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So what do you most miss/DON'T miss about your beginning brewing experiences?

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seatazzz

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Slightly long story, can skip to the end if it gets boring.

So I visit HBT almost every day, and have done for the last four + years since I started down this path. For the most part, after I check to see who liked/didn't like/commented on my posts/comments, I start in General Homebrew, then say to myself, "let's see what the noobs are up to today" and head over to the Beginning Brewing forum. Not meant to be derogatory, but I like to see if there's any posts there where I can offer some assistance, as I'm sure many of us do; also to see if I can learn something new. More and more, I'm seeing posts from new brewers just finding out what happens when malt, yeast, hops, and time really come together and make something awesome, with a little help from us humans.

So here's my question; what do you most miss, or NOT miss, about being a rank beginner? For positives, was it your first equipment setup, that moment when you discovered "hey, this is BEER and I made it!!!", a recipe you made once and just haven't been able to repeat? For negatives, realizing that yeast (except for those kveik strains) do NOT like being dumped into super hot wort where they will mostly die and cause really nasty off-flavors (waves hand guiltily in the air)? Or that cleaning your equipment right after a brewday is a must (once again, waving hand slowly, guiltily, slightly above shoulder level)?

I'll start. I do NOT miss being ignorant of all the information available out there, and ruining several batches that could have been good by my rookie mistakes. I'm not going to include equipment upgrades (I've had several) since those come with experience; back in the day I could have made some great beers if I had just pulled my head out of my a** and realized what I was doing wrong, which I could have easily done with a couple of google searches, or purchasing the books I currently have on my shelf, which didn't happen until after I'd been stumbling along for 2 years; or by knowing exactly what questions to ask on this very forum. I have nothing but admiration for the folks on here who started homebrewing before the internet (yes I do remember back that far).

I DO miss a few batches I made as a beginner that were (at least to me) absolutely stellar; an IPA that I brewed with water from Lake Chelan (no adjustments) that turned out the best I've ever made; the Orange Coriander Wit that I made for my daughter's wedding that was perfect with no ferment fridge; and, believe it or not, the first batch I brewed from fresh ingredients in my old Mr Beer barrel, mainly because I made it and it was drinkable.

So, anyone want to chime in? Won't be offended if this one falls to the basement, or if the mods move this to the beginner forum.
 

brewdude88

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I do not miss my pre-RO water setup. The extra step of calibrating and measuring/adjusting PH on the fly was annoying and inconsistent. After initial investment in an RO system and years of learning, I don't even use a PH meter anymore, as I know my calculations get me within a few hundredths of my PH goal consistently, not to mention knowing what my flavor ion concentrations are.
 

day_trippr

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I was never a true beginner, having watched my dad brew beer when I was very young, and occasionally "helping" :)
When I got into it decades later on my own everything was familiar, and I had voraciously read Palmer's and Papazian's and others books in preparation.
My reintroduction went smoothly, and tbh everything has been fairly predictable ever since. Much of that likely due to me flogging the interwebs when considering or conjuring something new to get my feet grounded - one can fairly predict outcomes based on enough user experience from solid sources.

But...what I do kinda miss is the frequent epiphanies. Like, the first time I did a blonde with the brand new "Citra" hops, and the result absolutely knocked me for a loop, it was so amazing. I even took bottles in coolers to my primary lhbs (rip, Strangebrew) to share my discovery. Those things don't happen as often after 16 years ;)

Cheers!
 

FromZwolle

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I really don't miss being inexperienced enough to not be able to distinguish between people who had genuine understanding and experience and those that were just regurgitating things that they had read and assumed were true.
 

FromZwolle

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and similar to day trippr, i miss those "aha" moments. reading an obscure blog post after ah hour of google searching rabbit holes and find an 'oooooh, so that's how they do that; i need to try it asap!' type info.
 

Transamguy77

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I don’t miss trying to figure things out on brew day, I have my system dialed in pretty well and it elevates most of the guesswork with temps and volumes.

