Brewing Burnout

This past summer I experienced something that I never thought I would experience – I did not feel like brewing anymore.

Let’s back up a bit – once the weather warmed up in the spring, I started off brewing 40L batches of brew fairly regularly, stockpiling beer for various upcoming events and some for personal consumption. Fruit beers, wheat beers, cream ales – I think what really happened was that I got away from brewing what I wanted, and started trying to please everyone else, brewing good beer, but lacking some character that I was looking for. By the end of an 8 hour double 80L brew day on July 2, I felt spent and for the first time, brewing felt more like a chore than the fun hobby it was supposed to be. A brewing hiatus was in order.

After a summer away from brewing, I started to get that itch to brew again. Big Spruce had announced their brewing competition, listing three separate styles to choose from, or brew all three – Red IPA, Altbier and a Czech Dark Lager. All three styles were new to me, but each intrigued me enough to decide to get the three of them ready. I brewed 20L of each over a 6 week period, enjoying the process each time. I was happy with two of the three beer, but decided to enter all three anyway – good thing since the beer I wasn’t particularly happy with pleased the judges the most!

I have figured out that the key to my brewing is making small batches of something that I want for myself – sounds selfish, but I do share what I have. Friends and family know where I am and are always welcome to drop by for a pint or a bottle to take away. English bitters, pale ales, IPA’s, Kolsch and Altbier are planned, with an experimental IPA in the works for the upcoming Garrison homebrew competition.

Happy Brewing!

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Jockey Box – Preparing the Cooler

As I noted in the previous post, the free Coleman cooler was a little rough around the edges, but not so bad that a little elbow grease, a little cash and time couldn’t fix.

First up was to source out any broken or missing parts. The cooler came with one missing handle and a broken drain plug. Sourcing these parts in Canada was surprisingly difficult – the Coleman Canada site just isn’t all that useful, pointing you to non – existent dealers or broken links. I eventually found both parts online at Walmart Canada of all places. With both reasonable prices and free shipping, that was right up my alley.

Second is taking care of the rust and scratches. We removed any hardware that wasn’t riveted in place. I didn’t want to get into drilling out the original steel rivets. Then, it was time to break out the angle grinder with wire wheel. The wire wheel made quick work of most of the rust. A Dremel tool with a wire wheel completed the rust removal in the hard to reach places. With help from my brewing assistant, we used a palm sander with 150 grit paper to buff up the rest of the surfaces. Larger scratches were treated with spot putty while bigger dents were left to add a bit of character – I just didn’t want to put in the effort to pull those dents out.

 

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Next up – cleaning the hardware.