Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Maybe kegging my own beer isn't such a good idea

If you recall, I recently acquired all of the items necessary to keg my own beer. This was one of the best days in my brewing world ever. I immediately kegged a bitter I had on hand in a secondary. I force carbonated it, and two days later I was drinking beer from a tap. Awesome!!!!

Maybe not so awesome.

The thing about drinking beer from a tap is that it is easy to lose track of how much one has consumed. The following is a cautionary tale.

Last week a colleague and fellow homebrewer came over to drink tap beer and discuss the upcoming academic year. She is one whose opinion I greatly respect so I like to bounce ideas off of her. My wife went to bed around 11 PM and my friend and I talked until 2:30 AM. That was great, but we drank homebrewed beer on tap the whole time. She left and I went to bed unaware of how much beer I had actually consumed. With tap beer, there are no empty bottles around to tally.

In the morning, I realized how much I had consumed. Too much. Way too much.

I like to drink beer, but I do not like getting drunk. Sure, I've been there before. There was a time in my life when that wasn't a problem. But now, I have no desire to drink to inebriation. I like to drink things that taste good.

Well, after the night of not paying attention to how easily the tap beer flowed, I paid a big price. I spent the entire day on the couch feeling like complete crap and being really pissed off at myself for such a frat boy mistake. I slept a lot as my liver worked overtime.

A few days later (I still felt icky), I had some other friends over. I gave them some of the beer. Unsolicited, they all claimed the beer was very strong. That may be the case, but it is still no defense for me getting totally destroyed.

So, my friends, if you ever keg your beer, pay attention to how much you drink. Don't top off your glass until it is empty and make a mental tally of how much you've had. Unless, or course, you don't mind spending the day in bed or on the couch. If so, do whatever you want, but don't say I didn't warn you.


Alcifer said...

Haha! I know what you mean. I have just brewed a low-strength beer (2.5% alc. vol.) to use when I am taking it easy. That is keg number 3, batch 75.

SavageSteve said...

Wait until you need the keg for something else, and then realize you still have a gallon or so of beer left in it that you need to drink quickly! :-) All kidding aside, you are completely right-- it is way too easy to overindulge in beer from a tap, especially with pint glasses that you fill to the brim (because you can).

milkshake said...

The most insidious are strong but watery beers, chilled. I have seen respectable people getting wasted on Rolling rock.

If you have the force carbonator maybe you can make a keg of awesome soda water - overcarbonated soda is incomparably better than the wimpy stuff that you get in the store. With some fruit syrup at hand the kids could be admited in your bar also.

Abel Pharmboy said...

I have my Cornelius rig sitting dormant downstairs, mostly because I lack the block of time to do much all-grain brewing. But I know the excitement of having near-immediately carbonated brew after years of waiting for 25 bombers to bottle-condition.

I've also made the same mistake out of exuberance.

Another good idea related to alcifer's low-strength beer is to make Charlie Papazian's Quarterbock recipe - 1 gal of a nice heavy brew that you then dilute to 4 gal post-fermentation. A lighter beer with all the notes conferred by yeast fermenting a high-gravity wort.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

WHAT?!?! You didn't learn this lesson in college? I spent many a Saturday morning praying that GAWD would just kill me now instead of giving me a slow death from the pounding in my head. And it was all because some fool said something about getting a keg for the evening...
Ahhhhh college :-)

Ps glad to hear you are somewhat recovered.

Chemgeek said...

Oh, I was taught this lesson all too often in college and all too often I didn't learn anything.

That's what annoyed me the most. I should know better. Bad stuff happens when you put your guard down.