The emotional stages of brewing your own beer

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Why buy beer when you could brew it yourself? Of course, we all love a hand-pulled beer, but with social distancing measures to contend with, and more time to fill at home, many of us have taken to home brewing.

That doesn’t guarantee it’s always a straightforward process though … If you’re planning to become the king of craft beers in your kitchen, here are some of the emotional stages you need to prepare for.

1. Optimism

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You can throw together a decent coffee, you’ve tried your hand at kombucha, you’ve even made sloe gin, how hard can brewing your own beer really be? This is going to be a total breeze, you tell yourself.

2. Uncertainty
Aside from the raw materials, you need the brewing equipment that will ultimately determine the style of lager that ends up in your pint glass.

Do you buy a home-brewing kit and pat yourself on the back for buying a big box of goodies that comes with everything you need? Or do you forage for everything … brewing kettle, fermenter and airlock, funnel – oh the fuss of it all.

3. Anticipation
You’ve made your decision. The home-brew starter kit is on its way and you’ve gone deluxe. If you’re going to bask in the glory of crafting something from grain to glass, it had better be good.

4. Fear

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The starter kit has arrived and now you’ve seen what’s involved, you’re having serious second thoughts. Did you really need to fork out for all this heavy-duty equipment? You’re already being tested, and you haven’t even started.

5. Confidence

Right, this is it. Where there’s a will there’s a way. You read the recipe instructions and think, ‘Yes, I can do that! Well sort of.’ You meticulously get everything ready and navigate your way round the shiny new equipment. Even the small print with ‘additional equipment needed’ doesn’t put you off. You also consider buying a trendy leather apron.

6. Stress
It’s brew day. You heat the water; you steep the grains over a medium heat but it starts to boil too quickly. You turn it down and worry the bag of grains hasn’t got enough room to breathe. Did you tie the mesh bag too tight? You drain it, stir in the gold malt syrup, faff about with the nugget hops and the foam keeps rising. You have to keep adjusting the heat and decide this is worse than watching a soufflé sink.

7. Relief

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It’s bottling day. Your fermenter has been kept in perfect order for two weeks, and it’s time to focus on the bottling bucket. You religiously fill each bottle to the top, place on a cap and set each one aside with loving care. You begin to dream about becoming a landlady/lord and running your own pub.

8. Pride
You’ve stored the bottles in a dark area for at least two weeks to carbonate and transferred them to the fridge last night. It’s happy hour and you cannot wait to try your homemade brew. You pull a chilled pint glass from the fridge and carefully pour the liquid gold. The refreshing, ice-cold flavours tingle all over your tongue and you couldn’t be a happier hop head. Cheers!

Do you brew your own beer? Have you been through these emotions?

– With PA

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