The Zen of Fermentation: Try Not to Think About It

You will very likely go mad during your first beer’s fermentation, the fifth essential step in brewing beer. Don’t feel bad if you do: It happens to all of us.

You will probably wonder whether you did something wrong if the airlock doesn’t commence bubbling within a few hours of your having pitched yeast. Or you might open the lid after a week, find yourself horrified at the ring of goop lining the fermentor, and wonder if your beer has become infected.

There’s a reason that Charlie Papazian, author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, instructs readers, “Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew (RDWHAHB).” All of your instincts are to become alarmed and anxious, but part of the journey that is homebrewing is heeding the advice of such legends as Papazian and Matisse.

Ignore your instincts. Resist the urge to obsess over your fermenting beer. There’s virtually nothing you can do about it once fermentation starts anyway, aside from a few minor tweaks that may or may not do much. So try not to think about it.

But before you can not think about it, you need to add some yeast.