Have you ever brewed a beer that you weren’t proud of? Has your home been taken over by brewing gear, kegs, and bottles? While homebrewers are a proud bunch, there are some aspects of the hobby that we wouldn’t go out of our way to share with just anyone.
At the risk of hurting my street cred (who doesn’t love a little self-deprecation?), here are a few of the “trade secrets” I normally don’t let out of the bag. Can you relate to any of these?
- My bathtub is used for brewing more often than bathing. Some call us “bathtub brewers,” but I don’t know anyone who would actually make beer in the tub. It just comes in handy for cleaning and sanitizing and as a staging area for bottles and fermenters in various stages of cleanliness. However, if my girlfriend wants to take a bath, it means I have to move all my brewing equipment out of the way.
- Our coat closet is actually a fermentation chamber. Yes, we tend to have more fermenters bubbling than coats hanging at any given time. But who needs a rain jacket when you have beer?
- I once made a batch that tasted a little funky…but I still drank every bit of it. It happens to everyone at least once. For some reason, a batch comes out tasting pretty far from what you expected. Luckily, there are no known pathogens that can survive in homebrew, so if you can stand the taste, bottoms up. The fun part is that we learn from our mistakes, and every subsequent beer is that much better!
- A significant portion of my disposable income goes towards homebrewing. What can I say? I love to brew. You can see where my priorities lie.
That’s enough self-humiliation for now. To repair my damaged ego, I asked some fellow brewers to contribute skeletons from their own homebrewing closets:
- I stained my garage floor when bottling and moved boxes over it so my wife wouldn’t find out. -Anonymous
- My wife and I have a delicate balance of understanding when it comes to homebrew, so asking for any extra space for bottles or equipment can be a challenge. So, I’ve had to improvise… I have two dedicated spaces for fermentation, courtesy of tough negotiations with my wife: half of a downstairs closet for primary/secondary and half of an upstairs closet for bottle conditioning. I was very ambitious my first year of homebrewing and made 13 batches, which meant a lot of bottles. When I ran out of space, I had to hide some bottle conditioning beer in the one thing scattered throughout the house that was plentiful — my wife’s vast shoe collection. -Bryan Roth, This Is Why I’m Drunk, @BryanDRoth
- My guest bedroom has a kegerator — though I must say, guests rarely complain when I make that confession. -Thom O’hearn, @AVLBeerScout
Do you have any embarrassing stories from your homebrew experience? Share in the comments!
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.