It was finally time. My beer had boiled, it had strained. It had been abused, bottled, and cast away. And it had waited, in darkness, for three weeks. The yeast were sleepy and full, but I was thirsty. It was time to drink.
I was tense cracking open my first bottle of homebrew. So much of the process had been out of my hands, left up to bacteria and time. And what parts I did “control” didn’t really build my confidence either. What waited for me inside that bottle was hard to guess, but there was no doubt I’d be drinking it.
It all started quickly. The moment I popped the cap, there was a geyserly explosion of milk chocolate fizz. Lots of it, and for a long time. My heart sank a little to see such a sure sign of faulty bottling, but at the same time… I HAD CREATED CARBONATION! This give and take of disappointment and utter amazement characterized almost every element of the beer. The initial explosion left what remained pretty flat, and the flavor – which for sure had the promised notes of chocolate and maple – was a little off. Sort of sour, probably too yeasty, just not fully developed.
But it didn’t matter – I had made beer. It had jumped out of the bottle to meet me, and it hadn’t made me violently ill. In fact, I got a little buzz from it… yes, it had done its job. I should probably give the yeast the credit for making alcohol, but I’m taking that too. And why not? It’s mine after all.
For as humbling as the whole ordeal was (very), it was completely worth it. Forget the whole learning-process element, it just felt magical to make the stuff – to see it fizz out of the bottle and to take that first sip. I can only imagine the feeling once I actually know what I’m doing.