Tuesday, March 17, 2009

15 Gallons and not an ounce for me

As many of you may know, I have an excellent hobby that I have enjoyed for several years now. I make beer at home...also called, "homebrewing". I also occasionally make wine but I make way more beer than wine. I have made some relatively unusual beers like Blueberry Wheat Beer, Peach Wheat, Strawberry Pilsner and a Chocolate Stout. I have also made some very usual beers like an American Lager, Mexican Style Lager, Irish Red Ale, Brown Ale and a German Pilsner.

So many lessons of life can be learned by seeing and understanding the really cool intricacies of brewing. For example, really small changes or decisions can create major differences in the finished product. If you fail to clean a single spoon or if you allow a single bacteria to get inside the beer it can cause you to have to poor out every drop of it and start over. But you can't be scared of that...you have to branch out and be fun, adventurous and even a bit creative. You can't brew and be scared of what may go wrong...at least not if you want to have fun and enjoy the hobby. It is better to not take yourself too seriously and play to win rather than playing not to lose. See how cool that lesson is...and all from brewing beer!

There is a more specific lesson...or maybe manifestation is a better word...happening in my brewing world right now. I currently have 15 gallons fermenting. A Trappist Style Belgian Ale is in the earliest stages of yeast being hyperactive (which is a really good thing). A Strawberry Pilsner just started secondary fermentation and is really active as well thanks to the sugar in the strawberries I added two nights ago. A Mexican Lager is almost finished with secondary fermentation...the yeast has all settled at the bottom and it is ready for bottling any day now.

There are 5 gallons in each batch for a grand total of 15 gallons of beer. For those of you who don't care to do the math, that is well over 150 12-ounce bottles of beer or over 6 cases of beer. What is really cool to me is that I will probably not drink the first bottle of those brews. It seems that some people really enjoy the beer I make and as such, have requested that I make them some.

The Mex. Lager is going to a Horse Farm in North Alabama so my friends there can have something refreshing to enjoy after a long day of work and fun. The Strawberry Pilsner is what I like to call Cana Beer...as in the the location where Jesus turned water into wine. My friend Tyler is getting married next month and that beer will be served at his reception. The Trappist Style Ale is for a friend of mine that recently found out his wife is unexpectedly pregnant. It is a huge surprise as they already have 2 small kids...and she is prego with twins!!! That's enough to make anyone drink.

So anyway, I have been reflecting on how we can use our gifts to bless other people...maybe for a special event like a wedding or maybe just for a daily reminder. I have spiritual gifts and gifts that I just enjoy giving that aren't necessarily spiritual. I can't figure out which category to put the homebrewed beer in yet. When I figure it out, I will report back to you.

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