Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dunning-Kruger Bliss

"In the field of psychology, the Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias, wherein a persons of low ability suffer from illusory superiority when they mistakenly asses their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence. 

... the corollary to the Dunning-Kruger effect indicates that persons of high-ability tend to underestimate their relative competence, and erroneously presume that tasks that are easy for them to perform also are easy for other people to perform."

Since starting my job at Grain & Grape I've learnt two pretty important things:

- I know absolutely nothing.

- Most people also know absolutely nothing.

This, on one hand, is very humbling and on the other, very exciting. For those who find the language in the quote above a bit ridiculous, the basic concept of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that you are more confident in your ability and knowledge when you don't know shit and you end up being the annoying guy at the bar attempting to assess how many grams per litre of supposedly Galaxy hops are in that obviously Mosaic hopped pale ale, and then if you do know shit you realise how little you actually know and don't flaunt your knowledge around because really, no one knows what hop is in that beer until they are told*.

Now, I'm not trying to say I'm so full of knowledge now that I have surpassed being that guy, but i certainly know a lot more now than I did in my last blog post (which was too long ago, again, I'm sorry). I also have gotten to the point of making beers that I am consistently happy with. This may not sound like such an achievement, but for those of us who brew, I'm sure you understand how easily it is to be the harshest critic of your own product.

So what's been going on then?

Well, I've completely upgraded my system

So yeah, a three vessel keggle system (most of which I bought off Matt from G&G) with a hot liquor tank that I built myself (with help from Matt from G&G):

It works really great, it allows me more time to focus on the beer and not worry so much about variables in my equipment. It's not perfect, and it never will be: another important lesson I've learned working in a homebrewing shop is that unless you're a kit and a kilo brewer or you're super rich, your system will never be complete.

"So what's this blog post all about?" you might ask...

Honestly, it's not about much. I do a lot of thinking about homebrewing now, and I talk to a lot of people about it. One of the best things about it is that it is a hobby, there are no expectations. I'm probably the least knowledgeable brewer at the shop, but I feel like that's fine. If someone wants to know about the exact science of how enzymes break down complex sugar chains* then there's someone I can pass them on to, but 95% of customers I can help, because most of the customers just want some good advice from someone who enjoys the hobby as much as them.

So what's next? I'm going to keep brewing mid strength pale ales, because I love the social aspect of beer brewing. I love the history of beer too, and have recently been thinking about moving away from hops and trying some gruit style beers, which I will document well and post here on this blog.

Thanks for reading!

- Oscar

* Maybe the dunning-kruger effect in full swing.

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