Be True to Your Brew

April 5, 2018

2018, General posting

If you’ve ever visited an online brewing forum or Facebook group, you’ve certainly witnessed people who seem to hold beer styles as if they are ancient laws not to be broken. You’ve also seen people who can look at the most outrageous ingredients and find a way to put it in their beer. Like all hobbies, there are a lot of people who partake in homebrewing, and with that come many different styles, attitudes and methods. It’s disheartening to see someone put another person’s passion down, simply because their styles differ.

If you are entering a competition where style is specifically defined and your goal is to win, it may help to stick as close to the style guidelines as possible; however, you should never let a stranger stifle your creativity. Some of my favorite recipes include ingredients that would cause the creators of Reinheitsgebot (German beer purity law) to turn in their graves.

Don’t let someone else determine your success and failure in brewing. To me, brewing is a passion and an extension of myself. The way I build recipes or choose what to brew on a given day all ranges based on my current mood and my often abrasive, opinionated and loud overwhelmingly charming and likeable personality.

Here are the 5 tips I think are worth passing along; some extend beyond homebrewing:

  1. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should do.
    You want to put cherries in your saison, do it. You think your porter will taste better with flaked coconut and vanilla? What’s stopping you? Remember, this is your beer, not someone 700 miles away sitting behind a keyboard. As long as you are satisfied knowing that you held true to you, that is really all that should matter.
  2. No, you shouldn’t dump your beer because it didn’t turn out how you wanted.
    You’d be amazed how many times I’ve fielded a question from someone that to me seems like a no brainer, “My pale ale came out darker than I expected, should I dump it?” or “I missed my numbers on my imperial stout. It’s only 6%. Should I give up?” NO! NO! NO! Drink that pale ale and enjoy that Imp Stout (imp.. small.. get it? hah..). Unless this is your job, don’t take it too seriously. Just enjoy the hobby for what it is. You’ve made beer, now revel in your accomplishments and relax. Unless you are a professional brewer and are selling this beer, and we’re talking about minor issues, you should drink it. I’d almost never suggest you waste beer, unless the question is more like, “My beer tastes like rotting meat. What should I do?”
  3. Relax. Don’t Worry. Have a Homebrew.
    Charlie Papazian’s words can’t be any truer. There are a lot of variables when it comes to brewing: temperatures, weight measurements, volumes, fermentation, yeast cell count, etc. At times it can be overwhelming. Don’t let a missed mash temp ruin your day. It may not be exactly the beer you set out to make, but it’ll be close and it could still be a delicous beer!
  4. Find someone to share the hobby with
    There are over 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States and you probably know one of them. Before I began homebrewing, I only thought I knew one person who enjoyed the hobby. After I started and began talking to other friends about it, I realized I knew so many more. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, to share it, and to network with it. Beer is social and brewing can be too.
  5. Have fun.
    This is the most important tip. No matter what path you choose, whether to keep to style or to throw the kitchen sink in the kettle, have fun. There is nothing more important with any hobby than to make sure you are enjoying it. If you are happy with your path and brewing what you want, how you want, homebrewing can be a lifelong hobby that brings you and the people around you a lot of joy.


Have some tips of your own that you think all homebrewers could benefit from? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

stephenStephen Boyajian has been an avid homebrewer for 4 years. A fan of many styles, with a particular love for IPA’s and Stouts. He lives in Gainesville, VA with his wife, 3 kids and dog. When not brewing, he enjoys playing golf or guitar.

2 Comments on “Be True to Your Brew”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Some of the Best tips for novice and veteran brewers I’ve seen since I started brewing last year.


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