Monday, January 16, 2012

A brewer, on the roof

One of my favorite scenes in the movie "Fiddler on the Roof" is a scene where Tevia's daughter and her secret fiance come to Tevia to confess their love and ask his blessing for the marriage. Tevia, torn between the audacity of the couple's arrangement of the marriage without the family's consent and the desire to see his daughter happily married, goes through this whole internal monologue where he considers the pros and cons. On the one hand, they did so, but on the other hand, they are so, but on the other hand, how dare they, and so on.

I think about this scene whenever I brew. And particularly when I bottle a beer. I look at the rows of neatly stacked bottles and think "On the one hand, this is a good recipe, but on the other hand, I think the grain wasn't quite right. I made new sanitizer solution to try to get things as sanitary as possible, but on the other hand, it did geyser out of the fermentor and blow the lid. I double-rinsed and sanitized the bottles and flamed the tops, but on the other hand, a couple of the caps did slip off before I managed to get them on. And so on, and so forth.

Yesterday I bottled my McGeyser beer, which is a Scotch Ale with an expected aging period of six months to two years. I worked hard on this beer, and given that it was a small batch (12L) it has probably one of the highest work per bottle ratios of any brew I made. I went all out with the sanitation: I made new sanitizer for both the brew and the bottling, I liberally flamed any glass surface I saw (with a blow torch, no less, no dinky lighter for my beer!). I even put hand-sanitizer lotion on my hands before handling the caps. But still, the questions remain... Did I do everything I could? Did I do too much? Will my beer be happy, or did I just make a batch of really expensive vinegar?

Am I just paranoid or do these questions plague everyone?

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