Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Summer Time Brew Days

A typical brew day lasts around 4 hours which breaks down something like this:

  • Heat mash water and crush grain- 20 minutes-ish
  • Mash 1 hour
  • 30 minutes left in mash start heating sparge water
  • Mash out - 10 minutes.
  • Vorlauf and sparge - about 15 minutes
  • Heat to boil and boil + clean mash tun - 75 minutes
  • Chill 20-30 minutes
  • Transfer, pitch and cleanup - 15 minutes
Watch a lot of old BrewingTV episodes and many other homebrewing video podcasts during this entire process and drink anything on tap.

That's pretty typical for early spring, winter and late fall in N.Y. I spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen as many homebrewers do. I usually drink too much, listen to music, or watch TV.

The late spring, summer and early fall are a different story. I manage my brew days much more efficiently when the weather is good. Because while we all love brewing, it shouldn't be a reason to neglect our other responsibilities. This is a typical summertime brew day.

  • Heat mash water and crush grain - 20 minutes
  • Mash 1 hour
Now while the grains are mashing I do one of several things.

  • Weed wack and mow my lawn
  • Small home repairs ( I patched the roof of my barn last time, cleaned my lawn furniture the time before that)
  • Care for my hops
  • Exercise
  • Clean my motorcycle/cars
  • etc....
You get the idea. Mashing is no longer a time for twiddling my thumbs, watching football or getting drunk. It's time I can use to make sure I'm getting things done.

The same goes for the boil. I set my timers for hop additions on my phone and I do chores until that timer goes off, make my hop drop, then set my next timer and continue my chores. I'm still around in case something were to happen but I'm not wasting time.

 My homebrew club members have often asked how I find time to brew as often as I do, well this is part of the trick. If my wife has plans for us on Sunday I don't skip brewing on Saturday to get my chores done, I weave brewing and chores together.

While this does make for somewhat of an exhausting day it hasn't killed me yet and I feel like I accomplished something at the end of the day. Plus I have 5-10 gallons of beer to show for it.