Your homebrew sucks. Ok so it may not actually suck, but it can always be better. A lot of people make good homebrew, very few people make truly great homebrew. The difference between those two groups of people is not the ingredients they are using, the recipe that they’ve crafted or the cost of their brewhouse. The difference between those two people: the good homebrewer drinks while the great homebrewer evaluates. Seems like a small difference right? The truth is that this small step will greatly improve your homebrew in very short order.
Let’s clarify something right now. There are a lot of people who will believe they are great homebrewers. They are not.
If you are reading this and think that you make great beer, why do you think that you make great beer? Do you personally think that your beer is the best that it could be? Do you win every competition that you enter? Do all of your friends drink your beer and tell you it’s amazing? Everything can be improved, this is why professional breweries have tasting panels and quality control groups. I don’t care who you are or what you think of your beer, it is not the best beer that it could be. Another thing is that I’m not recommending that every time you have a beer you pick up a notebook and take a page of notes; that would take all the fun out of beer. What I’m recommending is that every once in a while you should be writing down something about your beer.
The difference between screwing around and science is writing it down. – Adam Savage
For the vast majority of us who are good homebrewers, how do we brew great beer? Every time that you brew a new beer you need to and perform a thorough evaluation of that beer. Honest beer evaluation is difficult for a lot of people because they know the hard work that they put in and want believe their product is great. Tasting your own beer and thinking that it is perfect is doing a disservices to everyone who drinks your beer, yourself above all others. Over time you will build a basis of knowledge for the next batch, which is how you will improve your beer.
So how do we as the brewer evaluate our own beer effectively? On every batch of beer that I brew, I typically do this at least three times; once when the beer is fresh, a second time when the beer is a month old and generally a third time when the keg is nearly kicked. Remember, this is not simply drinking beer, this is a thorough, in depth analysis of the beer that is in your glass.
In the next article we are going to go through how to evaluate a beer. Evaluating a beer isn’t simply slinging back your homebrew and saying that it’s good. We need to really focus on the things that are in that particular beer so make sure to check back soon for Your Homebrew Sucks – Part 2!