Andrew Hammond

Hacker, Homebrewer, Homesteader.

Downsizing Sucks

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It’s 10pm and, after debating the issue for quite a while now, I decided to take the first step in downsizing one of my hobbies. Downsizing a hobby really sucks, but sometimes it’s for the best. In this case, the hobby is homebrewing. I’ve been homebrewing for about 3 years, and the whole time has been on an upward trend as far as my obsession for it goes, but lately it has really taken a back seat. We recently bought our first house and in the move, and settling in, and enjoying all the new space and freedom (like beeing able to build a chicken coop), my half-baked 20 Gallon Electric Brewery project was put on hold. Well, I just posted my three, never been used, 20 gallon brew kettles for sale online…

read on for my reasoning behind this terrible downsizing

After spending a year building an Electric Brewery control panel on my own, and just barely having seen it come to life before moving, I’m already looking to downsize the system. Here are some of my reasons, which I’m writing down partly because I’m still trying to convince myself it is the right choice.

1) Our house is far from my workplace now. So what, right? Well one of my favorite parts about brewing was having friends and coworkers over and having a great brew day. One of the trade-offs of moving this far away for our dream house was that those friends likely won’t be making the trip for brew day anymore. I don’t blame them. It’s over an hour by train and nearly as long in weekend traffic when driving.

2) Since I take that hour+ long train ride to work now, I won’t be off-loading kegs of homebrew for the office keggerator any time soon. That leaves me with 3 kegs of beer after every brew day. What am I supposed to do with all that?

3) Trying to get through 15 gallons of beer after each brew session would require me to only brew once in a blue moon. My favorite part of brewing is the experimentation and exploration involved – trying creating new recipes. But sometimes, experiments fail. In fact many of my homebrew experiments have failed. Hell, I think I have 30 gallons of (probably) ruined/gross/meh homebrew in various states around my house (in the keggerator, in the breezeway sitting in carboys since the move, in kegs in the closet, in old bottles somewhere in the moving boxes) and I know I’ve dumped that much down the drain early on. With the 20 gallon system, my minimum brew size would have been around 10 gallons, but more likely 15 gallons would be the average batch size. That is a lot of beer to mess up.. there is more on the line with the large system. I got cocky and made my system too big for my level of experience (although I planned to grow into it).

4) By selling just one of my kettles, I’ll be able to get three new ones of a more reasonable size. Good news is, stainless steel doesn’t really lose value in the homebrew world. I really like the MegaPot 1.2s, so I’m planning on going with those again, but in the 8 gallon size. The remaining two pots I’ll still sell, and hopefully with a piece of that I can afford a decent fermenter. Like a small conical or a couple of the new stainless steel “bucket” style fermenters which have a slight cone at the bottom. I really think not fermenting in stainless is the last major problem with my brewing (causing minor off flavors).

So there you have it. I’ll be downsizing to an 8 gallon electric HERMs brewery. Yes, of course I’ll still use my amazing control panel. Seriously, it took over a year to build.