What I've Learned On HomeBrewTalk

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Well, first of all, there are times when we can, at best, agree to disagree. That is to say, discussions in a thread can suddenly go off course after replying to a noob's question. The reply is usually a "whatever works for me," type of answer to their common problem that they weren't aware was not out of the ordinary. As for the sometimes heated discussions, we have to try and remember that not everyone arrives at the same destination by the same path. It's the differences in all of us that makes this site what it is. But through it all, I've learned to work through it and just have fun with it!

Homebrewers Sharing In A Global Community Spirit
The Family Spirit
OOOOK...having gotten that off my chest, finally...I've learned a few things from the old timers on HBT over the course of time. For example, to let the beer ferment away until it starts clearing up in primary. Hey, I was a beer brewing noob once. My family brewed more wine and distilled spirits over the last few hundred years than beer, for whatever their reasons may've been. Pop was the first to try brewing beer...I just refined it to an art by comparison. But seriously folks, I've found a second family on here, even though there are some discrepancies over my words sometimes. At least, that's the way it seems. I don't quote from books to get a point across. But rather, from my own experiences. The books or articles by others may refer to and contain explanations I didn't know as a non-scientist-type, or hadn't really thought of in such a way. Just reading others experiences can teach you a lot, if you keep an open mind.
Learning More Than Brewing
But the number one thing I think I've learned on here...which goes along with my laid-back self anyway...is PATIENCE. A home brewer MUST have patience. The old timers of HBT stepped right up to teach me that. Without hesitation, but with tact and goodwill. That's the mark of good people, certainly, and it definitely seems to be appreciated by many on here. So those of us that came along afterward tried to emulate that same je ne sais' quoi... that "certain something". That, to me, is what makes HBT such a good site! So in light of us all extending this friendly atmosphere, that same good will lives on. And sharing recipes we slaved over for months or even years to get just right in our minds and tastebuds. Just to share something really good...not so much for personal glory so much as sharing.
Understanding What Works....For You
C'mon, we all feel this at one time or another on this forum, don't deny it. It makes us feel ecstatic in the sharing, as surely as we breath. The science of home brewing is an interesting topic I've learned more about being here. But no, science isn't always correct. Science is one thing in this world that often times winds up correcting itself. Refining itself as new information comes along. As if to explain the Creator's works. So keep this in mind before criticising. What works for me may not work for you, but that doesn't make it wrong. The conditions I brew in may differ in certain areas than yours. Such things can make certain aspects of my brewing a little strange compared to yours.
Then of course, we come to the brain fade. Even though I deal with technical stuff everyday on here, or with the house or car, father time will not be denied. The aging brain still forgets things or mis-remembers. Hey, shizz happens sometimes, so point it out, but don't be politely venomous about it. Laughing it off is fine, making it part of life that we all do on occasion.
Brewing Ingenuity
I've also learned about different brewing styles and beers on here in the years I've been on HBT, like kottbusser. I hadn't read about that anywhere else, since I wasn't aware of it till reading the thread discussing it. Now I have another unique beer to add to my list. I got on this old beer styles kick, thanks to revvy and his PM that got me going on Burton ales. So this is another thing that happens when you join this site. There's so much to absorb from beer to wine to food...even labels. Then the thread I started when I got to wondering about how we all set up to brew. Ghetto Brew Rigs was born, fitting the American way of solving problems as perfectly as the concept of the hot dog and hamburger. The same as waffles being rolled into cones when the vendor ran out of containers for his ice cream. It's great to see new ideas pop up here for discussion, help and evaluation. Anyone coming to this site will definitely not be sorry about their decision! And having a few laughs along the way seems more like any family does on occasion.
Brewing Beer And Beyond
I've also gotten inspiration beyond the brewing of beer from fellow members. A science fiction author here on HBT inspired me to finally start writing the sci-fi book I wanted to since I was 8 years old. That was 51 years ago during the Gemini program. I'm now about halfway through book two of that series, re-writing my second home brewing book and even one about a real American tall-tale...John Henry. It's been interesting and gratifying creating stories and characters from that one inspiration from a fellow home brewer. I guess we're a pretty good lot by nature?
Even getting help with other things like the computer when it too has a brain fade, cameras for shooting pics or videos. Ideas about foodie stuff I haven't tried yet or thought about in ages. So much is shared on here, that you never really know what the tide will bring!
As a side business, I'm a personal trainer. One issue I've always had with that industry is that the majority of trainers follow a certain philosophy and have no interest in looking at other ways. It turns the industry into more of a religion than a science.
The one thing I absolutely love about homebrewing is that I think everyone has a different way of brewing. I'd bet not one person does it the exact same way that someone else does it. And, on top of that, no one seems to ever want or desire to "change" someone to the way they are doing it, or arguing that their way is better. I really enjoy reading the processes on this site of how other homebrewers brew. I may look at the way someone brews and see a small thing they do and it clicks in my head: "Hey! I can add that piece to the way my process works!" without entirely changing my process.
This is a great community. No egos, just discussion, learning and teaching and having a ton of fun brewing some great beer.
I aerate my wort with a complex system of krazy straws hooked up to a bike tire pump.
I see people doing things sub-optimally (a way that has a higher chance of infection or bad results) and I''ll point it out. I am trying to bring this to their attention and change their methods.
I see people saying "XXX works for me".
The problem is the chance of infection or some other off flavor is higher with their method.
Not all home brewers are introspective and willing to reassess their procedures.
Not all advice turns out to be true, like "clear wort = clear beer". Try convincing a large number of brewers that thats not necessarily true.
@TheCADJockey I won a pack of krazy straws from a white elephant and haven't known what to do with them. This is brilliant!
Also good article! I have learned so much on this forum that have truly made my beer better and the process more enjoyable!
I must also extend props to the mods that helped pare down this article to what you see before you. I was drinking some homebrews & vodka ( that I've since given up) when I saw the thread by Austin. Being the first to chime in, I started writing. Funny how the written word skews a bit too far for me sometimes. A couple homebrews usually helps clear my mind. This time, however, the vodka gained a voice of it's own. A lot of discussion followed, & we finally pared it down to this. So thanks for the help in restructuring an article that's the first of it's kind. It started life a little rough around the edges, which is tough to save when it skews too far to the right. But I think it captures the spirit of the original intention. So let's hear some more stories from the hinterlands!
So would the technique of adding these during the end of the boil instead of during the mashing process yield a higher OG?
I have learned so much from this site. In fact, I was browsing this sight for months before I even had any equipment to brew with! I'm a firm believer in researching something before I spend my money on it. I never knew how easy it was to make beer before checking this site out. This site, and John Palmers How to Brew, were my introduction to the brewing world. But the only thing I didn't like, and the reason I didn't ask more questions, was the way some people look down on noobs. Like they knew everything the first time they brewed a batch. Just remember that everyone starts out as a new brewer.