Written by Jerry Buckley for The Brew-Score and professorgoodales.net
Those of us who have been around long enough to have a little (or a lot) of gray around the temples, can surely remember the hit song “Anticipation” by Carly Simon; a top twenty radio standard from 1971, which relates the artist’s state of mind as she awaited going on a date with superstar Cat Stephens. The song was resurrected as a soundtrack for a Heinz ketchup commercial in the late 1970’s.
Well, “anticipation” seems an apt way to summarize my feelings each time I cook up a new batch of homebrewed beer. Being an adventurous rookie brewer, I have yet to brew the same style of beer twice. Each brew day finds me seeking to expand my repertoire, searching for a certain self-fulfillment of doing something a bit different from the standard fare. I suppose you might say I am still seeking to find my “favorite” style of homebrew.
Well then, the flipside of the coin is a certain nervous “anticipation” while awaiting the results of my latest “experiment”. Since I’m “breaking new ground”, at least for me; there is always that nagging uncertainty that it won’t turn out quite according to Hoyle; that it will have off- flavors; or end up just downright funky.
I find myself continually checking on the appearance of my new concoction while it bides its time in the carboy; observing the activity of the yeast upon the wort, gauging the degree of attenuation and flocculation. I catch myself second-guessing myself about flavoring adjuncts or dry hopping. In the case of my recent cold weather attempts at laagering, I am continually replenishing the ice bottles in the immersion igloo in my cool attic, where I age my brew: each time sneaking a peak at the progress.
Furthermore, while I have brewed long enough to have come to the realization that most of my efforts bear good fruit by the third week of bottle conditioning; I can’t resist the temptation to open a bottle early, say a week into its sojourn, and then another at ten days, and yet again at a fortnight. I get a salient satisfaction in discovering that my brew is not “half-bad” at those junctures, and in “anticipating” the “final answer”. Taking this whole construct one step further, I anxiously await, or “anticipate” the feedback I will receive from the sharing of my product with family, friends, and with my home-brewing compatriots. Don’t you feel the same?
So then, how do YOU spell “ANTICIPATION”?
Jerry “Buckwheat” Buckley
Anticipation, anticipation, is makin’ me late, s keepin’ me waitin’-Carly Simon
Editor’s note: even though this song WAS used by Heinz there is no truth to the rumor that Jerry has
done “something stupid,” like he often says, in his beer at the end, like adding ketchup… YET.