I do miss all the brewing I used to do, after a couple of cross country moves and buying a house that needs some updating I haven’t had much time to brew, I have a ton of ingredients just waiting to be beer.
 

bracconiere

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But...what I do kinda miss is the frequent epiphanies. Like, the first time I did a blonde with the brand new "Citra" hops, and the result absolutely knocked me for a loop, it was so amazing. I even took bottles in coolers to my primary lhbs (rip, Strangebrew) to share my discovery. Those things don't happen as often after 16 years

+2 aparently, lol...after 16 years, brew day is like getting excited to wash the dishes! some fun and new is always exciting! (speaking of washing the dishes, anyone have a good brand of dish cloth, that actually has a good abrasive side to it? my kitchenaid ones, suck! ;))
 

Murphys_Law

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I miss KISS. I started with BIAB because it was simple, fun amd my beer was pretty good. I liked it. My friends liked it. My family liked it.

Then I started tweaking this, adding that, buying more gear, chasing LODO, etc.

It wasn’t fun anymore, I got busy and pretty much checked out.

I brewed my second batch of the year yesterday - a variant of an ESB I’ve done many times before using ingredients I already had, doing simple, basic BIAB processes.

I can’t wait to brew again next week! I have promised my wife a Pils since...oh...about...August!
 

Immocles

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I do all my beer fermentation in the basement these days. I do NOT miss fermenting on our main floor. I was so paranoid about a blow out or a leak completely ruining a floor/wall/ceiling. Plus I had no type of temperature control at the time and just let everything swing wildly on a daily basis depending on season.
I started out brewing about a month before getting two friends into it as well. One lasted about a month, the other about three months. I miss having someone at the same level locally to compare and figure a process out. I also miss how great some of my extract recipes turned out, only to be completely disappointed when I tried to replicate them in all grain. I'm still trying to get my amber ale figured out...
 

bwible

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I miss doing extract batches and having a shorter and easier brew day. Thinking about going back to some of that again.

i do not miss trying to cool a full 5 gallon pot in a sink with 5 or 6” of cold water and frozen plastic bottles.

Can’t miss having friends who brew or who at the same level to bounce ideas off of, because I never had any. These forums are the closest thing. Yeah wouldn’t it be great to have a buddy you could ask “what’s the BU:GU for a RIS supposed to be?” who would actually have some clue what you’re talking about?
 
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Dland

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I miss brewing with good friends, making a meal, hanging out on brew days. Nowadays it is usually a solo sunday chore I have to do if I want good but inexpensive beer.

Also miss being about 30 years younger, long road trips to little home brew shops, mail ordering from paper catalog....driving down from VT w 100 gallons of cider in my '66 C-20.

Don't miss hefting heavy pots of hot liquid, bottling and bottle washing, bottle bombs, vats of bleach,,,,wondering if beer is going to be great or just OK, or occasionally worse.

There is a lot more available in the way of knowledge, equipment and ingredients than there was when I started, that is for sure. Some of the fun is gone, but maybe that just comes w age.
 

beersk

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I agree with a lot that has been said here. It used to be fun, exciting, almost mysterious. I used to value my beer more, like it was something sacred, something to be cherished. My first great batches that I had bottled in my first year or two of brewing, then I started kegging. Those first batches kegging were so special. Then after a while I just kind of got used to it and it lost it's mystique. Then along came low o2 brewing, so I got into that, started taking it way too seriously, and like @Murphys_Law said, it started not being fun anymore. I still do some low o2 brewing, but I really don't take it quite so seriously anymore. I remind myself that I do this for fun and the joy of it. And if it starts not being fun and I start having to think about things too much, something isn't right. Although I do think about beer and brewing A LOT. More than I'd like to, honestly.
I still think brewing is the greatest hobby ever.
 

mattdee1

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I kind of miss the level of excitement I used to have for sharing my homebrewed beer with friends and family. I mean, I still share the beer all the time and people love it as much as ever (probably more, considering quality has definitely crept up steadily over time), but after several years, the existence of "Matt's homebrewed beer" at holidays and get togethers has gone from being this mysterious novelty to just being "expected" to be there. Not really a complaint, just an observation.

