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Old 06-02-2012, 11:41 AM   #191
mjdonnelly68
Always drinking - never drunk.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonK331 View Post
Awesome thread. Really nice work!
Glad you're enjoying it too - it's a hoot!
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"I feel sorry for people who don't drink because when they get up in the morning, that's as good as they're gonna feel all day" - Francis Albert Sinatra

 
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:10 PM   #192
mjdonnelly68
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June 2, 2012 - HB Imperial Nut Brown Ale - Brew Day in the Third Bay (AG Light Rye)

Today I'm drinking the first bottle of a batch of Imperial Nut Brown Ale I made (mini-mash). I think it's okay - my wife thinks it's very good. I believe the difference in opinion is worth noting. Brewing as a hobby exists on a spectrum, and I think I've crossed into a new wavelength.

When I tasted my first few batches of homebrew, I thought they all tasted great (though I'm sure they didn't). My excitement compounded by my lack of knowledge made every new batch a revelation. I'll call this the "Holy **** I Brewed This' phase. Every batch I brewed turned out great. How could it not - I brewed it?

This honeymoon period lasted about six batches. During those initial batches, while I was brewing and amazing myself, I was also learning about the brewing process. I was buying books and reading forums and generally filling my noggin with as much brewing knowledge (right and wrong) as I could get my eyeballs on.

Now knowledge is like light - it can be good and bad. Throw on a light in a darkened room and suddenly you can see everything you were missing before - that's good. But suddenly you can also see that you've been wearing your underwear on your head - that's bad. So once I stepped into the blinding light of brewing knowledge, I could no longer ignore the fact that I had been brewing with my underwear on my head. I now knew about original gravity and final gravity and flocculation and attenuation and acetaldehyde and diacetyl and fruity esters. Fruity esters for f**k's sake! Why hadn't anyone warned me about the fruity esters?

Never again would I be able to brew in blissful ignorance. Now I was blinders off and constantly watching my temperature and my times and my ph levels and my hop utilization rates. I was still enjoying myself, but some of the bloom was off the brewing rose. I was on high alert. Brewing disaster could befall me at any moment. I was always one degree or dirty hydrometer away from brewing tragedy. And the beers I brewed past batch six didn't taste as good to me. I could taste each missed mash temp, each boil over, each gravity point missed. I still enjoyed the beers, but not quite as much. The honeymoon was over. I'll call this the "What'd You Mess Up on This One" phase.

This period lasted at least another 20 batches (and to be honest still reverberates today). It's only recently that I've balanced 'learned enough' and 'brewed enough' to the point of relative parity. I still know when I screw things up, but I've brewed enough to know what's a catastrophe and what's not. I'll compare it to being a adult. After almost 30 years of living on my own, I've finally arrived at the point where when an alarm goes off - I know when to panic, and when to reach for a fresh nine volt battery. When I brew, I'm usually reaching for a fresh battery. I'll call this the "Don't Sweat It But Don't Bet It (Yet)" phase, and it's very nice.

This is the phase I'm currently in. I'm relaxed enough to enjoy brewing again at a high level, but I'm still cognoscente of the fact that I'm living and learning. I now know what I don't know - and I can still taste that in my beers. But I'm less worried about it and I can finally pull out the evidence of my beer's gradual improvement. Each batch gets a little better, every beer get's a little closer to where I now know I need to go. I'm content but not satisfied, and isn't that what we should all shoot for?
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:55 AM   #193
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Wow that's an awesome post! That's like the brewers manifesto.

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:37 PM   #194
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Very well put Donnelly. There's a fine line between taking pride in your hobby and it becoming more work than fun. Always enjoy your updates....and your locales.

 
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:10 AM   #195
mjdonnelly68
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June 3, 2012. - The Brewhouse, Norwalk, CT
Beaver Blonde Ale, Beaver Brewing and Capt Lawrence Pale Ale, Captain Lawrence Brewing
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:12 AM   #196
mjdonnelly68
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June 3, 2012 - Franziskaner Weissbier - La Conca d'Oro, Catskill, NY
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:53 PM   #197
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June 5, 2012 - Abbot Ale, Greene King - The Man of Kent, Hoosick Falls, NY
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:02 PM   #198
mjdonnelly68
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June 6, 2012 - Sierra Nevada Hoptimum (Whole-Cone Imperial IPA) - On The Patio
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:44 PM   #199
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June 7, 2012 - Big Daddy IPA, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers - In the Brew Cave
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:33 PM   #200
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June 8, 2012 - Home (TGIF!)
Unfiltered Double Simcoe IPA, Weyerbacher Brewing
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