21 Ways To Keep Passion In The Hobby Of Homebrewing
Homebrewing is an amazing hobby, but just like most things in life, people end up getting into something that they really enjoy and the joy can diminish over time. With homebrewing I’ve found it happens kinda like writers block but, “brewing block”. It happens to the best of us in the hobby and you go into this, hiatus of brewing. When you do come out of it, and homebrewers always do, you look around and you have no beer. In that moment you say one thing to yourself, “wow, this sucks.”
I wanted to break down 21 ways to help keep your passion for homebrewing alive so you will avoid this whole fiasco all together or jump out of it real quick. So enjoy the 21 ways to keep the passion of home brewing alive.
1) Keg, don’t bottle
When you move into kegging, making beer is not such a big task any more. You are filling up one big bottle not 48 little bottles. I’m still waiting for the day to hear someone say, “Wow, I really miss bottling.”. If you move to kegs, you won’t regret it.
2) Use bigger bottles if you have to bottle
If you can’t keg for what ever reason, consider using 22 oz bottle or 1 liter bottles. The bigger the bottle the less bottles you have to clean. Cut your work in half when it comes to bottling.
3) Try some new recipes
You may just be sick of doing the same recipes over and over again. Try making some new recipes. This couples with the next suggestion, you may want to start drinking some craft brews.
4) Find inspiration from craft beer
In the past if I don’t want to make the same recipes over and over again, I’ll go and get a, “build your own” six-pack of beer. Drink for inspiration…
5) Get more complicated
If you want to improve your abilities as a brewer, start adding things you wouldn’t have ever thought of adding. Make some complicated beers with adding fruit or oak chips, or spices to it. Or try different brewing techniques, that’s the beauty of this hobby – you can always learn something new and always get better if you want.
6) Get simple
Maybe you have been making some beers that had a lot of steps. Back to the basics, try just a simple brown ale, or a pale ale. Make something that will be ready fast and is easy to drink. In the past when I’ve had multiple massive failures in a row, I would get frustrated. Once I would start feeling that frustration, I knew it was time to go back to one of my, “Tried and true beers” (I have about 6 beers that turn out amazing ever time, they are my secret weapon for crowd pleaser’s).
5) Find shortcuts and multi task when you can
The one thing about brewing that it’s hard to work around is that it takes time. As a brewer, if you can find shortcuts you can cut down the time needed.
6) Go bigger
Why make 5 gallons of beer when you can make 10 gallons? Why make 10 gallons when you can make 20 gallons? Brewing 2 or 3 times as much beer at once means you won’t have to brew to the frequency that you use too. You won’t have as many weekends taken up by brewing!
7) Multiple beers in a day
If you do extract with specialty grains, do 2 batches in a day not just 1. If you do all-grain, make a beer and than take additional runnings and make a, “light” version of the beer. With porters you can make a, “mild” out of it. While yes you need another burner for all-grain you will get 10 gallons beer out of a 5 gallon batch, it will be worth it.
8) Stop trying to keep up with everyone else…
Do your own thing, don’t listen to what other people are doing. It can become discouraging to hear that people just dropped $5k on a brewing set up and you’re just using an old turkey burner and a pot you got from a garage sale. Personally, I take pride in using second-hand /built equipment – I make great beers out of it. I go with the idea of, did Jimmy Hendrix make a fender sound good, or was it the fender that made Jimmy Hendrix sound good? Same goes for brewing, don’t think you need the most expensive stuff to make some great beers. The brewer makes the great beer, not the equipment.
9) Turn it into an event
Invite some friends over, grill out, maybe see if they can give a helping hand. Football season is right around the corner, there is your excuse to brew! Make those football Sunday’s something special!
10) Start finding the history out of beer
Every beer has its own story, you can brew to a style that people were drinking back in 1700′s. Start to learn about the beer itself, more than just the style requirements. You can brew a bit of history.
11) Go to your homebrew shop, it’s different from online.
