This will be a little outside the realm of my usual posts.

Tomorrow I’m hosting a little gathering of homebrewers and beer lovers to make beer in my backyard. It’s a club event for the burgeoning Chapel Hill/Carrboro Home Brewing Club. We’re making a Dry Irish Stout that we’re going to serve, as a club, at the upcoming Carrboro Homebrew Fest.

It’ll be a good time, and I’m really looking forward to it, even if it’s going to be something like 30 degrees outside. It’s always nice to freeze your ass off spend time with a bunch of people who enjoy beer, and I’m under the impression that a lot of these guys haven’t done – or maybe even seen – an all-grain brew, so it’ll be fun to teach them how to expand their hobby. But! Some of them have, and most of the others are – like any homebrew geek (like myself) – well-read enough to know their way around the concept pretty well.
Mmm.. mashing in.
In this comes my terror. Here’s what this post is. It’s a confessional:

I’ve never watched somebody else homebrew.

Ever.

I have my system, and I’ve read every damn book under the sun. I know the brewing process inside and out, and I feel pretty confident that if you dropped me on a commercial system without a deadline I could eventually make you a batch of beer in one incredibly long brew day (no promises on cleanup), but I have no idea what my process looks like in comparison to other people.

I’ve got a pretty standard ghetto-brew system. 7-gal stainless steel pot, mangled orange cooler with a false bottom, copper coil wort chiller. No pumps. I still siphon by mouth, because I’m too lazy to do anything else. I mill my own grain. I’ve got a rusty el crappo outdoor burner, that leaves my kettle covered in awful black carbon that it takes me forever to scrub off and I think I make some pretty great damn beer.

But I’m going to be taking people through my process – like my weirdo continuous sparge that I actually do slowly with a ladle instead of any sort of automated fly sparge system or even batch sparging – and part of me is almost kind of embarrassed. Like.. I should be so much less ghetto than this. I should have some 3-tier brewing sculpture made of shiny stainless steel. I should have this incredible system, but y’know what? The ghetto-brew setup works so well.

I can just envision me being halfway through the brewday before someone says, “Wait a sec! Don’t you do some-incredibly-important-step?” and I look blankly at them and say, “I’ve never heard of that.” Probably not. But it could happen! It’s like stage fright. I haven’t felt like this for years. I’ll probably get nervous pees and everything. Ugh.

So, I’m excited to hang out and drink beer with beer lovers all day. I’m excited to show people a little bit more about brewing if they don’t know about it, and excited to maybe help people take the step to all-grain. Having all of those people watch me all day while I do this scares the ever-livin’ crap out of me. And even better, I’m pretty sure some of them will read this blog post before showing up. Hi guys. Now you know my terrible secret: like everything else I’ve ever done in my life, I’m guessing my way through it. Enjoy!

Here’s the one guarantee on the day: I open my first beer at 10 AM. It’ll be a great day.

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Categories: homebrew, meta
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 08 Jan 2010 @ 09 33 AM

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