet.
Last Saturday, managed to brew a IIPA (hopbursted, will end up using 12oz total of an equal mix of Motueka, Amarillo, Calpyso, and Mosaic), keg a brown ale, blend and keg 4G of sour, bottle some barleywine off the keg to make room for the brown, backsweeten some rasperry melomel, and get a starter going for the alt I’ll be brewing this Saturday. All before 3 pm. Was a little stressful, but not too bad. Only real problem was the Darkstar burner, that thing is a piece of junk, next year im upgrading to the blichman. Just gotta squeeze in those last few brews before all the faucets freeze and i shut the operation down for the winter…then I can relax.
This sounds like one of our brewdays! Typically we are brewing once a month or a little less often, so usually during the mash and boil we are kegging something else, cleaning out the conical, or blending/packaging wild ales… USUALLY by the time we are chilling the current batch we have time (after cleaning the MLT) to actually enjoy a pint!
You guys jam to much into a brew day. That’s why it’s stressful. I’ll brew a batch one day maybe pitch the next. Sometimes just rinse everything and clean it the next day. I’ll keg a batch in the evening but not on a day I brew. It’s a hobby not a job.
I stressed over the first extract batches, and again over the first few AG brews. Stressing over brewing is not good.
My wife and I brew together, which makes it nice. Our kids are almost grown; so brew days keep us out of THEIR hair. We don’t fret over being as fast, or as efficient, or as precise as possible. We sleep in, big family breakfast, start the brew around noon, walk the dog during the mash, catchup on Basic Brewing Radio during the boil, and get take-out after clean-up.
I find if you enjoy the company; follow good routine without going OCD over it, then the brew day is relaxing, and oddly therapeutic…