Patience and the Homebrewer - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

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Well-Known Member
Dec 16, 2015
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Platteville, WI
Any particular reason why you don't just post that here so we don't have to go off-site to see it?


Active Member
Mar 10, 2017
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Patience and the Homebrewer

Axle Rose and Charlie Papazian walk into a bar. I’m a sucker for good 80’s music. The gentle sway and enchanting whistle of Axle Rose has always helped me to relax. Meanwhile, Charlie Papazian coined the term, ”Relax, Don’t Worry Have a Homebrew” or RDHAHB as many of you have seen it on message boards and such. There is one thing that I think this message inherently implies….P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E. As a homebrewer, the patience one exudes from batch-to-batch can help tremendously, also it allows for more restful nights. There have been so many countless posts I have seen on message boards or homebrewing groups on Facebook where people ask endless questions about their brewing process. This is usually the case when people are talking about their fermentation process. I have experienced it myself several times too. The one thing that I try to stress to people when talking to them about brewing beer is that this is a process. With any process, there is this inherent patience that goes along with being a homebrewer.

There have been several times in the last year where I have had to exhibit extreme amount of patience with my brewing. I wish to take you down the road of how patience can indeed help a homebrewer out and help contribute to making some pretty damn decent beer.

The first experience was brewing an Imperial Stout that I brewed along with two other friends back in October of 2015. At the end of fermentation, we racked the finished beers into a 30-gallon Koval Bourbon barrel. We let this beer sit in the barrel for a long time, every part of 13 months. The more and more people I talked to about barrel aging a beer, the more opinions I received about it. Some told me that you really only need a few months, while many others still thought that a year would be sufficient. We opted to wait a long while with this one. To be totally honest, life got in the way with this one. Like many situations in our busy lives, sometimes we can’t always do what we want to do and when we want to do them. Instead you roll with it and just adjust. I periodically took samples of this beer out of the barrel. Throughout these test tasters, I discovered that our patience was rewarding us greatly. The finished beer had some good oak characteristic. Many of the guys from our homebrew club tasted the beer and gave us good insight into our finished product. Several commented that this was a great first effort with a barrel aged beer. It scored pretty decent scores at a local homebrew competition at our local homebrew shop,


Pandora’s Box


48% 2-Row

24% Pilsner

6% Chocolate Malt

4% Flaked Oats

4% Black Patent Malt

4% Chocolate Wheat Malt

4% Brown Malt

4% Roasted Barley

2% Special B


3oz Fuggles 90 minutes 4.8 AA 29.3 IBU

2oz Mt. Hood 90 minutes 6.0 AA 24.4 IBU


San Diego Super Yeast WLP 090 70% Attenuation

Batch Size 5.5 Gallons

Boil Size 9.0 Gallons @ 90 min.

OG 1.121

FG 1.036

Color 84

Efficiency 75%

Bitterness 51.3 IBU

Alcohol 11% ABV

The second beer that I want to highlight with this whole patience theme is the Golden Sour I brewed with the same friends I brew with for the Imperial Stout. Back in June of 2016 we all gathered together to brew 20 gallons of a Golden Ale which we agreed to split up amongst ourselves. My buddy and I knew that these guys are the real deal when it comes to brewing Sour beers. We figured why not try to learn from the best. We were on a quest that day to gain as much knowledge about the sour making process as possible so that one day we can do this on our own. The motto for that entire brew day was, “brew it and forget it.” To be totally honest, with a Sour patience is required. Otherwise you will not have the beer that you have intended. Striving for a beer that hits you right in the upper part of your jaw line with great sourness has always been my goal when thinking about brewing a sour. To obtain this goal, I needed to be patient. October of 2017 rolled around and we finally got together to divide up this beer. As I am typing this blog post, I am sipping on the fruits of my labor and patience for that matter. I must say, I am mildly impressed with our finished product here. The one thing that I took away from this experience is that patience was a must with this one. If we rushed it, the beer would have never of turned out the way it did.


Penelope Awaits


76% Bohemian Pilsner

19% White Wheat

5% Vienna


1oz Mt. Hood 60min 6.0 AA 20.8 IBU


White Labs California Ale WLP001 70% Attenuation

WYeast Roeselare Blend after 1 month of fermentation

Batch Size 20 Gallons

Boil Size 23 Gallons @ 60 min.

OG 1.060

FG 1.018

Color 3 SRM

Efficiency 75%

Bitterness 20.8 IBU

Alcohol 5.4% ABV

I do want to add how I arrived at the name for the Sour. In Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope was the wife of Odysseus. Penelope was names the goddess of patience since she waited patiently and faithfully, I might add, for her husband to arrive home from the Trojan War. This seemingly fit the nature of this beer and this blog post. Patience is important. I can still hear my mother and grandmother telling me as a young boy that “patience is a virtue.”

Other insistences where our patience is required when it comes to homebrewing:

· The age old question, is my beer done fermenting.

It should be ingrained in every brewer’s mind that the bubbles you see or don’t see

in your airlock is not an indication that fermentation is complete. The true way to really know if your beer is done fermenting is by taking a gravity reading for three days in a row with consistent numbers.

· Is my beer infected?

Just because your beer looks like something out of a science fiction movie, doesn’t mean it’s infected. Most of the time it is caused by a natural process of fermentation. Worrying about it only prohibits you from brewing more beer.

· When you are ready to give up on a batch of beer because fermentation is just non-existent.

There are plenty of times when a beer is seemingly done fermenting, but by changing the environment (usually the temp) can actually save said beer.

I will leave you with the great words of Axle Rose. “Gotta have more patience, yeah (Yeah, yeah but I need you) All need some patience (Ooh I need you, whoa I need you)
Just a little patience is all you need (Ooh, this time, ah)”

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