Deja Vu All Over Again

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Well-Known Member
Mar 21, 2017
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It's been awhile. I wasn't sure which forum to post this in. If it fits better somewhere else move it.

I had a (mild) interest in trying to brew beer back in 2014-2015, so over the next few months I made a couple Brewers Best kits with about $100 worth of miscellaneous equipment I bought, most on Offer Up. By 2018 my garage was pretty much a full-fledged brewery. My brew day went from a couple of hours in the kitchen to all weekend in several areas of the house, from magnetic stir plates and yeast starters in the kitchen, adjusting water chemistry and milling grains on Friday nights, firing up the system first thing Saturday morning, cleaning up, hosing down and putting stuff away (dead tired) at 7pm on Saturday evening, and pitching yeast after the temp had stabilized Sunday mornings. When I wasn't brewing, I was on Beersmith creating, or reading the latest books and articles on Water Chemistry, hops, yeast... When my wife wanted to take a break we'd get in the car and just drive . . . to breweries I hadn't visited yet throughout Arizona and southern California. At that point I probably had $6,000 to $7,000 invested in equipment, and it had gone from a (mild) interest, to a hobby, to an obsession.

I was 58 in 2018. Those brew day(s) were hard on me. Monday mornings were tough... and sore. The interest in everything about brewing was still very much alive and well, but the ambition to actually (do it) was fading fast. It was getting harder and harder to talk myself into brewing a batch. After my equipment sat for 6 months unused, without even an inkling of firing it up, I decided to sell it all off at probably 1/4 of what I paid and clear out the garage.

That was the end of 2018. Hard to believe it's been over 3 years.

I absolutely loved everything about brewing EXCEPT the heavy lifting. I loved the science, the history, the art, the creativity, the experimentation. I absolutely LOVE a well crafted beer. In the 3 to 4 years I spent brewing, I came close a few times. There was always that ONE THING I should have done differently. Every brew was a learning experience, and the magnet was that I was (in theory) getting one step closer with each brew. But I never brewed the same beer twice - so I really wasn't zeroing in on anything.

Fast forward to today. My favorite style has slowly evolved into bourbon (or whiskey) barrel-aged Imperial Stouts. Black Friday, and the release of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout has become the highlight of the Holiday season for me.

And out of nowhere - the brew bug has bitten me again.

I want to brew a big barrel-aged RIS. I don't have a garage full of brewing equipment anymore, and I don't want to spend an entire weekend of hard, heavy lifting, labor intensive work. My (off-the-top-of-my-head) idea is to brew two, 5 gallon batches; extract, partial boil, BIAB... idk. And from there I'm not sure if I want to ferment them with bourbon soaked charred white oak chunks, or barrel staves, or actually invest in a 10 gallon freshly dumped bourbon barrel.

I don't want to get back into brewing as a hobby. I really just want to brew this one 10 to 15 gallon batch for as cheap as possible.

I llok forward to any advice or suggestions.