I'm glad to be still using the same core equipment I started with back 5-6 years ago - my burner, kettle, MT, fermentors, and fermentation fridge are all my original ones. I believe in keeping the process very simple and hands-on while avoiding the trap of "flashy whiz-bang stuff just for the sake of flashy whiz-bang stuff." In other words, complexity or bling-factor that doesn't really add quality to the result. But I definitely don't miss the ramshackle process that I fumbled through originally to use this equipment. Through the years I've enhanced and streamlined my process and workflow to remove a lot of pain points that I used to just fight through, and the thought of going back to doing it the old way makes me shudder a bit.

I definitely DO NOT miss bottling my beer.

I definitely DO NOT miss trying to troubleshoot light ales for weird off-flavors before starting with RO water.

I definitely DO NOT miss horribly depressing results on IPAs due to oxygen.
 

NewJersey

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I miss how easy it was when I didn't know any better.
When I first started I jumped directly into 3 vessel all grain. Fermented in buckets that I'd just move to warmer or cooler locations in the house. No temp control.
I also began with kegging (when I read about all the steps/work involved in bottling I cringe to this day, lol) and kegging was originally using a siphon in open air.
Believe it or not most of my early beers were actually pretty good.
I now do eBIAB recirculating with a pid to control temps exactly, ferment in stainless with temp control, and do closed transfers.
It's way more work and I've had some misses this year. Makes you wonder if it's all worth it.
Also the beginning stage of ANY hobby is always the best part and we all know this
 
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seatazzz

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Wow, all great responses! I'm seeing a bit of a trend, that I notice in myself sometimes as well; some of the original excitement is gone, to be replaced by pretty much a push-button day, or a chore that 'has' to be done; unless something unforeseen happens (loose hose clamp, anyone?). I've noticed in myself, the last few months, not wanting to brew; either because life in the way, seemingly enough in the pipeline (always goes to zero super fast when I do that), or just can't think of what I want to brew that I haven't done dozens of times before; or just not feeling it. Then I finally have a brewday, and that excitement sorta comes back. Especially watching for those first krausen clumps to start, and the anticipation of coming home after a long day at work to see my creation bubbling crazily away.

I do have a couple of friends that brew, or used to; one of my co-workers brewed until a few months ago, when he got a DUI and stopped drinking altogether. I admire his fortitude, but miss the early morning gabfests about what we were going to brew next. And another friend, who runs a brewpub close by, that really helped me learn this crazy hobby, but he's busy running his business and just doesn't have much time anymore. I also belong to a sort-of informal brew club, we get together twice a year at one of their homes to all come together and brew; with the covid madness we had to forego our spring gathering and can't brew again until December. Next April I will be hosting our gathering at my house for the first time; six months out and I'm nervous as heck to have 6+ homebrewers in my garage. I'm the only one of us that brews all-grain (they all do partial mash), and am still trying to get some of them to try it.

If I had to give advice to anyone just not feeling that brew vibe anymore (but still enjoy cheaper-than-storebought-beer), I would say, think about what made this hobby so special when you started out. Whether it's creating your own recipe, or just the satisfaction of drinking something delicious that you made yourself (extract, partial mash, all grain, electric, three-vessel, BIAB, what have you). Even our mistakes can teach us a lot. I know mine have!
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I do still enjoy brewing. I have 20 gallons fermenting and as soon as a chamber frees up I'll be brewing another batch.

There are still epiphanies to experience...

Cheers!
 

mattdee1

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Wow, all great responses! I'm seeing a bit of a trend, that I notice in myself sometimes as well; some of the original excitement is gone, to be replaced by pretty much a push-button day, or a chore that 'has' to be done; unless something unforeseen happens (loose hose clamp, anyone?). I've noticed in myself, the last few months, not wanting to brew; either because life in the way, seemingly enough in the pipeline (always goes to zero super fast when I do that), or just can't think of what I want to brew that I haven't done dozens of times before; or just not feeling it. Then I finally have a brewday, and that excitement sorta comes back. Especially watching for those first krausen clumps to start, and the anticipation of coming home after a long day at work to see my creation bubbling crazily away.

