Thursday, February 21, 2008

Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew

I used to homebrew extensively when I lived on my own.

But for years I didn't have enough room, time, or resources to brew. I've made room in my life for it again. Here is part of my intro post to a homebrewing forum:

I started brewing in the 80s when I was stationed in the former West Germany. Mailordered all my gear from the US, thanks to the small number of sellers that would deliver to APO.

Worked from extract for the few years. By the time I rotated back to the US and exited the army I had found an ancient grain mill at a flea market for $10 so started AG brewing, including with wheat. Weizen was my favorite style, but wasn't very common in the US if I remember correctly. Luckily I shipped back 4 or 5 racks of those lovely .5L bottles... Used to buy malt in 50# boxes from Stew's Brews somewhere in the midwest. He still around? Very pleasant fellow.

My recipe spreadsheets were in VisiCalc on an Apple ][e, if that helps set the mood... labels printed on a 9pin dot matrix. But I was getting to do some fun stuff; priming with kraeusen, breaking up and farming liquid yeast since it was relatively expensive at the time. I had read a letter about hop growing in Zymurgy by a fellow in Oregon (I think). Wrote him to ask a question about technique and he fedexed me a chunk of rhizome! It didn't like East Texas that much, but it did grow up the string trellis I made for it. I don't think it yielded any flowers by the time I left.

Life intervened; I moved, and lived in tiny apartments with no real room to brew in. I threatened that when I finally got my own house I would start to brew again. My well-thumbed Papazian JOHB sat on the bookshelf taunting me.

Flash forward: the Dear Wife and I bought a house in November; lots of room, a garage and a workshop. Woo-hoo! I started dragging out my old gear. Some was ok, some was broken, some lost, some given away. I mailordered replacements and an outdoor 7.5gal turkey frier propane rig to handle the boil. I only have electric stovetop (although the house is plumbed for gas) and it used to take FOREVER to get a boil going. I trust the frier will alleviate that somewhat. :-) Brown trucks are rolling across America to my humble abode. Come to papa....

And as some kind of sign from the heavens, I have since learned there is a homebrew shop that is about 2 miles from the house. Gonna stop by and pick up some extracts, hops, and some modern sterilants for my first batch; I see that bleach isn't as popular now as it once was. I did love AG, but it's been 15 yrs and I think I need to ease back into it with extracts until I get some of the old muscle memory back. I'll also wait for the credit card to cool off a bit before buying another mill.

First brew scheduled for Mar 2. I'll let you know how it goes.

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