The Campfire Brewery is back. We really haven’t gone anywhere, but due to laziness, crazy things going on in our lives, and other assorted doings, we haven’t been brewing. But all that changed last Saturday. Our forgotten member, Bujer, made his return to brewing. The last time he helped out we were still doing extract on the stove, so needless to say this was like his first time brewing again. On our Twitter feed, I posed the question, “Is homebrewing like riding a bike? Will we remember what to do?” Actually, that was two questions. And from the lack of responses, it’s obvious no one gives a shit. However, I found out first hand what it is like to brew after about one year of not brewing. Here is my story.
I put out the good word to the three other members, Clubby, Dave, and Bujer. We must brew! For I have 2.9 ounces of fresh Cascade hops that I harvested from my little hop farm. As I patiently awaited responses, I began formulating a recipe. Going off the ingredients from past brewing sessions I was able to come up with a winner. Our Amber Ale from July 2008. I tweaked only the hops this time around to incorporate our fresh hops. I also figured that this brew came out great, so why not make it again? With Bujer on board, we got together Saturday morning, and began to brew.
I had forgotten how tedious and sucky it is to clean and sanitize equipment, but I was quickly reminded. I think everyone can agree that is the worst part of the brewing process. After an hour of scrubbing pots and mash tuns which had been sitting in a basement for a year collecting dust and dirt, we were ready to brew. Grain was crushed and then we began to boil water. So we waited. Maybe we should start boiling the water first and then crush grain? Jot that little tidbit down for next time. Woohoo, we got the mash started! Let’s boil more water and sit around for an hour or so. Hey, we got time, let’s crack open some beers and order a pizza, which happens to be one of my favorite steps of brewing. So we mashed, waited, spooned, talked, and got ready for the boil. We got our boil going, and then waited some more. Bujer took a nap, and lucky for him I am too lazy to get the picture off my phone. Then we cooled it down, transferred to the fermentation bucket, pitched the yeast, and put it away in the basement where it sat fermenting away until yesterday when we racked into secondary on top of the fresh hops. There you have it. Our brewing experience. Notice anything missing? No missteps. Believe it or not, I remembered how to do everything, and we had no issues. It went smoothly. I couldn’t believe it.
So that comes to the moral of my story. Yes, homebrewing is like riding a bike. I might have stumbled and almost forgotten to do stuff, but I remembered before any mistakes were made. I am now looking forward to brewing more often again.