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Hot tips for enjoying the craft as a perfectionist

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lickapop

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If you're a perfectionist, on the spectrum, complex, or everything is either black or white, YOU will know that all aspects of life can be pretty tiresome.

If you cannot pull off a task perfectly, you consider it a complete failure. This failure then manifests itself as frustration and that frustration then manifests itself sometimes in anger toward folks you care about... or some random. Sometimes you get depressed. If you have enough failures you quit.

Brewing for a perfectionist is a complete nightmare. The sun and moon have to align to pull off the perfect brew day. There is a lot of preparation. Water chemistry, perfectly milled grain, perfectly planned mash steps, the science, the software, the equipment, the environment , the playlist, the weather.... its so stressful it is not fun.

I love the thought of brewing but didnt really enjoy it most of the time. My first beer I ever brewed was on a 50L 3v setup. I spent 12 months reading everything I could get my hands on, building the system, planning the brew. It went perfectly, Failure was not even an option. It went into my perfectly balanced and built kegerator and it was the best beer I have ever had. But like a drug, chasing that first hit is a slippery slope to self destruction.

So here are my tips for maximum enjoyment I have personally experienced in the last 6 months back into brewing after pulling the plug a few years back. If you fall into the perfectionist complex personality zone like me, you are not going to like it.

KISS- Keep it simple stupid.. Yep I said it. You really need to let go. This is key to enjoying the craft

Equipment- I dont even want to count the money I have wasted chasing perfection. 3V system, 50L, 20L, 10L Braumiesters, manufactured kegmenters back when you couldnt buy off the shelf, glycol chillers, hop rockets, more fermenter fridges Bigger and better wont make your beers taste better than your last brew. It just complicates things and robs you from enjoying yourself. Dont go down that rabbithole. Dont have that arguement every 3 months with the Mrs/Mr when the $2k power bill comes in because you're running 4 fermenter fridges, 2 kegerators and 5000W 15amp elements in your fully airconditioned brewroom you built in the shed. These days Im using a 36L BIABasket. a couple of femzillas and a ferment fridge. I couldnt be happier. It gets a nice beer into a keg without having a breakdown.

Software- Honestly just stop using them. All those numbers, sliders, profiles. Spending hours tweaking recipes is a trap for perfectionists. I use it now only to build a quick water profile for a recipe I just copied off someone else who spend months tweaking. To that person I say 'Cheers' I am eternally grateful I didnt have to do it.

Brew day- The only thing I check is PH. I stopped caring about gravity readings. I guess maybe a little experience comes into play here but Im really not concerned about where I am at brew day. Its just noise. A perfectionist wont sleep for week if they miss their target by a couple of points. Remember its all about having fun and drinking half decent beer.
I do use a iTilt though. I would not brew without one now. Its a very simple way to check where Im at in fermentation for dry hopping and finishing without the fuss.

Fresh wort kits - Your a perfectionist. A FWK just wont cut it because someone else less perfect brewed it. Dont be shy and get a few FWK into those kegs in-between brew days. Remember to let go of the steering wheel. You can still tweak those bad boys with your fav yeasts and hops.

Yeasts- Dont be bogged down with making yeast starters with flash liquid yeasts. You dont need 100+ yeast library taking up half the fridge. There are some great dry varieties now. Just pitch them straight in. One or two packs will do it. Simple as

In the information age, the more you read the dumber you become.. In my experience, and not just with brewing, the more info you bombard yourself with the more confused and unsure you become and the more complicated your systems blow out. You never stop learning, but limit who you learn from. Pick a couple of well informed sources and stick with them and express your gratitude for the time they take to share their knowledge.

Dont critique your own brews. As a perfectionist you are not qualified. Find an honest friend to do this for you. My IIIpa, neipa loving GF tells me when my beers are great and when they are shit. This system works well.

At the end of the day most of us want to make beers for the enjoyment. I hope this finds a place for some that maybe struggling to have a bit of fun.

KISS and be kind to yourself.
 

mje1980

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Plus 1000. I started all grain brewing before raspberry pi, recirc pumps and wifi hydrometers. The beer was fine then and still is now. Some people enjoy the process, some people enjoy the beer and some enjoy both.
 

Kodos

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Great job cutting through the complexity and getting to the part of the hobby that you enjoy.

Reminds me of what Drew Beechum and Denny Conn often talk about on their Experimental Brewing podcast - if you're not enjoying it, you're doing it wrong. Much harder to remember than it sounds, when there's so much new information/equipment to try out!

It's the theme of their book which is on my reading list: Simple Brewing
 

beergee

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Great post.
As the Frozen song says, "Let it gooooo!"
 

philrob

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Good advice. I'm still using my total el cheapo 3V system I built 14 years ago. I've no desire to spend anything more. I brew, I make beer, I drink beer. It's all good.
 

theSeekerr

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As a perfectionist...I don't see how "stop caring about stuff" is remotely an answer? Yes, perfectionism is a pain, but it's also the way I enjoy things... doing it without fussing about every little thing doesn't make it more fun, it just makes me wonder why I'm doing it at all. Things aint worth doing if I'm not going to do them right.
 
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johnsnakeclark

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Sounds like getting into audio, the more you spend won't necessarily equate to a better end product, diminishing returns.

My current goal is to produce a half decent beer with either FWK or extract tins I can drink in between buying expensive hazy IPAs..
 

Danscraftbeer

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I dont consider myself to be a perfectionist but I do try my best every time. Letting things go to a less care factor is not a good direction IMO. Consistency is so important so all those little details like yeast calculations and all the other calculations, timings, details are necessary for me to continue enjoying it. Rather than resulting in inconsistencies which would be when I get disappointed. I have brewed with an esky, 55lt keggle, no pumps, no timers for years and feel no need to upgrade. Software is essential IMO. For consitancy and the fact that the software practically elevated me from clueless newb to intermediate/advanced brewer.
No offense but I didn't really relate to a lot of that OP philosophy. I do advicate ofr KISS is a good philosophy too but I'd think a lot of loose kind of home brewers could think my ways are complicated. Not complicated for me, its necessary for my enjoyment.
 

Luxo_Aussie

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I don't consider myself to be a perfectionist but I do try my best every time. Letting things go to a less care factor is not a good direction IMO. Consistency is so important so all those little details like yeast calculations and all the other calculations, timings, details are necessary for me to continue enjoying it. Rather than resulting in inconsistencies which would be when I get disappointed. I have brewed with an esky, 55lt keggle, no pumps, no timers for years and feel no need to upgrade. Software is essential IMO. For consistency and the fact that the software practically elevated me from clueless newb to intermediate/advanced brewer.
No offense but I didn't really relate to a lot of that OP philosophy. I do advocate for KISS is a good philosophy too but I'd think a lot of loose kind of home brewers could think my ways are complicated. Not complicated for me, its necessary for my enjoyment.
+1. Yes, it's a lot of work and a bit stressful but taking the extra steps (detailed research, recipe design, measurements & records) of everything means that at tasting you can ascertain what's working and what needs improving. I've found that the more effort, the better the outcome. I can't brew every day, so if I'm going to create something there's no point in not trying to make it as excellent as possible. As Walter White would say "No half measures."
 

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