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How often do you brew by the seat of your pants?

Have not had time to brew since April 9th. With the kids in multiple sports and having to coach two teams in the summer, it’s been almost 5 months. Kegerator is down to 2 kegs and neither is my preferred style.
Wednesday I decided that Saturday would be the day. I assumed my harvested yeast would be to old. Luckily I had 2 packs of US-05. Planned on grinding grain Friday night but ended up having to go to high school football game and had friend over after. Woke up Saturday, went to the gym and then started looking at recipes. Thought I would have the ingredients foe chinhook ipa. had everything but pils caramel. subbed crystal 10. I am now 30 minutes into the boil and looking at all the equipment laying around and wondering if I am the only one who brews without planning everything out???

Of course not! I like to plan and then have a terrible tendency of changing plans once I get to the brewshop. Always some grain substitution I could make. For example, had a Flanders Brown Ale planned out today, went to the store and walked out with a pound and a half more basegrain and flaked wheat instead of flaked corn.

not as often as I used to. I used to “throw in some of this, add some of that” when I first started brewing. some of it was great, some of it was just OK. now that I have Beer Smith, it’s just easier for me to get what I’m looking for in a brew. I still do once & a while, which is usually directly related to how many beers I had before I started.

Sometimes I do it accidentally.

I’ve always loved planning and organizing things–going back to my childhood as an avid baseball card collector. So my approach to brewing is to plan fairly meticulously. Of course, it’s occasionally necessary to improvise on brew day.

I try and have a plan, and by plan I mean, I have all the ingredients and everything is well sanitized. beyond that I have my process, but I like to keep it relaxed because that is part of the enjoyment for me.

Almost every time. I peruse around Hopville, and get a sense of the “average” ingredients in a beer style. Then I go to the brew store and I’ll buy whatever grains they happen to have that go along with that style. I buy my base malts bulk, so that’s usually 2-row, but other than that my grains and ratios are basically made up as I go along.

Since my recipes are “seat of my pants” I used to keep really good notes so I could repeat a recipe if I wanted to, but lately I’ve even been neglecting the notes. Somewhere along the line I learned that my process makes good beer, regardless of precision.

I am usually more organized than this, but as of Saturday morning I had a starter ready to go and was not sure what I was going to brew Saturday afternoon. When the wife said she was headed to the store, I had her pick up ingredients for pumpkin spice and some acorn squash since pumpkins are not in season quite yet. So I brewed a pumpkin ale.

I have lots of grains on hand and lots of hops and generally play with tweaking recipes for a week or two before I brew, so I just finished the recipe and off I went.

Maybe this will be me at some point, but I enjoy the planning as much as the brewing. I have about 4 times as many recipes made up in Brewer’s Friend than beers I’ve actually brewed. I don’t get to brew anywhere near as often as I’d like, so the planning part is just as much of a part of the hobby for me as actually brewing.


I guess my point was, do you ever get so busy, you don’t have time to brew/plan?
I had gone 5 months without brewing. Found 5 hours on Saturday and decided to go for it. I have numerous recipes on the computer and try to keep a healthy yeast bank and supply of grains, however i had not updated my grains spreadsheet in quite some time.
It was brew now, or wait another 2-3 weeks.

I would have done what you did, provided I had ready-to-go yeast. But I don’t think I’ve ever found myself in that situation. Two weeks ago I brewed my first batch in about 4 months, but I had a “to brew” list that had been waiting for a few months already, so no need to go seat-of-the-pants.

Had 2 packs of US-05 on hand

Had 2 packs of US-05 on hand[/quote]
That is the beauty of good quality dry yeast. Not so long ago I didn’t much trust any dry yeasts. Now there are a few good ones and Safale leads the pack IMHO.

It’s nice to have enough stuff around so when you find yourself with some spare time, you can fire off a batch.

I keep a pack each of US-05, T-58, and 71B on hand for spur-of-the-moment beer/mead/cider. As far as beer goes, I keep saying I’m going to keep some light DME on hand for spur-of the moment brews, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I did pull together a batch of amber on a day’s notice when my buddy picked his hop bines a few weeks ago. But that was still enough time to go through my stash of speciaty grains, find a recipe in BCS to tweak, and hit the LHBS for everything I was missing.

I have yet to have a day where I find myself with a few free hours and say “Screw it - I’m brewing something”. Having a 2-year old will do that to you :slight_smile:

I keep 12-36 packs of US-05 on hand, 10-25 lbs hops and 100-400 lbs of grains on hand so I can brew whenever the time is right. Sometimes I just throw a brand new recipe together and brew 22 gallons of it to see how it turns out. Kind of a big pilot batch but it always works out.

Pretty regularly I will give it a fling, but since I have Brewsmith, I don’t know how much thatis seat of the pants. I did a spruce beer this past spring and it was totally by guess with what I had on hand, because the spruce tips were at their prime. Turned out fantastic!

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