In The Session 92, Jeremy from Pintwell asks us to write about how homebrew changed your view on beer. At least, that's what he asks the homebrewers among us and that's the category I fit in to.
The thing about brewing beer at home is that it gives you not only an appreciation for how a beer is made, but also what it's made of. For instance, a beer drinker might enjoy a stout and would likely be educated enough to know that it contains roasted barley. However, short of having the odd taste at a brewery tour, it's unlikely that said beer drinker would know what roasted barley really tastes like other than anecdotally. Now, roasted barley is a fairly common malt but what about the more obscure? Brown malt is less common these days or how about rye? And then we move on to hops. The homebrewer has a ready supply of hops and can sometimes learn to distinguish them by aroma alone. Personally I don't hold to that level of geekery and almost never try to identify a hop by aroma.
Homebrewing gives you an appreciation of not only ingredients but also process. An advanced homebrewer might brew the same recipe using different mashing techniques to see how the beer changes. While single infusion mashing is the most common and easiest to perform, will your Bohemian Pilsner really change for the better by trying a triple decoction mash? Only a brewer who has tried it will really be able to tell because the beer drinker usually only tastes the commercial end result and not the experimental in house stuff.
When I first started writing about beer, it was a more homebrew themed blog. That has changed over the years and I don't often write about homebrew any more. I occasionally post my recipes but I am way overdue to do that now. That's probably because I don't use my big PC which contains my recipes all that often these days so I never think of it but certainly in the beginning, my blog was about my journey through homebrewing and all the new beers I was trying along the way.
I believe that if I hadn't been homebrewing, I might not have become as involved in beer as I am now. It has also resulted in career change thoughts. I'm in IT professionally and I used to really love my job. Now, it's just a job to pay the bills and my dream is to run a brewpub some day. It's unlikely to happen but one needs a dream to keep going. I don't think I want to run a commercial brewery but a brew pub would be just right for me.
Where am I now with homebrewing? Well, I haven't brewed since about May. That's because I can't brew in the summer due to lack of temperature control as well as time to do so. I have since moved back to my Westmeath home and am in the process of building a man cave which will be a brewery and gym. Here's a picture of the outside. I'm currently insulating and drywalling the inside. Once complete, I plan on doubling my brew setup to 50 - 70 litre batches up from 25 - 30.
It's a lot of money and effort considering I only hope to be living there for 3 years and try and sell the house then but I am hoping it will increase the value of my house to have a pretty high quality external concrete building come with it. I could have simply got a shed and used that.
I'm fixing 50mm insulated plasterboard to the concrete interior using pinkgrip adhesive which is designed for that sort of thing.
I have insulated the roof with reflective bubble wrap stuff and will also be using the insulated plasterboard screwed in to the rafters. I should be finished the walls this weekend all going well.
When I'm finished, I will have an insulated room with full electric hook up. I'm not putting in plumbing as I can simply run a hose through the window on brewday.