Apparently – this is a common term in the home brew scene. I saw it in a couple of forums and didn’t give it much thought – until I learned a valuable lesson in patience. Patience is a virtue I do not have. I cannot tell you how many time I have burned my mouth on a steaming slice of pizza because I didn’t want to wait for it to cool down, how many times I paid $20 for 2-day shipping, when the $5 option would have had it to me in 3 or 4 days, how many times I bought a new phone or gadget on release day only to have the price drop dramatically 3 weeks later, or how many times since I started brewing where I’ve freaked out for apparently no reason.
RDWHAHB – Relax Don’t Worry, Have a Home Brew. This mantra exists for a reason. You may remember my post on my 1st brew – an excellent Soy Sauce. I was convinced that I was a horrible brewer, and would be shunned by the beer community. I mean – who starts out to make beer and ends up with soy sauce? I read up on forums, took a sample to my local Home Brew Store, and kept reading hearing “be patient/give it time”. So I did. I pumped the remainder of the keg into bottles using my Blichmann Beer Gun (review coming soon), and left them in my beer fridge while I planned my next brews.
I revisited one of my Brown Ale’s about 2 weeks after my disastrous first taste. I cracked open a bottle, poured it into a glass, and just stared at it for about 90 seconds. Almost not wanting to try it and re-live the disappointment. I brought the glass to my nose and took a whiff – I smelled a nice, sweet aroma that reminded me of the maple syrup I used in the last 20 minutes of the boil. It wasn’t blatant and overpowering, but it was the hint of sweetness I was going for. I took a drink and let me tell you – WOW! I was completely blown away by how much the beer changed in 2 weeks. It was everything I designed it to be. It had a nice toasty/biscuit taste to it, great mouth feel, and a definite sweet finish to it. You could tell there was Maple Syrup infused in the beer, but it wasn’t overpowering or distracting. There was still some Umami character, but it worked for the beer, and not against it.
To say I was excited was an understatement. I took another sample to The Bearded Brewer to show off my 1st brew. I made everyone in my family try some. I drank about 4 bottles of it. I had to re-think all of the doubt and worry I went through and try to find a way to be more Zen about my brewing. I still have problems leaving my beer alone and trying it too early. I still look at my carboy/buckets multiple times a day. I still burn my mouth on hot pizza. But – I now accept my problem, and react accordingly. I know that when it comes to brewing beer, RDWHAHB – unless something goes really bad… but I’ll write about that experience a little later.
I was doing some reading and discovered that a good way to get objective feedback was to enter home brew competitions, as a BJCP judge critiques your beer. I figured I had nothing to lose. So I entered the The Brew Hut Annual Homebrew Competition. I didn’t think much of it. I was ready to get knocked down a peg by an official sanctioned judge. Surprisingly though, I checked the results page and I place First in the American Ale category! I was scored a 44 out of 50. Six weeks prior, I was ready to write this batch off. And here I am winning a Gold Medal on it. By no means am I letting this get to my head, and I have already been knocked down a peg or two, but I couldn’t be happier with my 1st outing. I am awaiting the actual scoresheet to be sent to me – and when I do I will post it to share the feedback.
To summarize – I think Axl Rose said it best: “All we need is just a little patience”.