Homebrew: Don't Fear the Brew

You don't need the best kit or the most knowledge to enjoy homebrewing. As our Financial Controller, Andy Hill, explains, all you need is some clean buckets, good practices and a few good friends to enjoy the results.

By Andy Hill, Beer Hawk's Financial Controller

I’m a pretty lazy homebrewer.

My processes aren’t too bad; I’ve not had an infection yet (oh God, why did I type that before attempting two brews in a weekend? [because you’re an idiot]), and I usually get somewhere close to my target ABV. I am almost always left with a ton of sediment in my bottles because I’m too lazy to use secondary vessels, cold crash or any of that. Most of my problems have been due to a stupid mistake or because I’ve tried to run before I could walk (like making a salty beer from a remote region of Germany third brew in). Win or lose, lazy or not--I

Homebrew: Don't Fear the Brew

You don't need the best kit or the most knowledge to enjoy homebrewing. As our Financial Controller, Andy Hill, explains, all you need is some clean buckets, good practices and a few good friends to enjoy the results.

By Andy Hill, Beer Hawk's Financial Controller

I’m a pretty lazy homebrewer.

My processes aren’t too bad; I’ve not had an infection yet (oh God, why did I type that before attempting two brews in a weekend? [because you’re an idiot]), and I usually get somewhere close to my target ABV. I am almost always left with a ton of sediment in my bottles because I’m too lazy to use secondary vessels, cold crash or any of that. Most of my problems have been due to a stupid mistake or because I’ve tried to run before I could walk (like making a salty beer from a remote region of Germany third brew in). Win or lose, lazy or not--I can't get enough of this hobby.

Since making the transition to all-grain brewing my record looks something like this: 1) tasted like antiseptic plasters because I forgot to rinse my sanitizer off; 2) Cracking Maris Otter/Galaxy pale ale; 3) A gose that was afflicted by a terrible case of diacetyl and tasted like salted butter popcorn (my yeastie beasties got stressed ‘cos of the pH); 4) A tasty IPA made with all my left over grain and a mix of three tropical flavoured hops. 50% success rate: not too bad for a novice.

One thing I do know, however, is that the difference between a successful beer and an awful fail does NOT come down to the kit (that's right, it would come down to my own ineptitude). My all-grain set up is probably the cheapest gear that can do a 20L batch without some DIY, and finding time for unnecessary DIY when you’ve got two kids is unlikely. I think the whole lot including my first kit was about £150. One day, when I’ve got some spare cash (haha) and find a big empty space in the house (hahahaha), maybe I’ll upgrade…maybe.

I guess all of the above is to say I am in no way an expert in home brewing. At all. But I love it. There is nothing quite like opening a bottle of beer that you’ve made from grains, hops, water and yeast (oh, and patience). Sharing the fruits of your labour with friends and having them complement you (or at least drink it all without complaining too loudly) is tremendously satisfying for me, and listening to little bubbles of CO2 gently plopping through an airlock never fails to put a smile on my face. So if you’ve ever thought about making your own beer only to be put off by the expense or the fact that you’ll never make a decent pint, you’re wrong.

Hell, if I can do it, anyone can.