We all brew beer but it’s done in different ways. I hear a ton of different approaches. Usually people will fall into one of the following personalities when brewing.
My Garage Is A Tool Shop Brewer
These homebrewers will make everything themselves. Name a tool that you need, they have two of them. Most likely these guys/gals can see a RIMS system and know how to build it. Generally this personality will build brewing equipment because of a reason similar to one of these: 1) I can build it better 2) I can make it cheaper.
Half of the fun of brewing for this personality is making cool toys. Maybe it doesn’t look perfect, maybe it only works 50% of the time – but it’s the ongoing project that keeps them in the hobby. Building is the hobby, brewing is just the excuse for building random things.
Science Is My Middle Name
These homebrewers see the science that goes into the brewing process. They will have piles of notes, measurements and records that will make your head spin. Need to know how to have your brew turn out the same every time? Ya, these guys can guide you through that process.
Honestly, I get stumped by these brewers. They’ll ask questions such as, “What is the water moister in the GW 2-Row vs the Briess 2-row pale”. Usually I give a blank look which means, “You’re on a different level then I sir”. Personally, I’m pretty informed about different things in the brewing world, but this personality can really push the knowledge to the test. What I once considered odd cocktail conversation material, is now the center of discussion.
Normally these brewers have a background in one of the hard sciences (engineering, chemistry, physics, bio, etc) and knowing the gritty details is necessary to make the perfect brew every time without fail.
They can tell you how to make the best yeast starters, strip down and rebuild your water to exactly that region which you are brewing, tell you step by step what is happening not in general terms but on the micro level. Want to taste some consistent brews, befriend one of these brewers.
One thing is on the mind when they brew, food. Making recipes that pair with food is second nature to these guys and gals. A common trait of these brewers is that they know what every ingredient will bring to the beer and how that will accent other ingredients. Brewing is an art, not a science to these brewers.
Some common terms that these brewers will use are: Nutty, bready, woody, citrus. You won’t find them talking in different terms that are not related to food you eat. Actaldehyde is referred to as green apples flavor and things on those lines.
Laid back, and don’t care about complicated or extra step brews. You find these brewers not even taking OG’s or FG’s, they’re going to drink it anyways. Odd rules of thumb are developed by this type of brewer: 3 beers and getting buzzed it’s 7%ish, 5 beers and you start to feel it, 4.5%ish. They might consider every brew the best brew to date, until they brew the next one.
Brewing is an excuse to hang with friends or just to make really good beer for a decent price. If you end up brewing with a Chillaxing brewer make sure to eat something before hand, most likely you’re going to be drinking for the whole time and it’s going to be the beer they made from the last brew session.
They cannot understand why you would want to read blogs or go on forums – less reading more brewing. Every beer that they make is described as, “Amazing” or, “Succulent”. The idea of sending off a beer to a competition is foreign to them. Want really good compliments on brews, these guys will build you up like crazy.
Unfortunately even in the beer world you still have assholes. Thought you could get into a hobby where people are 100% chill, wrong. I meet them, I know. They are a very small percentage, but still a percentage that needs to be addressed.
They lurk in the shadows of homebrew shops silently judging your combination of ingredients and laughing on the inside at your, “incompetence” compared to their knowledge.
These brewers are the know all homebrewers. Your brew is never good enough, techniques that you try are child’s play compared to the ones they know. If you would tell them they are acting as if they are trying to keep up with the “Jones’s”, they would reply, “I AM MR. JONES!”.
You could pour the same brew into 5 different glasses tell them to judge each glass and they will pretend that they can taste differences in each glass. They will judge each one differently giving an entirely different score (This one is a 10, this one is a 3). Little do they know it’s the same damn beer in different glasses.
Alpha Acid? I need it to the hundredth, not the tenth! Substitutes? THERE ARE NONE!!! In some regards I am envious, they have found a way to turn a hobby as cool as brewing into an inner prison of self-hatred – simply amazing and my hat goes off to you.
If you want negative feed back on your beer, probably turn to these guys not the chillax brewers. These brewers will tear your beer a new one, maybe twice, and three times on Sunday’s. It’s not a matter if they are right or wrong, it’s what degree of awesomeness they really are that day.
*** The New Guy***
I know this is personality 6 and title says 5 but, a well deserved personality should be included and we were made aware by a comment listed below – the new guy. As of now we’ll keep this as it’s own thing because this is what I would call a phase, one which most homebrewers go through but eventually grow out of. After you get out of this phase, you will find yourself in one of the personalities listed above. This phase goes as follows.
Self doubt follows you from the time you enter the homebrew shop and make your first statement, “So I’ve been doing some research and I’m pretty interested in homebrewing…”. Hopefully the person that is helping you out fills you in and builds up your confidence levels to the point where you can believe you can do it, regardless if your confidence is up or not it soon disapears and a void is filled with self doubt.
You get home start to brew and read over the directions multiple times. OCD qualities start to come out that you never new you had, “Is it clean enough?”, “Does this look right?”. Even the most manly of men soon feel like a mother taking care of a new born child locking there eyes onto that airlock wandering, “Is it bubbling enough?”.
At some point in time you can’t take any more and, e-mails, phone calls start heading out to friends, family, home brew shops or complete strangers just wanting reinsurance that you are doing the right thing.
The questions and doubt don’t usually fade until you have your beer and find that you made something that at the least is drinkable. The hobby continues and your obsession grows, then that’s when you start to develop the habits of the personalities above.
In my personal opinion, most homebrewers will enter and leave this phase pretty quickly. Regardless, it is a phase that I would say 75%-90% of homebrewers will enter for at least 1 batch. Even experienced homebrewers will get back into this phase once they make a switch to all-grain. Once you get the success you’re looking for usually you can set aside the fear for some time.
Most people take bits and pieces out of the different ones above. So which ones best describes you?
This blog was inspired by a great post from this blog.