Today I am wearing my lucky Wednesday socks. You may think it strange that me, a man of science would have superstitions. Brewing is an art which relies to varying degrees on luck. Sometimes in the best run breweries where everything is measured and controlled the biological nature of the process leads to a change which is undesirable. In fact undesirable doesn’t cover it, a living hell and a waking nightmare comes closer.
Since I have been brewing I have accumulated a laughable range of superstitions. The day begins with getting up at a time where the minutes are not 13. 5:15 is fine, 5:13 spells disaster. The lucky socks are then donned with the right one worn inside out. The magpies encountered on the way into work must be saluted, called lovely, and asked how their wives are. I must then spit and touch blue then black. Also on my route in I must weave in and out to avoid the manholes in the road. This superstition has led to a few near misses and one finger greetings from oncoming motorists.
On arrival I must follow my usual routine of checks and later when I read the micro results this must be done in a specific order starting with getting the anaerobic bag out of the incubator. The time 11:11 is lucky and I try to look at clocks around this time. Unfortunately eleven thirteen (I can’t write the numerals out or this post will be blighted) is very unlucky, so my timing must be good. The brewery boiler is kept running by a rusty horseshoe on the burner cover. This horseshoe was moved across from the old burner when we up-scaled. It has not proven to be overly effective over the years but we persevere.
Should my superstitions not do the trick I hedge my bets by working hard and maintaining a healthy level of distrust of all equipment and analyses. As I have discovered this week there are some things in life which you can’t gain through hard work, superstition or luck.