This month the Session is hosted by `Glen Humphries from Beer is your Friend. The subject of this month’s Session is Compulsion.
It’s called The Sessions. It’s also called Beer Blogging Friday. In my head it’s also called ‘‘an excuse for me to crap on and think I’m being entertaining’’. What happens is beer bloggers from all around the world write a blog on the same day about the same subject.
Now, you don’t need to be psychic and somehow know what that subject is to take part. That subject is chosen by whoever is hosting that month’s Session. They also write their own blog entry, then read all the responses and post a round-up in which they say nice things about everybody.
What do you want from me?
I want you to write me a blog post on the subject of compulsion as it relates to beer. The idea for this Session topic partially arose from the Beer Audit session Adam at Pints and Pubs hosted a few months ago. In my effort and those of a few other bloggers, idea of buying more beer than we need was touched on. Writing about buying heaps of beer got me thinking about just what it is that compels me to keep buying beer.
Like most beer fans, I tend to buy way more beer than I can drink. I can have a fridge full, plus a few boxes of bottles, plus homebrew and still I’ll walk into a shop and buy some more. Or order some more online. Or do both in the space of a few days.
There are so many parts of this beer compulsion that can lead to beer insanity. Most of the time I have brewed enough to ensure I have a decent amount of variety in the cold room. What is a decent variety you ask? That is enough beer on hand to equal roughly 10 to 12 cases. When you consider that the standard home brew batch is 5 gallons or roughly 2 cases of beer, that means that I would normally have about 5-6 batches of beer available at any given time.
This does factor in such things as meads and ciders too. Having these on hand adds to the variety available at any given time. Of course then you have to factor in the random beers bought at the beer store. And then there is the times when you can make it to the bar.
The thing is, I seem to have had my beer for storage and my beer for drinking. Many times I have cases of beers that will be aging anywhere from 6 months to a year. Not because they are undrinkable, but because they are higher in alcohol and their flavors need to age and mellow. When it comes to items like mead and cider, they tend to be best after that first year of bottle aging.
With that in mind, it seems obvious that you need to have beer on hand that is available to drink while waiting for the other stuff to become ready for drinking. There is an old saying for wine, “Whites are what you drink while waiting for your reds to mature.” This is just as true for different beers and such as well. You need to supply yourself with small beers or beers from others while waiting for your bigger beers to mature.
So where does insanity come into all this?
1st: You have to keep it all straight. Do you have records showing when various bottles should be ready? Do you have enough kegs to flip out different batches so you can bottle aging beers and still have room for drinking beers.
2nd: You know you want to sample that beer that has been sitting on the shelf for the past six months. But you know it isn’t quite ready yet. But it should be tasty anyway. But if you drink it now you won’t have it when it is fully matured and has reached that stage of sublime flavors.
3rd: Do you have enough bottles right now to age another batch of beer in? How about wine bottles for mead? If you don’t brew now you won’t have anything available next year. And then you still need to brew now for the space that will be opening up within the next couple weeks.
The compulsion is a never ending balancing act to ensure you have just enough beers ready for drinking at any given time. You have to position yourself so that your supply never runs out.
The worst case scenario is when you just haven’t had a chance to brew in a month or two and your supply has dwindled. What do you do then? When you reach that point that you only have five cases of beer in the house, and you don’t have anything on the burner to ensure you will have a new supply coming in, where do you turn then?
Think about it…
Time for a pint…