What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?
I'm the VP of Engineering (and co-owner) at Innovere Medical Inc. I basically work with a small team of awesome people developing and manufacturing MRI compatible patient comfort devices and MRI devices for interventional MRI suites.
What got you into homebrewing?
I came to Canada 9 years ago and missed a lot of the English style beers I used to drink back home and so started looking into making my own. My first introduction to the hobby was at a local "brew your own" but I was disappointed to find that they just bought wort and modified it to suit. The beers were better but still not quite what I wanted. I then found another place that allowed you to brew beer yourself but in 50 litre batches and only partial mash. These came out really light bodied and not as flavourful as I wanted. After a little research online I put together my own all grain system and brewed my first beer.
How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?
I have been brewing beer for almost 6 years now and have made around eighteen 10 gal batches of beer so far this year (some of which were split and hopped differently or/and a different yeast used)
Do you have any favourite styles you like to brew?
I love to brew anything English as I love the malt profile that the English beers bring, I also really enjoy the hoppy pale ales and IPAs in the summer. Fall tends to be my favourite time of year to brew as I start to make the darker beers. There is something warm and comforting about drinking a nice rich dark beer as the nights draw in.
What kind of setup do you use?
I use a 16 gal stainless brew kettle, a standard turkey fryer 9 gal aluminum pot for sparge water, a converted Coleman's Xtreme cooler, a Canadian tire turkey fryer propane burner that came with the pot, and a home made 50ft immersion chiller.
What is the worst beer you have brewed?
The worst beer I ever brewed was my very first all grain attempt at an English ale, I didn't use Campden tablets in the water and it had the worst band aid flavour I have ever tasted and drain poured it. I then brewed the exact same beer using a Campden tablet and it turned out great. I was very surprised how good it tasted and from that moment I was hooked on brewing.
What did you learn from that worst beer?
Always always always use Campden tablets - they are such a cheap insurance I wouldn't brew a beer without them. Also, that no matter how much research you do and how much you know, there is always things to learn in brewing.
What is the best beer you have brewed (share recipe)?
This one is a hard question to answer as I have so many favourites depending on my mood and time of year. One of my all time favourites is my Muddy Beagle ESB that I made for the peoples pint at Muddy York, it went over really well at the event and Jeff (owner of Muddy York) loved it so much he asked to brew it commercially. Obviously I cant give out this recipe as he is brewing it but another one of my favourites for the fall/winter is my Winter Warmer, it's a lovely rich, malty (almost porter like) beer with a very subtle hint of cinnamon. It's so good in fact, that I will be brewing it this coming weekend:
What is a change you have implemented that you feel made a big improvement in your beer?
To always make a yeast starter. I found that the smack packs do a great job as they are for 5 gal but if they are stepped up with a starter I find they do their job cleaner and the flavour difference is certainly there. That combined with pitching at a slightly lower temp and then letting it naturally raise up to fermentation temps.
What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?
- Go and brew with someone that has been doing it for years, they have made most of the mistakes and can guide you to making great beer from the get go.
- Read, read and read more.
- Ask questions.
- Join the GTA Brews and go to the meetings. There is such a bank of knowledge all combined in one room. I always learn something whenever I go to the meetings plus nobody will ever look down on a new brewer and think that they are asking stupid questions.
- Plan your brew day and take your time
Do you have any certifications related to beer and/or homebrewing (BJCP, Cicerone, etc…)?
If 22 years of experience drinking as many different beers as I can counts then yes... if not then no. Haha.
If you could be a tree frog, what colour tree frog would you be and why?
Well with a surname being "Green" I would have to choose purple and be the most awesome coloured frog in the jungle, I thought this would be obvious and so I can't believe you even felt the need to ask the question!