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Old 11-01-2013, 03:07 PM   #1
Jan 2012
Stewartsville, NJ
Posts: 1,053
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I'm a 1 gallon AG BIAB brewer who started out on this hobby about 2 years ago. I loved it instantly and started brewing every weekend. Thing is, approx 90% of the beers that I brewed, I didn't care for. Everyone else said they were "good," but I didn't agree. Most of the time, I was disappointed. Lots of times, I didn't think what I made was even palatable.

I originally started with spring water. Then I started using distilled water with salts added. No matter what I did, I couldn't get my finished product to something that I was happy with. In ALL cases, I'd rather drink commercially brewed beer than what I was producing.

I have since taken off about 7 months. All of my stuff sits in the closet, but I constantly think about starting again. But to what end? I really could use a pep talk. I've thought about attending some of the local homebrewer's meetings near me, but I'm not sure that anyone/anything can truly help me unless they're involved in my process to see where I may potentially be going wrong. I feel like the majority of successful brewers on here would rather drink they're beer than anything brewed by Stone, or Founders or any of the "big boy" brewers. I think Stone's IPA's are like, 150x better than any IPA I have ever made...And I've made about 10!

I don't want to let go and quit altogether, but I'm having a hard time finding the motivation again to start when I feel like I already know the results that I'm going to have.


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Old 11-01-2013, 03:17 PM   #2
May 2011
Medford, WI
Posts: 7,245
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Give extract brewing a try for a little while. Do partial boils so you can use a pot that can fit on the kitchen stove. Pick recipe kits that are your style drink. A few good tasting ones and your confidence may come back. Don't use someone elses' recipe that they tell you is awesome.

Try Northern Brewer of Midwest Supplies kits. Don't cut corners on yeast or pitching rates.

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Old 11-01-2013, 03:22 PM   #3
Dec 2012
Dublin, CA
Posts: 606
Liked 187 Times on 109 Posts

I think you're onto the right answer when you talk about hanging out with other brewers, but maybe you have the wrong emphasis. Rather than having them watch you, maybe you should hang out with them and watch them brew while you pick their brain and help. I've learned some solid stuff just attending my local club meetings. You'd be surprised at what simple things you would learn that may help you turn the corner.

I have also learned a ton as a groupie hanging around my LHBS and talking to the proprietors and patrons. I plan an hour in my schedule every time I shop there in order to leave open the possibility of friendship and education. I've even been invited to brew with the owner; what an awesome eye-opener that was. I learn something nearly every time I'm in there. Plus -- you might make some new friends!

And yes -- I'd rather drink my homebrew than most commercials.

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Old 11-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #4
Oct 2011
Beach Park, IL
Posts: 64
Liked 25 Times on 14 Posts

I'd re-think your attitude about attending your local homebrewers meetings. Think it would be easier to adjust whatever your displeased with and acquire a bit more knowledge face to face rather than on here. Plus, have the ability to sample other's wares and get the low down on how they make them.

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Old 11-01-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
Stocktonbrew's Avatar
Nov 2012
Manteca, Ca
Posts: 188
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Brewing Beer is a tradition. When my Mother gave me my Grandfathers hydrometer I was honored. Its worth figuring out. But if all else fails, just lower your standards.

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Old 11-01-2013, 04:03 PM   #6
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Dec 2008
Hamden, CT
Posts: 8,997
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Definitely go a local homebrew club meeting. If you do have something wrong in your process, more than likely, they'll be able to taste it.

I am in the same boat as you in the sense that most family and friends really enjoy my beer. On some occasions, I agree, but I'm never truly happy. That doesn't deter me from brewing, though. It motivates me. To learn about what I'm doing, and what I can do to improve my process and my beer.
Fermenting: Bohemian Pilsner, Rare Vos clone
Drinking: German Pils, IPA
On Deck: TBD

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Old 11-01-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
Oct 2013
Posts: 67
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Originally Posted by Stocktonbrew View Post
But if all else fails, just lower your standards.
I couldn't do that even if I wanted to. There's too much good beer out there to choke down something I don't care much for, let alone something I don't find at all palatable. I've seen a lot of folks online say you should never dump a beer, but life's too short to do things that don't make you happy, including drinking crappy beer. Like the OP, I'd rather just fork over the cash for another Ruination and enjoy my evening.

