Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In the beginning.

An Origin Story
Bonesaw is ready!

Brewing is Failing Until You Succeed

Naked came I.

Born at exactly midnight, Dallas, Texas.

No wait. Too far back. 

Just a heads up, this is the obligatory First Brew story. 

So there we were on Valentine's Day, 2010. Not a flower or chocolate candy in sight. Our How-To-Brew DVD was playing. Our beginner's brewing book was thumbed through and earmarked. Our pre-packed recipe was in hand. Our pre-assembled brewkit was....assembled. The water was boiling. Grains were steeping. Hops were added.

And that's when we hit a wall. A conundrum, if you will. 

As you should know, you can't add yeast to boiling wort. That's madness! That would kill the yeast. You have to cool it down first, typically with a wort chiller. I now have a wort chiller. But for our first brew, we didn't even know what that was. 

So, uh, how were we supposed to cool this delicious pre-beer down to acceptable yeast temperature? We looked in the freezer, and then closed the freezer door. It wasn't like we could have thrown ice cubes in there. 

It was snowing outside. Would that work? Sure, why not? It took two episodes of Psych, but it eventually hit a reasonable temp.

What came next is a pretty good indicator of my entire brew philosophy.

We took the gravity reading and it somehow had the viscosity of syrup. Well...that wasn't good. Could we continue? we asked ourselves. Should we continue? What kind of monstrosity had we created? More importantly, how would it taste? We poured through our books, rewatched the DVD. Googled everything we could and put in every gravity calculation we could think of. Compensating for temperature, elevation, humidity, seasons, lunar cycle. If it had a calculation, we tried it. 

Still syrup. 

One of us had to step up, because like an hour had passed. It had to be tested.

Bonesaw is ready!
It was just chilled pre-beer. We were just reading the gravity wrong. Which is a pretty anticlimactic way to end that tale. But the point is this; we messed up big time. Between the hour it took to cool the wort, to what seemed like six hours trying to figure out our gravity, all the while our beer was left open and exposed, we dumb dumbed it up like a pair of dumbies. 

But the beer still turned out fine. Delicious, in fact. We named it Isaac Newton Dunkelweizen, after our gravity mishap. 

That's how I brew. I just kind of stumble along the way, mishap after mishap. My first six or so beers were just dreadful. Drinkable, mind you. But they all had that weird homebrew taste. If you've never had homebrew flavor, it tastes like drinking a beer out of a plastic and metal nalgene bottle. The pretend bottle somehow being both plastic and metal at the same time. It's not pleasant. 

And while I haven't perfected my craft in the slightest, I'm at a point now where I feel pretty confident in my mad wizard style. If you want a recipe followed exactly, to get a specific gravity reading, precise alcohol content and consistent flavor, I'm probably not your guy.

But if you want a brewer like your tattoo artist; you know, you go to your artist and give them a vague description of what you want (samurais, but they're sharks. Make it happen) and you just let your artist do their thing, that's me. 

The mad wizard.