Firstly, I am newly registered here but have been an avid HBT lurker. I consider this forum to be a gem and is incredibly well moderated in terms of its content and message. So I just wanted to quickly give other Noobs some words of encouragement considering my ups and downs with starting this fantastic hobby.
I have two batches under my belt now. The first was a pale ale that I brewed at the beginning of October. I was so unbelievably obsessed with the details of this beer. Though I did make several mistakes (Didnt check gravity, hardly aerated, pitched a tad warm) everything went pretty smoothly. I was so crazy about cleanliness that I didn't really enjoy the process that much. I found it really stressful because I didn't want to Eff anything up. After a week, I checked the gravity as I realized I hadn't yet. To my surprise, the gravity was 20 points higher than what it was supposed to be. Yikes, I thought it was over. I figured, well I guess it will just need a little more TIME to age and it would require PATIENCE. Somewhere along this line I stopped giving a sh*t. I mean I cared, but I just decided I was going to enjoy this rather than let it get to me. After all, we start this past time because we love beer. We love the taste, the texture, the smell-I digress...
Bottling was again, a little stressful. So many things to get in order, so many things to think about. But I promised myself, a hobby should be enjoyed. Put on some music, check things off your list, and have a craft beer if you dont have any of yours ready yet. Bottling went really smoothly this way. I tasted the beer, there were some esters I was worried about. The alcohol taste was very overpowering and I thought, "I am going to be so defeated if this doesn't turn out". I tried to not let it bug me, but I was really nervous. I waited a week and just had to dive in. It still tasted very green and hadnt really conditioned at all. I knew it needed more time but again my impatience got the best of me. I was really bummed. Fast forward 3 weeks, and HOLY CRAP!!! This beer is out of this world delicious. My girls parents who aren't really craft beer fans, and gawk at anything "strong" are absolutely gaga over this sh*t. I almost cried when I took tasted the first one at this age. I couldn't believe the kind of satisfaction I got out of it.
My sentiment is this, enjoy the whole experience. Enjoy the mistakes, enjoy the successes. Don't just follow the road, travel it.