Fermentation Friday May 2009 Joys and Stress

Thanks Ted for hosting Fermentation Friday this month.

My stresses usually revolve around not being prepared. Right now yeast is the biggest stress for me. I want to pitch the right amount of some good viable yeast, but, I don't like to make starters. To combat this I try to pitch yeast from another yeast cake or lately I've relied on dry yeast for the first batch in a string of re-pitches.

Another way I address the preparedness problem is by purchasing in bulk. If I have supplies on hand, I will brew more often and be more successful. Sanitizers, hops, specialty malts, malt extract can all be purchased and stored for relatively long periods of time.

Of course there are those days when I get started brewing and I realize there's another problem. I'm just not quite "with it" that day. Those are the days when my boils run long, ingredients are forgotten or I try to do too much, like keg and brew a batch at the same time. This is usually compounded by having non brewer friends over distracting me with questions and conversation.

Onto the joys of brew day. Who doesn't enjoy the malt aromas, the feel of the grain running through your fingers and the pungent hops fragrances filling the room? These tangible sensory inputs contribute to something bigger. While I can say that I always enjoy brewing it isn't always for the same reasons. Brew sessions tend to fall into two categories, a means to an end and the journey is everything.

Brewing as a means to an end tends to be all about executing efficiently and effectively. Ingredients, check; Equipment, check; water heating, check...carboy sanitzed, check; wort chilled, check; transfer wort, check; aerate, check; pitch yeast, check. Store everything again and forget about it until the first taste. Most of the joy comes from knowing there's a new homebrew in the making down in the basement. Something to look forward to in the days to come.

Of course the journey can bring as much joy as the desitnation. We're talking about me time. Music playing via Pandora on the netbook and Beersmith fired up to improvise the recipe. Last minute adjustments made in a creative environment. Call around to see who wants to come over and help. Lots of talk over a beer or two. At the end of the boil and the chilling there's that moment of accomplishment, that time when you know you've done your job and what remains will be done by the yeast.

I've held off reading everybody else's post until now. It should be interesting to see what you all wrote about.

NOTE: Edited and cleaned up on 6/2/2009

1 comment:

seeandyspin said...

I agree; yeast remains the more daunting and mystical things for me. I went ahead and prepared about 6 bottles worth of starter via Papazian's instructions...hope that turns out to be worth it, but the pitching, washing, saving, etc can easily become overwhelming or confusing.