Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Homebrewing Obsession

As with many people in this hobby homebrewing has become an obsession for me. When I'm not actually brewing I'm planning my next brew, shopping for ingredients, developing recipes, reading every book I can get my hands on, reading every blog I can find, and watching every video; even the corny tasting vids, or what I'm up to vids.

I had a long weekend this past weekend and I ended up brewing twice. That doesn't seem like a big deal but when you consider I started by brewing about 4x a year followed up by maybe every six weeks then once a month, twice a month until I'm pretty much brewing once every weekend now. I don't know why I do this, I end up giving a lot of beer away plus it's increased my own drinking quite a bit.

I mostly do it because I'm still experimenting. I'm still trying to find the magical hop combinations, get that 50 point stout or Belgian dark strong, and figure out what's working for a specific style of beer. I believed this is taking so long for me because I'm all over the place. I'm not brewing a single style until I nail it, I don't like drinking the same beer all the time so I'm always changing what I'm brewing. I don't see anything particularly wrong with that, in fact I think it's keeping me interested in this hobby.

This is not the first time I've brewed more than once on a weekend but this time had me thinking I either need another hobby or to create more projects around the house. The second brew day was on Sunday and I was just killing time until football started at 1PM. I had already made breakfast and cut/sauted vegetables and meat for a stew. That done I wondered what I was going to do until the Bills game, impromptu brew day!

My previous hobby (computers) was a complete obsession as well, so much so that it turned into college and my day job. That worked out pretty well for me and actually kept me so busy for years that I didn't need another hobby. Well that, owning/maintaining a home, and raising a child with my wife. Of course as with anything I got better and better at it until it wasn't occupying as much of my time and then came homebrewing :).

As I said above none of this is a problem until you realize how much money you're spending on the hobby. You always "need" some new piece of equipment or to replace one you've outgrown/broken. When you brew every week you spend a lot of money on ingredients and a lot of time brewing. I didn't realize just how much I was spending until put myself on a brewing budget. It's been about two months now and even with the fairly large $200/month limit I placed on myself I'm having a hard time keeping to it. I blew my entire November budget after planning through all of October for what I would need. I had bugs in one of my bags of grain so I "needed" new storage jars for the grains I keep in stock (my LHBS is 50 minutes away). I ordered 12 PET 1 gallon storage jars and with shipping those were $60. A bag to 2-Row was $50+tax. The rest was spent on grains for stouts and porters, yeast and hops, and it went quickly. Well I broke my last hydrometer while cleaning on my first brewday this weekend so I went without for the second brew and I'll continue to go without until my December budget. Not the worst thing, I know my system and my numbers are usually pretty close to estimated plus I have the Tilt which is spot on for the OG and usually only a point or two off on the FG.

So I looked back at my homebrew spending in the months prior to starting the budget and it was absolutely ridiculous. Anywhere from $200 to $600, in a month!!!! This year I built a new mash tun, bought a Hydra immersion chiller, 3 hydrometers, 2 new perlick faucets, new gas and beer lines, a 20lb co2 tank, 2 gauge pressure regulator, 5 new fermentation buckets, 5 homebrew books, 2 magazine subscriptions, went to HomebrewCon in Baltimore ($1500) and bought  several items for my homebrew club. I know I've missed some things too. I think this qualifies as obsessed spending.

To top all of this craziness off I write in this blog once or twice a week just because homebrewing is always on my mind. There's not too many reading this blog, if any, but I keep writing because it's a way to think about and review my homebrewing.

I remember I used to love reading for fun, it may be time to recapture the love of an old hobby that doesn't have me spending money as fast as I make it.

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