I do have a couple of friends that brew, or used to; one of my co-workers brewed until a few months ago, when he got a DUI and stopped drinking altogether. I admire his fortitude, but miss the early morning gabfests about what we were going to brew next. And another friend, who runs a brewpub close by, that really helped me learn this crazy hobby, but he's busy running his business and just doesn't have much time anymore. I also belong to a sort-of informal brew club, we get together twice a year at one of their homes to all come together and brew; with the covid madness we had to forego our spring gathering and can't brew again until December. Next April I will be hosting our gathering at my house for the first time; six months out and I'm nervous as heck to have 6+ homebrewers in my garage. I'm the only one of us that brews all-grain (they all do partial mash), and am still trying to get some of them to try it.

If I had to give advice to anyone just not feeling that brew vibe anymore (but still enjoy cheaper-than-storebought-beer), I would say, think about what made this hobby so special when you started out. Whether it's creating your own recipe, or just the satisfaction of drinking something delicious that you made yourself (extract, partial mash, all grain, electric, three-vessel, BIAB, what have you). Even our mistakes can teach us a lot. I know mine have!
I definitely get that “I just don’t feel like brewing” feeling fairly often but like you said, as soon as I get going I remember why I love it. Sometimes it’s just getting the ball rolling that is the challenge.

I won’t lie though, I wouldn’t complain if all grain brew days took 2-3 hours instead of 5-6 but it takes what it takes.

I don’t know if this makes me weird but I kind of look forward to kegging day. I guess it’s because I’ve worked out my process well enough that it’s very smooth and stress free and I can just sip a beer and listen to podcasts or tunes by myself in the basement. It isn’t weather dependent, I can easily start at 10pm on a work night if I need to and get it done, I have a dedicated area of my basement where I do it so I don’t need to put absolutely everything away when I’m done, etc.
 

Nate

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We jumped in head first making 10 gallon batches with zero experience. Definitely don't miss tossing a 10 gallon batch after mashing too high and ending up with beer that was way too sweet to drink (and I like a lot of sweet beers).
 

shoengine

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I don't miss cleaning carboys, although it was like having a little water feature after my wife got me Mark's keg washer!

What I like is the continuous improvement aspect. Every batch I make has something new or different that can be done to it, even recipes I've made half a dozen times. A lot of the fun for me is the experimentation and the experience of doing something new.
 
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In a former life, I was a chef, and so I love to cook, clean, create recipes, make stuff, give it away, and then do the next one. I get epiphanies regularly (I post a lot on https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/dont-do-that), and wish I could brew more than 1-4 times/month. I just can't drink it/give it away fast enough to make room for more fermentations.

What I miss most is being able to taste, talk, and collaborate with people in the local brew club (my work schedule before COVID kept me to 1-2 meetings per year), as well as friends/coworkers that also like making stuff.

What I don't miss at all is brewing in the kitchen or on the patio outside the kitchen, running hoses in and out of windows for water, stirring a batch in an ice bath at midnight and carrying 5 gallons of liquid in glass carboys up and down stairs.
 

MrPowers

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I miss how everything I made used to taste awesome! The longer you brew the pickier about the outcome you become. I've dumped more beer in the last year because it wasn't as good as it should have been than I did in my first four years of brewing.
 

Kent88

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I miss not finding bottling day quite so tedious. I got kegging equipment about a year ago, but I still worry I'm going to mess something up in the last step.
 

EthanH

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I really can't think of anything I miss about my early brewing days. It was harder, took more time, and the beer wasn't as good. And 9 years into it, I'm still learning stuff (though the lessons are less essential), so I wouldn't say it's become boring or predictable.

Although...I don't get quite the same thrill from a bubbling airlock or watching the yeast go to work moving the wort around in the fermenter.
 
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