I have been brewing for over 20 yrs now, and I keep learning something new it seems like with every batch. I tend to be a rule-breaker when it comes to what 'should' be done, but I usually also have a pretty good handle on what my limits are. Some lessons have been hard-won over the years: It has been about 20 yrs to the day that my first and so far only carboy decided to up and explode when I didn't properly fit a blow-off tube to the mouth of the carboy and it decided to go with a window-shaking kaboom one day while I was at work. I'm hoping that never happens again. I have laughed, I have cried, I have spewed up (excessively green beer), and I have lost all feeling in my face at times. Broken hydrometers, beer that didn't taste "right" no matter how many times I tried to drink it, leaking hoses and connections, excessive blow-off or busted bottles that threatened to "ruin" our laminate floors, leaning towers of stacks of empty bottles waiting for the latest brew, a swarm of killer bees coming to investigate all the honey that boiled over from the latest batch of cyser...you name it, I've probably experienced it. It has been a wild ride, to be sure. I recently upgraded my home brewing "system" to an actual system, complete with all-grain capability. It was a long time in coming, and had been held back by money, space, and time...three of those things I seem to never come close to having enough of. My 15 gal Megapot 1.2 and Blichmann burner with its 72k BTU/hr output have become my two new best friends. Of course, now more "friends" are starting to show up to "help" and there's no shortage of beer consumers to be found anymore. Funny how that always happens. I have 3 kids (all grown) but only 1 that likes to help me actually brew; the other just likes to drink it. I have 4 dogs (1 that likes to help brew and/or drink it, whether at the brewpot or on bottling day, he's there sniffing around for a sample). It's never a dull moment around here. I finally have some extra time, and little extra space, to start brewing again after about 10 years of it being on hold. One day, I would like to construct a brew shop, complete with brewing area, storage space, keezers and kegerators, etc, etc. I want the whole nine yards, but that's gonna take a couple of years. My wife and I know how to pour concrete and build structures, so that will be our next next big project.