I’ve recently found myself totally addicted to homebrewing. I confess – I can’t bake to save my life (why do baking soda and baking powder sound so similar? Ugh!) but making mead is more like cooking on the stove – just throw some stuff in and see what happens. Of course guidelines are important, but it’s not the kind of thing that’ll be ruined if I don’t precisely measure. Plus, I get to drink before, during, and after I brew? Guys, this is honestly the perfect hobby.
Whoa, hang on a sec. Before you get all excited and quit your day job, you should do a quick check to make sure you’ll be able to hack it. Homebrewing is fun and mead is especially hard to f*** up, but sometimes things do go wrong. Do you have the skills needed for homebrewing?
Important Homebrew Skills
Attention to detail – while it’s true, there are a ton of fun ways to experiment with mead, you shouldn’t ever experiment with sanitation. Be diligent when it comes to cleaning.
Creativity – while your science brain was doing all the work for the cleaning stages, it’s your artist’s brain that will come up with fun ingredient combos. While there’s a chance it’ll be gross, there’s also a chance it’ll be amazing, and waiting all that time to taste an amazing brew that you made all on your own using your own concoction of ingredients is THE BEST.
Curiosity – if you hate learning, homebrewing isn’t for you. You’re gonna be part scientist and part magician, so wherever you are is a great start, as long as you keep an open mind and have a hunger for learning more in order to overcome problems and craft a better brew.
Problem Solving – sometimes something is just off a touch, and you can make an adjustment. Sometimes something went horribly wrong, and you have to ditch the whole batch. Either way, you need to know how to identify the problem so you can avoid repeating it in the future. If you don’t know what caused the problem, go visit any of the extensive forums for brewers like you and see if someone’s already asked your question, or submit it to the community.
Good attitude – If you’re not having fun, what’s the point? If things go wrong and you have to ditch a batch, just take it as a lesson and start again. Get excited and find others to share your passion (or your brew) with.
Feeling ready to dive into meadmaking? I really love Jereme Zimmerman’s How to Make Mead Like a Viking, which explains the how, what, and the why much more indepthly than ordinary recipe books do.
Want to try an easy and fun recipe to get started? Try out our Yule mead, which will be ready in time for next Christmas.
What skills do you think a homebrewer needs? Tell us in the comments.