I think I went too far with my homebrewing gear
I love to homebrew. And guess what? I haven’t homebrewed for the last four months. I have a long list of reason for that (work, children, school, etc), but that’s rarely stopped me before. What’s actually holding me back the most is that I’ve gone too far. My homebrewing gear and setup are weighing me down. It takes too long to setup. The brew day went from a couple hours to nearly six hours. Those are six great hours, but it’s becoming harder to justify the time expense. Little things have added up. I thought a plate chiller would save me a lot of time, but in the end I spend more time cleaning it afterwards. I have a charcoal filter for my water, which is awesome, but it adds another level of cleanup and setup. I recirculate my mash. Man, those damn pumps add a lot of cool features, but are a total pain in the ass. And I love all this stuff and don’t want to give any of it up. What do I do?!
One factor here is that each of these things help make better beer, but sometimes I think I’ve reached my limit and rush through one routine and end up with worse beer. I am watching too many moving parts now and unless I get a beer sculpture or more automation, I am not likely to give each detail the necessary attention. In many ways this points to my number one flaw as a brewer: time. It’s hard to justify taking a big chunk of a day and devoting it to homebrewing when kids, work and life are all begging for attention. So, here’s what it boils down to: how do I shorten my brewday. Because no way am I giving up homebrewing.
What I won’t give up
All grain. I brewed up a pale ale with DME and specialty grains. It was tasty, but it wasn’t the same. After switching to all grain it’s hard to go back to extracts. You give up to many excellent malt profiles and the beer is just not the same.
What I will give up
Anything else. Maybe I shrink my batch size? Maybe I switch to an all electric setup like the Braumeister. Or maybe I just drop recirculation? Or the water filter? I can always add them back if I have more time for a given brew day. Maybe I start drinking Keystone Light? Oh god, what am I saying. Stop it! No! I will never sink so low. Or so I hope.
This post is slightly pointless, because instead of me helping you I am asking you to help me. So what should I do? Have you made any fundamental changes to your brew day that helped speed it up? Help me! I need to brew.