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Hobbies for Men: My Experience Brewing Beer

by M on January 16, 2013
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Looking for a list of hobbies for men? Then feel free to ask us on Facebook or browse around the site. Looking to explore the craft and hobby of brewing beer, then you came to the right place.

Love something enough and eventually you’ll want to evolve, to see behind the scenes, to become part of the process. You want to pull back the curtain and learn why something is the way it is – what makes it go, what makes it tick, what makes it lovable.

That’s why I decided to make beer.

They say (and by “they” I mean Brooklyn Brew Shop) that making beer is as easy as making oatmeal. They are wrong. It’s essentially the process from hell, but imagine dead ponies strewn across the kitchen at the same time.

It starts simple enough, as beer kits will provide you a laundry list of ingredients and kitchen tools you need. This leads to the first problem: kits will never provide you everything that’s needed. Be prepared to spend $40-$50 more on useful things like a fine mesh strainer, swing top bottles & sanitizer. If you’re thinking of buying some beer-obsessed loved one a kit, make sure you understand you are saying “hey, I dig you but I want you to spend more money.”

Minor tirade aside, the second issue comes up concurrently with the process, step by step. You slowly begin to realize that beer-making instructions are Ikea-like, telling you the how-to as vaguely as possible. Depending on the kit you pick up, there may be video instructions. If not, be sure to scour the inter-web prior to starting. Seeing how the process works is the only way to be successful as a kit won’t give you the full direction needed.

Now, let’s say you’ve gone out and bought everything you’ve needed. You’ve prepped for your beer making session by studying some game tape online. And now, you’re ready to cook some beer. WRONG. The last issue, and maybe the most important, is to make sure you have a partner in crime. The Jesse to your Walt. Because believe me, when you’re halfway through the process and realize that you can’t simultaneously pour 15 gallons of wort while cooking another vat of liquid, you’re going to yell “fuck” a few times.

My Experience Making Beer

hobbies for men brewing beer

The process itself is divvied up into three phases. There’s the Mash, the Wort and then my personal favorite – the beer. The Mash is scientific oatmeal, gauging temperatures every 2-3 minutes for an hour. If you live in New York and relate to unreliable burners which have no temperature other than “off” or “omg the devil is inside this burner” – then you’ll realize why the Mash is harder than it seems. Just keep an eye on everything, consistently, and you’ll be fine.

The Wort is the trickiest of all phases. This is where you take your Mash – essentially beer oatmeal – and poor boiling hot water over it to get your hot, soaked beer. This is where a second person is most important, as you’ll need someone to properly hold up the mash while another pours liquid and ‘pushes’ it through. It’s important to note here that if you find you have some sediment in your wort, it’s okay. You’re going through another strainer before it’s bottled.

The last part is much like the first – a lot of boiling and temperature gauging to make sure the Wort goes according to schedule. Once you’ve gone another hour (making the whole process three hours) without screwing anything up, it’s time to strain one last time and get that beer baby into an air-locked jug. Once you’ve filled your jug, you put in the yeast and shake it, much like a polaroid picture (thanks Outkast!). And now, it’s the waiting game. In two weeks you’ll be able to bottle, so until then keep it in somewhere cool and dark. Your roommates’ dirty laundry hamper probably suffices.

While the above, when summarized, does sound pretty easy, it’s important to keep a constant eye on temperature and consistency along the way. Too hot and you burn your beer. Too cool and you basically wasted three hours creating shitty tasting poison.

Hobbies for Men: Is Making Beer Right for You?

All in all, if you or someone you know is a beer lover, I still recommend a beer kit purchase. The science behind it, the unmasking of the process, the trial and error – it’s all a learning curve. I  just learned it’s better when the professionals make it.

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