I originally planned on calling this post “Adventures in Home Brewing”, but after this weekend’s brewing shambles “Misadventures” seemed far more appropriate. Months ago over a few bottles of beer, Graeme and I decided we wanted to give home brewing a go. Graeme ordered The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazi, and we waited eagerly by our post box. It took approximately 57 days before it arrived, not that we were counting. We played around with names for our make-belief brewery, and contemplated just trying out a brewing kit while we waited. In the end we decided we’d be patient and wait for the book, only to learn that trying out a brewing kit was the first thing the book recommended. So for our first misadventures in beer brewing, we opted to make an India Pale Ale by St Peters Brewery.
Now, throughout the Especially for the Beginner chapter, the one thing the author really stresses is to relax and enjoy the brewing process. In fact, not only is it repeated several times, it is also in capital letters. RELAX. DON’T WORRY. I would also like to add that I do not particularly recommend trying to brew your first brew the morning after a night out. Even if you think you feel fine, your brain does not work the way it should. So for us, things got unnecessarily complicated. Our syrup boiled over. Our bleach didn't seem to smell of anything, which made us worry that it’d gone off (does bleach go off?) and wasn't actually disinfecting anything. Our syrup boiled over again. The temperature wasn't going down to 20°C, and we were running out of time. We were absolutely not relaxing. We were worrying, and we were getting stressed out and cranky. “I’m never brewing beer with you again!” Graeme declared in a huff as he stormed out of the kitchen. I questioned how we would be able to deal with anything in life as a married couple, if we couldn't even work together to brew a simple beer. Over dramatic? What?
And that’s when we realized how ridiculous the situation had become, and we couldn't really do anything other than laugh. And then we couldn't stop laughing for a while, and finally started enjoying ourselves. Our first attempt at brewing did not exactly go as planned, but it is our first attempt after all. If it doesn't turn out, it doesn't turn out. I took plenty of notes during the process, so we definitely know what we need to do next time to improve. Like relax and not worry, for example. And invest in a new bottle of bleach. So far the brew even seems to be doing what it should be, and it’s smelling rather delicious too. Fingers crossed it stays that way!