From the HBD Archive
From: Dances with Workstations <buchman@marva1.ENET.DEC.COM>
Subject: RE: Homebrew Digest #857 (April 06, 1992)
Date: 1992-04-06 22:38:13 GMT

Hi Jack,
I would like to respectfully differ with your definition of a
"brewer" as (necessarily) one who mashes the grain rather than using

> It is more like the difference between baking with cake
> mixes and baking from scratch. Women/cooks accept the difference, why can't
> homebrewers?

This is a very good analogy, since both involve producing a food product
from grain; but I would propose that the person baking a cake from "scratch"
is much more like an extract brewer. Malt extract is our "flour". Whole grain
brewers are people who grind their own flour before beginning to bake. Both
of these people are obviously baking. My extract beers are brewed by
following fairly complex procedures to control parameters for bitterness,
strength, flavor, color, aroma, and other factors; it is much more complex
a process than baking a cake from mix. And some of my recipes include
a pound or two of specialty grains.

A cake mix person would be like the brewer who
buys one of those gizmoes where all you do is add the appropriate amount
of water, put it in a dark place, and drink your beer three weeks later.
Such kits were described in the digest last year, though I've never
seen one. Even this person is "brewing".

> Although the definition of a "real homebrewer" might be subject to debate, I
> don't think there can be much debate about the fact that making extract beer
> is NOT really brewing.

There can be plenty of debate. What is "brewing", after all? It is producing
beer, an alcoholic beverage, from fermentable ingredients in a controlled
fashion. The first half of Papazian's book discusses brewing from extract.
It ain't called The Complete Joy of Home Beer-Making.

> That's not to say it isn't fun, rewarding and great
> beer, just that mashing is a fundamental step in the brewing process, without
> which, one is simply making beer.

Why draw the line at mashing? Granted that it gives you control of more
factors and is greatly rewarding, and I'm looking forward to my first
full mash brew. But malting is even more fundamental to the brewing
process. Shouldn't real brewers also malt?

And what about kegging ? It can be argued that you're not really brewing
in the traditional sense if you then condition your product in bottles.
I've heard it said on the digest that "it isn't really Guinness unless
it's on draft [in Ireland]" (that was before Guinness Draught in cans).

You can draw the line in a lot of places; but what I've always liked about
this digest is that people seldom do. We all brew, and we all love to
talk about it. It's great to be able to exchange views with the likes of
George Fix and Charlie P. in this kind of forum.

(but this does open the possibility of a deluge of slogans along the "REAL
men" or "REAL" programmers line. e.g.,
"REAL brewers don't use starters. If the yeast doesn't like my beer,
it doesn't deserve it."
"REAL brewers don't use hops pellets. How can you tell it from turtle food?)
Jim "I'm a brewer" Buchman

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