Where were we? Oh, yeah.
When last we talked about my decision to try homebrewing, I had purchased equipment / ingredients and attended a free class. For a few weeks, that’s pretty much as far as it got. Instead of making beer, I contented myself with the wafting scent of Centennial hops every time I opened the fridge. I’m sure you can imagine that my weekends are chockablock with fabulous social engagements and exciting life experiences, so there was always a reason to put off the process of actually brewing. But one day there weren’t any orphans to rescue from fires or romantic picnics with Greek shipping tycoons, and still I did not brew. Why? Well, as I finally had to admit to myself, I was afraid of screwing it up. Well-meaning people had told me how easy it all was, but if those people really knew me, they’d know all I heard when they said that was how extremely embarrassing it would be when I inevitably failed.
But finally, last Saturday I sucked it up and declared it Brew Day. Armed with my recipe and the excellent instructions from My Old Kentucky Homebrew, I got to work. Everything progressed smoothly in the early going. The steeping grains filled my kitchen with a deliciously familiar scent and when it was time for the boil, I grew more and more excited every time I tossed in the hops. I even took special care to follow Paul’s instructions for Step 5 to a tee.
Eventually it was time to chill the wort and transfer it to the meticulously sanitized primary bucket. I added the remaining water and pitched the yeast. Easy peasy. Nothing to do now but snap on the lid and wait for the magic. And then it happened. I was standing there, examining the airlock when it just slipped through my fingers, falling in slow motion. Apparently, slow motion is faster than my reflexes, because it dropped right into the bucket. After a litany of sailor speak, I grabbed a sanitized spoon and started fishing. So, there I was, I'm sure with my typical (and very attractive) Michael Jordan-esque tongue of concentration, swirling the spoon around when I suddenly notice my hand is wet. Yes, kids. The bucket is taller than the spoon and I’m wrist deep in beer. Given that many people will tell you the only way screw up is to let something unsanitized touch your brew, this can’t be good.
At this point, I’d like to give a shout out to Google for always telling me that anything stupid I’ve done has been done before. I read a few heartening discussion forums about terrible mistakes that still yielded great beer, including one dude who put his entire arm in the primary bucket. So, I decided to keep hope alive and snapped on the lid, though I confess I did this with a few tears and yet more swearing.
As of now, my bucket of potential wonder is sitting in a closet, with the encouraging glug-glug sound of fermentation coming from that pesky airlock.
Will my first attempt be a success or failure? Only time - and my very worried taste buds - will tell.