I’ve been brewing for about 5 years now and the longer I do it the more complicated it seems to get. And, that is a good thing. I think the fact that I now understand how much I don’t understand at least opens me up to the idea that failure is INDEED the best learning tool.
When I first started it seemed like I just threw some stuff in a pot, boiled it, made a really good attempt at sanitizing things, bottled and waited. Then I drank a few beers and usually dumped the rest.
As the beers slowly got better I saw the need to update my system. Much of this was inspired by the great beers I was trying around the world. As I dabbled in german beers I started learning about decoction mashing and getting into carbonation levels of beer. That curiosity was explored as I started brewing hefeweizen beers and trying to match the carbonation levels.
It was going to be hard to do a decoction mash with just one 5 aluminum gallon stock pot on an old kitchen stove. Then came my 10 gallon stainless steel pot. The fermentation fridge. Then the outdoor propane burners. Circulation-pump mashing. And, i’m pleased to announce that finally, as of this week, kegging.
Yup. I’ve been bottling for the better part of 5 years. There is definitely a certain peace that overcomes me when I am bottling and I don’t find it annoying as some of my counterparts, but I do not like the chance ratios of priming sugar to bottle. Naturally, you want everything to be as sanitized as possible, but at the same time you want to constantly apply a gentle stir to the priming sugared wort while bottling to keep the sugar content evenly dispersed. Maybe not everyone does this, but I do believe that there are definite inconsistencies in how the bottling process leaves it to chance that the sugar will distribute evenly.
So finally I took the plunge and bought an entire kegging system. The thing I am most excited about is this will hopefully allow me to make more than 2 batches at once. This should theoretically double my output, which in turn I hope leads to more mistakes which I can turn into more learning experiences.
I am a FIRM believer that if I wouldn’t buy my beer at a store than I am not going to offer it to my friends, one day I aspire to serve all my beers to them and not just the good ones.