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 â€œAnticipationâ€ by Carly Simon; a top twenty radio standard from 1971, which relates the artistâ€™s state of mind as she awaited going on a date with superstar Cat Stephens.Â The song was resurrected as a soundtrack for a Heinz ketchup commercial in the late 1970â€™s.
Well, â€œanticipationâ€ seems an apt way to summarize my feelings each time I cook up a new batch of homebrewed beer.Â Being an adventurous rookie brewer, I have yet to brew the same style of beer twice.Â 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.Â I suppose you might say I am still seeking to find my â€œfavoriteâ€ style of homebrew.
Well then, the flipside of the coin is a certain nervous â€œanticipationâ€ while awaiting the results of my latest â€œexperimentâ€.Â Since Iâ€™m â€œbreaking new groundâ€, at least for me; there is always that nagging uncertainty that it wonâ€™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.Â I catch myself second-guessing myself about flavoring adjuncts or dry hopping.Â 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 canâ€™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.Â I get a salient satisfaction in discovering that my brew is not â€œhalf-badâ€ at those junctures, and in â€œanticipatingâ€ the â€œfinal answerâ€.Â Â Taking this whole construct one step further, I anxiously await, or â€œanticipateâ€ the feedback I will receive from the sharing of my product with family, friends, and with my home-brewing compatriots. Donâ€™t you feel the same?
So then, how do YOU spell â€œANTICIPATIONâ€?
Jerry â€œBuckwheatâ€ Buckley
Anticipation, anticipation, is makin’ me late, s keepin’ me waitin’-Carly Simon
Editorâ€™s note: even though this song WAS used by Heinz there is no truth to the rumor that Jerry has
done â€œsomething stupid,â€ like he often says, in his beer at the end, like adding ketchupâ€¦ YET.