The other day an acquaintance of mine told me he really wanted to talk to me about home brewing, and wanted to know everything there is on how to get started. When people say this I usually don’t take them very seriously and just tell them the basics. But he wanted more… we talked for almost an hour and he said he has $1000 aside to start up all grain brewing.
I was pretty excited to get someone else into this hobby that I have come to love, but I am a little jealous of him that he has someone to teach him all these things and tell him exactly what equipment to buy and how to make a great first beer. I spent hundreds of hours reading books, forums, listening to beer podcasts, reading brewing magazines, etc etc.
I am also jealous that he has $1000 to get started. Most home brewers like myself spend hours of their own time hacking together cheap alternatives to save a few bucks.
I’m not saying all this to sound all “ooh, look at me, I worked soo much harder and am therefore way cooler”. I’m just saying, most people aren’t obsessive nerds on steroids like me. I can definitely see why a lot of people would try home brewing with a kit or something, have a shitty beer as the result, and then just discount home brewing from there. There really is a lot to know and a lot of work has to go into it before you can make something half decent. Home brewing has a bad reputation because people think it’s easy and therefore make crappy beer. Even when you work your ass off and study up on it you can still make crappy beer. It’s frustrating and it’s not for everyone. But what will certainly make it easier is to have someone show you the steps and the most important things to know right out the gate.
One thing I have learned when cruising around on all the home brewing forums is that a lot of people are dicks about it. They tell people “dude, you brew with a kit? that’s so gay lolol”, or “your yeast was underpitched so your beer is going to have diacetyl compounds haha NOOB”. Whatever dude. I hate that people are trying to make it out like brewing is this super technical hobby that only a handful of science geeks can do. Anyone can do it. Like anyone can play guitar or anyone can learn to snowboard. You just have to actually try. What you can’t do is walk by a beer kit in a store, buy it on a whim, and expect to make good beer.
I guess this is just turning more into a rant about dicks on the internet. If someone asks you questions about your hobby, whether it be brewing, playing chess or styling hair… don’t be a dick about it. Encourage them to get into it if they seem interested, and even offer to help. Are you worried they are going to get better than you or they will make your hobby less elite? If they surpass you, they will just bring you along for the ride and you will get better too. If you are into it because it’s elite than you are in it for the wrong reasons anyway. Go back to listening to Bjork or something.
Regardless of my envy, I am pretty excited to share my knowledge with someone and be able to just truly nerd out. He wants me to help him brew his first batch with him, and give him a list of what to buy ahead of time so he is prepared. My goal is to keep things as simple as possible, while still stressing the importance of yeast preparation and fermentation control. The rest is easy stuff.