No Brewing Makes Mike A Sad Panda
Posted on June 10, 2011 by mike
I started brewing beer a couple of years ago with so much drive and motivation I had more beer than I would ever be able to drink. I got SO into brewing beer that I thought for SURE I would never give up homebrewing. It is just to darn fun, tasty and interesting. Alas, things changed for me.
Don’t get my wrong. I am by NO means quitting brewing beer, but I have to say that since I haven’t brewed a thing in over 6 months, I’m officially on a hiatus from brewing. Let me tell you why.
Brewing beer is by far one of the most fun things I have ever done. I enjoy pretty much every aspect of a good brew day, especially the beer :). But I recently found a breaking point. I found a point as to where it just isn’t fun and pretty much turns into a super chore for the day.
I live in a tiny, 2 bedroom corner unit apartment that just doesn’t have the space I’d like for brewing. Let me walk you through a couple scenarios here.
1. Take a look at this storage area for my brewing gear. I have been sequestered to using our spare closet that my cats shit and piss in to store my gear. Yea, that’s a great place to store gear that is used to make edible drinks that are highly susceptible to infections right? So basically this means that when I want to brew, not only do I litterally have to dig out every single piece of gear, but I have to go and clean it first. Sure, you must clean your gear before you brew regardless, but the level of cleaning is much different when you know your cats shit and piss in this room and there is SO much cat litter dust on your gear it makes me sick. I cannot, and will not give someone, one of my beers saying, here is where I store my gear. Gross.
2. Aside from that, when I take the gear into the kitchen to clean, I’m forced to work in a tiny little area that doesn’t allow me much breathing room. I’ve used my tub as well, which is all the way across the apartment to clean. Brewing in the small kitchen isn’t to bad. I’ve got stove, a big sink and a couple of different levels for gravity moving the beer. So I won’t complain to much about that. Except for when it comes to chilling my wort. Did I mention my sink doesn’t hold water and the water temp only goes down to about 70? Again, I’ve tried the bath tub, which works to an extent. Good enough that if I actually wanted to brew, I’d make it work.
3. Last but not least, where my beer ferments. This tiny little closet, that as you can see is full of junk, is where my pretty little beer gets to have its private time. This is the only closet that isn’t packed with a bunch of stuff we are storing for our first house and is the only walls that are not outside apartment walls. I cannot control my fermentation temperature at all. I don’t have any AC or central air here so I suffer from 10 to 20 degree temp swings depending on the weather. Babysitting my fermentation, especially without the right equipment to keep a consistent temperature is a chore I do not want to endure.
As you can see, I suffer from many challenges that I personally can’t overcome. I want to brew beer, but I have so much knowledge about the process and expect my beer to only get better, unless of course we have accidents or experiments, that I can’t, in my right mind, brew here. I’ll be tossing batches left and right because they won’t turn out due to infection, high fermentation temps and so forth. Plus the fact that each brew day consists of two full shifts of getting gear out, washing, then washing and putting gear away right of way has just turned my favorite hobby into a nightmare chore.
But alas! I am not quitting, I’m just on hiatus. I’ve been spending a bit of time with a local brew pub, learning from their brewmaster anything he will show/tell me. I have plans to check out a hop farm this summer and I’m starting to get some exposure to the Oregon Brewers Guild. Oh, and all my birthday and x-mas money is secretly being socked away for an All-Grain system as soon as we purchase that home.