Monday, August 22, 2011

Home Brew: Trial and Error Approach

I guess after a few years of home brewing, I can see pretty clearly the approach Stass, Brad and I are taking with it now. We have gone through the stage of just learning how to make beer with extract and enjoying to simpleness of it to get an idea of differing styles on a general basis, and then improving on those to try and clone the beers we like, again, mainly through the use of extract can with minimal addition. We have been lucky in a way to come into brewing at a time when it is expanding, and home brew shops are coming out more with clone kits that are simple and easy to make yourself, our recent Guinness showing we still use this approach.
I guess looking at home brew sites and forums I see that one aspect we have not fully engaged ourselves in is the technical aspect of brewing, and doing full mashes to get into the real basics of brewing. As I now look at trying to get involved in a brewing course, and seeing my own personal lack of chemistry knowledge, I can see this is going to be a difficult challenge for me to overcome.

At this time I look at the way at which I like to brew, and how we generally like to be a bit experimental in our approach. We have a pretty basic understanding, but enough for us to try and bring some common sense when doing a brew. Still, it does get a little disappointing when a 'trial and error' means we make many mistakes, and I really feel that lack of knowledge hit home. While we have some successes with the Mulberry Molasses Beer, and and Honey Wheat Beer, we have also had the Milo beer that we had to tip out, and there is some trepidation with out latest Wattle Seed Beer that we kegged last night.

We also put on a new experimental beer last night, and ended up making a mess when trying to caramelise sugar for it. We ended up stepping it back and the wort tastes very interesting. I guess it is a little strange though that we had the name for the beer before we thought of how to brew it...Hickory Stickery Bock. I'll leave it to your imagination to see what we have done with it at the moment, and will see this weekend how it come through the fermentation process.

Overall, I just feel a little downhearted that we have to go through the mistakes, even though this is offsetted by the excitement of just trying to do something different. I can't help but think we may be making simple mistakes that a lack of technical knowledge is bring us down on. But knowing I am not naturally a technically minded person also brings with it much uncertainty of trying to make a career in brewing.

Ok, so it may seem like I am being melodramatic, but I guess at this time, I am quite concerned in my weaknesses as a person and how it has affected my approach to brewing, and how that will affect me getting into, and being able to do well in, a brewing course.

Anyway, just wanted to get that down.



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