The Pain of the Home Brewer

Detail from the cover of Home Brewing Without Failures by H.E. Bravery.You spend the entirety of a precious day off home brewing. Everything goes wrong that possibly can but eventually, several hours later than planned, you plonk the fermentor in a dark corner, wipe up the last spills, and go to the pub for a well-earned pint.

Several weeks or even months later, you open the first bottle, taste it and… sigh. It’s not very good. The flavours are muddy. There is a distinct, hard-to-pin-down off flavour lurking around the edges. It’s an utter disappointment which makes you wonder why you bother.

Ever hopeful, you keep trying it at intervals. For a while, it gets worse, and you ponder throwing the rest of the batch away so that at least you can make use of the bottles.

Then, slowly, you note a little improvement. It gets brighter and cleaner with each bottle, and the off-flavour seems to disappear. ‘This is actually getting to be pretty decent,’ you exclaim.

Then, finally, something magical happens when you pour one out: it gleams in the glass, the carbonation just right, the aroma enticing. ‘I’d pay good money for this,’ you say. ‘It’s like a different beer.’ It has come good, reached perfection, at last! You want another at once.

But that, of course, was the very last bottle. This is the bittersweet pain of the home brewer.

We asked people to suggest words to describe the particular feeling that this moment brings.

Our own best effort? Breweavement.