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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Anatomy of a homebrewer, pt 1 - resolve & resourcefulness

The first in a spontaneous series exploring the character & make-up of the successful homebrewer/winemaker.

By Chris Siciliano

We all know the feeling of a perfect homebrew or winemaking session. The stars align, the heavens smile, and from sanitation phase to clean up every step in the process comes off without a hitch. You hit your mash temp. Your volume is perfect. Your starting gravity is dead-on. You won't admit it, but these are times you consider quitting your job and/or dropping out of school, certain that a career in the fermented arts is not just a good idea, but the most prudent, wisest decision you could make. A flawless brew day is proof positive you were born for this endeavor. You have a real gift for it, a knack.

But more common than perfection are the days you're challenged by some obstacle you did not see coming. An empty propane tank, a missing wort chiller (you forgot you loaned it to a friend), an empty bottle of sanitizer--just about anything can and will put the brakes on an otherwise perfect brew day. The successful homebrewer, however, will think through and overcome even the stiffest challenge. That's part of the fun of it. That's what keeps it interesting.

We enjoy homebrewing, in part, because it demands creativity and innovation, not just in terms of recipes, but with regard to the process itself. When a problem arises it gives us the opportunity to pit our skills, our resolve and resourcefulness, against whatever obstacle dares rear its ugly head. The way a book or movie needs a villain, a few good challenges on brew day make a successful outcome all the more satisfying for the brewer.

When Steve & Barb had too few grapes and too large a press,
they got right on top of the problem

1 comment:

  1. Nice article. I'm Dave, a homebrewer from Saugatuck and a proud customer of Siciliano's. Currently I'm in Madrid Spain starting a brewpub here.
    I just wanted to share an example of our resourcefulness as a Michigan homebrewers:
    Say hi to Doug and the rest of the crew for me.
    I'll keep you guys posted on our progress.
    Right now in construction and bureaucracy phase.
    Happy brewing!