When I started brewing, it was with amazement that I could actually make beer. And I did. And the first beer I made I threw down the sink it was so disgusting.

But I learnt quickly and soon made beers I loved more than commercial beers. I built a fermentation chamber, bought a beer server, and went full blown equipment crazy.

I went from simple to complex. I was doing everything – grinding my grain, mashing in a mash tun, cooling that was past the ice(bag) age with a pump and a plate chiller – and it was fantastic. I was making delicious beer.

And then it went from fun to being a chore. The novelty wore off.

My brew days were longer. I could no longer brew without dedicating a day.

I was spending less time on recipes and more on process.

But I kept with it. Kept with it for years. That’s the way we brew, right?

Recently it came to a head though. I realised: I don’t enjoy this anymore.

I enjoy the formulating of recipes and seeing how they turn out. But I don’t enjoy the length and mendokusai-ness of the process.

After 50+ brews, I feel I know how to control mash temps. I know how to hop. I know how to cool.

I don’t feel I need to prove it to myself over and over.

I don’t want to lose a day of my life every time I brew.

I want to concentrate on recipes and in enjoying the beer I brew.

I want brewing to be fun again.





Pilsner Malt
Maris Otter

Now all I need is the malt mill. Hopefully I will have one next week.

Just read the most pointless article about Beer in Japan ever in Beers of the World, issue 22. Three – yes, just three – craft breweries are mentioned: Baird, Minoh, and Hakusekikan. Minoh and Hakusekikan get a sentence each, and Baird – which, let’s face it, is about as Japanese as Turning Japanese by The Vapours – gets a couple of paragraphs. The only bar mentioned is Popeye.

Jesus – there’s not even a single mention of:

  • Kiuchi – the first and still the largest craft brewery to export from Japan, and the only one to have beer sold in the UK (restaurants in London)
  • Yoho – owner trained with Stone, maker of Yona Yona, Tokyo Black, and Aooni which are some of the few craft beers available in convenience stores
  • Ginga-kogen – again, high availability
  • Shiga-kogen – makes the best IPA in Japan
  • Ezo – made outside Japan by Rogue but for the Japanese market

It also doesn’t mention the international craft beer scene in Japan.

Way to go – write an article on Japanese beers, recommend the commercial available crap, interview the most non-Japanese brewer in Japan just because he’s the only one you can find who speaks English (there are more, but that would take research), and mention only one bar.

If anyone knows Matthew Knott personally, give him a slap from me will you?

I have new found sympathy for British Rail.

I was having a perfect brew day and suddenly when I go to pump the wort through the plate chiller I get no flow for about 30 seconds then this happens:

Hops in the line

Hops in the line

My hop protection must have fallen out.

Hop protection

Hop protection

No change of cooling in the sink with 23L or so of wort. I should probably leave it to cool at room temp, but instead I’m trickling it down to the primary and once it’s all moved, I’ll stick it in the fridge to cool.

Helios Goya Dry from Okinawa

Helios Goya Dry from Okinawa

A couple of beers to relax…

K's Brewing Company - The Brewmaster Fukuoka Blonde Dry

K's Brewing Company - The Brewmaster Fukuoka Blonde Dry

…and then I better clean up.

Nice beers these actually: Helios is dry, not so bitter, and has good flavour (not what I expected from a beer made with goya, a bitter Japanese vegetable); K’s Blonde Dry is lovely and dry with almost a honey aftertaste.

Not just nice – damn good beers actually. Wish I had more bottles of them both. Looks like Helios have a pub in Okinawa also – I’ve been wanting to go to Okinawa for a while, now I have a beer reason to go there it might actually happen!

Beer is a repeast of #18: Don’t Mention The War Pilsner. Full details some other time – need to clean up now.

Just had a Cabos & Honey also – bitter and very sweet; OK but don’t think I couldn’t drink a lot. The lady likes it though.

Homebrew Japan on the iPhone

Homebrew Japan on the iPhone

I’ve installed the awesome WPtouch plug-in which gives HBJ an iPhone/mobile friendly interface – no more waiting for pages to load, scrolling around, etc.

It looks pretty good but it may have some issues. Any problems – let me know. Of course unless you’re using a mobile device you wont see any difference…

…does the purchasing ever end?

Portable beer server

Portable beer server

A portable beer server. About half the size of a 5G keg and using no electricity – fill it with ice, connect to a keg, and you’ve got chilled beer… anywhere.



A bit more expensive that I’d like to have paid – but it’s new, not second hand. And for a new unit, the price was good – I’ve seen people pay more for these second hand than I paid new…

Regulator, Asahi coupler, pipes, etc...

Regulator, Asahi coupler, pipes, etc...

…and it comes with a brand new regulator and Asahi coupler (which fits all Japanese craft beer kegs). I could potentially sell those on for more than 10,000 yen for the two of them – though actually I’m unlikely to be bothered to do so unless someone I know wants to buy them.

Of course for true portability, I really need a mini-gas adapter and mini-gas cannister – around 7000 yen for the pair – so I don’t need to lug around a large CO2 tank. But whether I’ll buy those, I’m not sure. My main reason for getting this is that it uses no electricity – which means that if I do move overseas, I’ll be able to take this with me. I wouldn’t be able to take the mini-gas stuff with me, so I might hold off buying it.

The purchasing stops here. Honest. Unless I need to use this in the park, then I’ll get a mini-gas adapter and cannister – but then it stops. Really.

Freshly bottled beer

Freshly bottled beer

Thinking to homebrew in Japan? Over at Beer in Japan I’ve written a guide to finding homebrew supplies in Japan, building a kit, and some tips for making your first beer: Homebrewing in Japan.

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