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The Pitfalls of Expediency

Has your brew day been reduced to a few hours, leaving you to opt for efficiency over precision in your brewing? Based on his experience, Eric Reinsvold offers you some “expert” tips on avoiding some of the pitfalls of this approach.

Eric Reinsvold Aug 10, 2016 - 8 min read

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I used to be very dogmatic about my brewing. I would draft recipes following strict guidelines after having reviewed dozens of sources. I’d measure specific grain weights to the nearest half ounce (one does not simply substitute Briess Caramel 20L with Weyerman’s Carared20L). I excessively toiled over hitting my mash temperature while reviewing three different thermometers placed at varying depths. Despite attempts to plan and tightly control the process, there would always be that metaphorical Liège fortification that would stymie my advance on Paris.

Through practice, though, these issues became small and never caused much of a headache. However, something has changed, and recent brew days are full of World War One–era Belgian bastions requiring 420 mm cannon fire for pacification. The change is time—I no longer have the luxury of a “brew day.” Life has turned this sacred time dedicated to fretting over beer into a 4-hour window filled with constant interruptions and distractions. I must attempt to wage a two-front war, hoping to deal a decisive blow on the Western Front for homebrew before dealing with the slog of the East. All notions of tradition and precision are sacrificed in the name of efficiency.

However, efficiency is a fickle tactic, and if you don’t handle it with care, it can leave your flank exposed, resulting in more mistakes and an even longer brew day than the most dire scenarios could have predicted. The following bits of “wisdom” are designed to help every stressed brewer avoid the many pitfalls of expediency.

Never mill your grain at a local brewery.

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