We can’t wait to be big.
Now you’re thinking: “Of course. Who wouldn’t want to be big, and recognized, and all that stuff. Tell me something new.” But, that’s not exactly what we mean. Sure, that would be nice, but mostly what we imagine is living and working for ourselves, and making just enough to get by.
What we really mean is, we can’t wait to brew on a bigger scale.
It’s pretty easy to imagine why that would be fun. I mean, as home brewers, we’ve got tons of little gadgets and toys. And the only thing more fun than little toys are big toys.
But, that’s still not what we mean.
What we mean is that there’s so much inconsistency that plagues homebrewers that’s out of our control. And to have a locked down system where we have ultimate control over quality and consistency is very exciting.
An easy example is temperature control. We’re writing this a day after brewing, during which our temperature probe got a little screwy while we were mashing. Temperature comes into play at every stage of the brewing process. And, as much as we’ve controlled our processes (we mash in a large kettle which fits in another kettle filled with hot water, which makes mash temperature really steady; we have a temperature controlled refrigerator that works from 32 to 62 to within two degrees for fermentation control)… we always feel it could be better. We want to be within a half a degree dammit, because we know that could slightly affect the final quality.
There are all sorts of little things like this that bother us as well, from flow rates to water composition, from pitch rate to materials. And, to be honest, we really don’t know how all of these things will wind up affecting our beer while we’re brewing it. So when we taste it, we’re never quite sure exactly how things will turn out. Brewing beer takes between two weeks to two months – a relatively long amount of time if you think about it (by comparison, I can make some kick ass Kool-Aid in about 14 seconds) – so the moment of truth when we taste our own beer is always a bit of a nervous one.
But, the great thing about it is, when we taste it, it always tastes somewhere between very good and amazingly awesome. And, at that moment, we usually realize that it probably wasn’t worth worrying about too much in the first place.
A funny thing happened while we were writing this post. We started this post… fresh from our probe mishap… wanting to have a big and very controllable process so we could eliminate all of those funny little quirks, so we would be sure our beer would be good. But, when we thought about it some more, every system, big to small, is going to have its own quirks. It’s learning about those quirks, and having the correct knowledge and mindset to compensate for them, that will wind up making the beer good. And with the beer being as good as it is now, we can only imagine it will be better in the future.