• What to do with a Crappy Brew

    Sometimes, despite all the care and love lavished, your homebrew will just suck.

    There's a sense of eager anticipation when, after weeks of waiting, you crack the first bottle in the batch.  I like to plant myself in front of the weekend footy on telly.   Wait until the game's settled into a rhythm, then carefully pour a nice pint.  Make sure the head is just right.  Hold it to the light.  Nice colour, no sediment, good.  Gentle streams of carbonation.  Cold glass to lips...ahhh.

    Or, arrrgh!  Sometimes it's just not right.  Even though you really want it to be and you tell yourself the aroma of bin juice adds complexity and the taste of stale chunder is actually just robust character.

    So what to do?  Pouring it down the drain might be the rational thing to do, but oh it hurts, there must be a better way.  And there is!  Years of hard won experience have taught many preferable alternatives to admitting defeat and dumping.

    The best technique will depend on just how rank your beer is.  If it's only a bit rubbish, simply chill it really really cold.  This may render your brew quite drinkable by anaesthetising your tastebuds.  The colder the better, just don't freeze it.  It works for VB and it just may work for your manky brew too.

    Drinking very fast can also help, as the offending beverage will have less time to register.  Almost complete sensory deprivation can be achieved by the further step of applying a clothes peg to the nose. Admittedly this can be a little uncomfortable, but the speed drinking will assist.

    Another way salvage your pride & joy is the Snakebite technique.  Dilute your crappy beer with cider, overpower it with red drink mix and pretend it's a fun throwback to your teenage years.

    Speaking of teenagers, if you have some handy they can be a very effective way to dispose of any brew that's completely unfit for human consumption.  Most often broke, usually thirsty and always undiscerning, they may even thank you for your foul swill.

    Your local homeless dero may also prove an appreciative recipient.  You could even sort out a "swap a bottle" arrangement where he (it's always he) keeps his empty longnecks for you.  If he has a bender you could find yourself with a whole new set to pass on to a newby brewer...everyone's a winner!  I pass at least three of these guys while walking to the office each morning.  They're friendly enough and I'm sure would be happy to take the occasional bottle instead of the coffee change I sometimes drop them.

    The garden offers some good opportunities to upcycle your subpar beer.  Fill shallow jars or dishes and leave around your leafy greens to effectively control slugs and snails.  Don't feel bad, they die happy.  As will the flies and insects that will swarm to your beer baited fruit fly trap, the worse it smells the better.  These uses will, however, only use quite small amounts of your dodgy batch.

    To dispose of larger quantities, you could consider a beer bath.  Bathing in warm beer has been used a health spa treatment for centuires in parts of central Europe, with claimed benefits including increased circulation and regeneration of skin and hair.  Heating that much beer to the recommended 37 degrees will likely prove challenging.  This is a more advanced beer disposal techinque, perhaps one to first experiment with on the pets or kids.

    Remember, life is too short to drink crappy beer.  Inflict it on someone or something else.

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