JeffoC6, what don't you like about your beers? Since you mention IPAs, in what ways have yours been different from the beers you do like? Do you find that yours aren't bitter enough? Too bitter? Too sweet? Not enough aroma? Too thin? Actually, since you like Stone I'll assume you don't think yours are too bitter (is there such a thing?). What yeasts have you tried, and what's the temperature situation in your house when you're fermenting?

In the meantime, I'd definitely heed the advice of everyone suggesting you take advantage of the resources and experience at the homebrew store(s) or club(s) nearby. I've seen a few suggest bringing in a bottle of your beer so they can give you a critique and pointers. They might be able to troubleshoot that way. If that doesn't work, some also have brew days where they can help you through the process. I've seen some people scoff at the idea of paying a fee for a class, but I'd be happy to if it could help me consistently brew beer that blows my wife and I away. Hell, maybe you could just bribe a local brewer with a couple 6-packs of Victory Hop Devil to come over on your brew day.

I'm pretty new to this so I don't have any solid advice to give you, but I also have very high standards and can see where you're coming from. I think it's worth giving it a few more shots after you've spent some time talking more with/working with some experienced guys who like the same beers as you. If you love big IPAs, find the guy at the store who loves those, too. Any tips you receive from someone who isn't familiar with or a big fan of that style may actually be counterproductive.

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Old 11-01-2013, 05:37 PM   #8
Feb 2012
Marietta, GA
Posts: 162
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My IPAs have usually been off from what I expected, I usually have to go overboard on the hops if I want to achieve what I wanted.

My ciders, Belgian beers, porters and Oktoberfest beers are constantly rotating and coming out perfectly.

I didn't even think I liked these styles until I brewed them to MY tastes.

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Old 11-01-2013, 07:21 PM   #9
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Feb 2008
Reed City, MI
Posts: 31,927
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I'll have to second the advise to seek out a homebrewing club. See what they are doing. Taste their beer. I'm sure most any of them would be thrilled to have you try their stuff and see if it's more to your liking.

I like to drink commercial beer as well. Some of it is better than mine, and some of mine I'd rather drink than some commercial. But I also like the process of brewing and trying different things. My beer is not consistent because of it, but that's the nature of continually upgrading and trying different things I guess. I like spending less on beer and having a keg in the kegerator I can just pour a glass off of.

If the process isn't holding the same interest I'm not sure what to tell you. If the only thing disappointing you is the finished beer, I am willing to bet you can overcome this problem with a little more exposure to other homebrewers and their methods.
Day after day, it reappears. Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear. Ghosts appear and fade away. Come back another day.

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Old 11-02-2013, 02:46 AM   #10
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Cyclman's Avatar
Jan 2013
Aurora, CO
Posts: 6,335
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+1 on doing extract + grain kits. If you didn't like 90% of your beers, it's likely something in your process. Or possibly your water, extract kits should be done with distilled water (one less thing, as they say).

Kits teach cleaning, sanitation, simple equipment utilization, bottling, etc. To those who've brewed scores of beers, these things seem automatic / intuitive, but for new brewers they are skills to learn. These things could be what is causing you to be unhappy with your beer.

Also with kits, you can start with darker beers that hide minor flaws, then as you get better brew some cleaner beers, even lager a beer. If you can do a clean extract lager, you've pretty well mastered all of the "basics." Another issue could be your equipment. If you make a kit beer, it's either process or equipment, and this can be figured out by process of elimination.

I have a buddy who has done many extract kits, makes good beer, and has little interest in moving to PM or AG brewing. He'd rather experiment, and who's to criticize that? I think AG is a bit overrated, it's more time consuming, more costly equipment wise, and I am not convinced that it produces markedly better beer than PM beer.

Also, you brewed ALOT- maybe you just need / needed a break? Brewing is fun, but like anything too much of a good thing can make it a bad thing. Maybe 6 months off clears your head a bit.

I have a HB club, always love talking beer, sharing beer, brewing together. Brewing alone is fun, but it is ultimately a social hobby, beer needs to be talked about, shared, enjoyed by those of similar passion.

I hope you get re-infected with the "bug." I realized I'd overdone my brewing, I have hundreds of bottles in my pipeline, and am scaling back to 2.5G BIAB for awhile. I'm taking this opportunity to experiment with beers I wasn't sure I wanted 2 cases of- chili beers, IPA with wine juice added, Rauchbier. I expect that to be a different journey, but one no less enjoyable.

Best wishes
Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime! Bill Owen quote

Why does Happy Hour limit happiness to 1/24 of the day?

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