I know for some it’s not a reasonable option, but there is a culture with homebrewing and it is more than through a computer screen. It’s about the smell of the hops, the smell of the malts, the conversation. You have a hobby that shares a common personality, and pretty cool one at that. I feel bad for ya if you don’t have a homebrew shop around but maybe there are meet ups in your area. Experience the culture of homebrewing.
12) Seasonal Brews
Try brewing to the appropriate season. It’s hard to burn out a certain beers when you are brewing to a certain season, you’re only making them once a year.
13) Be organized
A brewing calendar will help you know what you want to brew that year. This one really does pair up with suggestion #12.
14) Start splitting batches
Maybe you just don’t drink enough beer, so 2 cases of the same type of beer gets old. Think about making a batch and putting it into 2 different 3 gallon carboys. One gets one yeast, the other gets another type of yeast. Or maybe one gets dry hopped the other stays the same. Whatever you do, make a small tweak to one so you get two different beers out of one batch. You’ll learn more about that beer as well as get a variety.
15) You don’t need a starter for every beer
This is a recent thing, but a lot of people feel the need to make a starter for every beer they make – not really sure why. Unless your beer is a high OG beer (1.070 +) you don’t NEED a starter. This just takes more time, turns it into a bigger process. Also you can just double pitch if it’s that big of a deal. I guess what I’m trying to say is that don’t skip out on your brew because you couldn’t make a starter, there are always other ways around it.
16) Teach someone how to brew
It’s a great way to stay on top of your game, see if anyone is interested in homebrewing and if they want to brew with you. It may be time for the student to turn into the teacher, just stay one lesson ahead and you’ll look like a pro.
17) Make a big switch
If you do light beers, turn towards big OG beers and just sit on them. Start doing a barley wine every now and then, or maybe even some sours. If you currently only do big beers, maybe switch to some lighter ones.
18) Start building your own equipment
I’ve always taken more pride in something when I end up building it myself. Save some money and try to build some of your own stuff. It will have your own, “micro, nano, brewery” touch. If you save a bit of money on the equipment, then great – but for me it’s all about taking pride in my beer and the set up.
19) Stay away from forums, start picking voices to listen too
Way too many voices and too many people giving really bad information, that has been my experience on forums. It’s a lot of static you have to sort out to find some helpful information. The problem is, if you need a forum to answer your question, you may not have the experience yet to know what is good or bad information. A way I would suggest to use them is, visit them to see what’s new with the hobby and that’s it. As far as finding good information or instructions, pick a few voices and stick with them. You’ll get more of a direction and won’t hear to many contradicting opinions.
If you are looking for some suggestions of “voices” to listen to, here are a few that I have turned to in the past. All are very good in my opinion:
Brew Dudes – They have recipes, break down different malts, and hop profiles. Very educational.
Mad Fermentationist - Does a lot of sours, if your interested in that type of stuff it’s about the best you can go to.
Billy Brew – It’s about homebrewing and craft beer. Doesn’t go crazy into details, pretty interesting blog.
Beer Smith – A lot of podcast, about brewing techniques.
Proper Hops – Craft beer reviews, great for inspiration on what to brew next. They are all short videos.
Zythophile - The history of different beers. It’s great for those that want to learn about the style itself.
20) Start making your own recipes
Maybe it’s time that you need to move away from kits, start making your own recipes. We have a guide on how to do it. Making your own recipes is not hard, and once you do it, it opens up a whole new world into brewing.
21) Realize this too shall pass
It’s normal to get burned out of something, even something as cool as homebrewing. It’s best to not get discouraged. Go out get some craft beers and start trying some new styles. Eventually you’ll get inspired again. There will be a moment where you will say, “I know I can make this”, or, “This style is cool”. Maybe take a quick step back and realize that it will pass. Just know you have a talent, you can turn 4 ingredients (malt, hops, water, and yeast) into something really tasty. A talent and skill that should not be wasted.
Let us know if you have any other suggestions on how not to burn out of brewing!