5 Steps to Becoming a Terrible Brewer


The path to terrible brewing starts here.

Do you wish you were a terrible brewer? Do you want to keep all your beer to yourself because nobody else will drink it? Do you want to be able to walk around freely, not emcumbered by clunky brewing medals? Well, you’ve come to the right place for advice. Here, for the first time ever, are the top 5 steps that will ensure that you — yes, you — can be a terrible brewer.

5.) Ignore Cleaning and Sanitation

Cleaning is time consuming and dull. So is sanitation. A truly terrible brewer isn’t going to be cowed by all those “experts” who say that your equipment needs to be spotless to brew good beer. If the previous beer tasted fine, don’t worry about cleaning the keg, just refill it. And if they meant for you to actually clean the insides of carboys, someone would have invented a carboy brush by now, now wouldn’t they? Just rinse it out. Terrible brewers don’t have time for this menial stuff.

4.) Focus on Things Other Than How Your Beer Tastes

Sure, the flavor of beer is important. But terrible brewers will look beyond this, the main point of brewing beer, and focus on other aspects of the process. For example, you could start to obsess about your extract efficiency. Achieving the highest extract efficiency in your club would be a real feather in your cap. (And all those guys who say your beer tastes astringent from oversparging are just jealous.) Your obsession doesn’t have to be extract efficiency, it could be anything that is worthwhile, but needs to be examined in the context of the big picture. Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming, though. So terrible brewers focus on some details at the expense of others. It’s all so clear this way.

3.) Don’t Listen to Others

It should be clear by now that a terrible brewer is a free spirit. Unlike good brewers, always eager to learn from other accomplished brewers, a terrible brewer charts his own course. A terrible brewer ignores it when others say, “This is pretty good, but could use a better malt backbone,” “If you fermented this at a lower temperature, it wouldn’t taste like nail polish remover” or “Hey Bill, don’t stand so close to the propane burner, your pants are on fire.” Good brewers stand on the shoulders of giants. Terrible brewers stand in their shade, where it’s cooler.

2.) Don’t Take Notes

Brewing is a fine art. When the terrible master brewer is creating, he can’t be bothered with taking notes. A lot of details go into every brewing session . . . and can you believe some poindexters want to write them all down? A good brewer realizes that the information he gains on the specifics of his brewing setup is invaluable to improving. A terrible brewer, however, trusts that the brewing muses will remind him of details if they were really that important. Besides, can you imagine how much exercise Sisyphus got from rolling that rock up the hill over and over? That dude must have been ripped!

1.) Don’t Learn Anything New

A good brewer realizes that becoming a better brewer is a long, sometimes hard, but ultimately rewarding process. And one of the key ways to get better is to always be learning more about the craft and science of brewing. A terrible brewer sees through all of that and knows that the way he learned to brew is The One True Way of Brewing[tm] and doesn’t deviate from it. I mean, if the 20-year-old sheet from my homebrew shop says to leave the bag of specialty grains in the brewpot until it comes to a boil, that’s how it is done, isn’t it? It says so right here in black and white. They wouldn’t have written it on the sheet if it weren’t The Truth[tm]. Good brewers can keep their long journey to brewing perfection. Terrible brewers realize that their outdated brewing instructions can still be read through the barleywine stains, it’s a short journey to the couch and Dancing with the Stars is on in 5 minutes.



  1. Now I know why I brew such great beer, 😉

  2. Herb Meowing says

    Sour beer was once ostracized just like nail polish remover is now.

    NPR is an acquired taste.
    Lead or get out of the way!


    • Chris Colby says

      Hehe. Even if people started to like the aroma and flavor of nail polish remover in their beer, the fact that the “fusel oils” that cause it also induce headaches would probably keep it from catching on.

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