What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?
Package and Graphic designer. I mainly do structural corrugated design of pop up displays.
What got you into homebrewing?
Step One: Started to like good beer in college.
Step Two: The price tag was a bit high for a college student. $8+ for a pint of IPA?!
Step Three: My roommate and I tossed the idea around but never committed.
Step Four: I then started to discover tasty styles like Black IPA, Gose, California Common, Etc. the were not commonly available/hard to find.
Step Five: My uncle brought a growler of his IPA to a summer family event. It was amazing! 2 months after that I got the equipment built/bought and made my first 1 gallon brew. A half decent stout. After a 6 months I somewhat gave up until my dad wanted to get into it and brew 5 gallons with me. Now I am addicted to brewday.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of homebrewing?
How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?
Over 2 years now. I think I have 30-35 batches done in the past year. I don’t have my notebook with me so it is hard to say. My mother would probably say “Too much”. Recently (5-6 months) I started to take really detailed notes and started to care more about every little step.
Do you have any favourite styles you like to brew?
I like to take a base style(s) and add a twist. Or IPAs, I am trying to get a “house IPA” recipe finished. Sours are in the near future. I like to exBEERiment.
What kind of setup do you use?
Indoor 5G set up with induction burners and a recirculating pump. Three piece: Kettle, Mash/Launter ton and a Hot Liquor Tank all 8G capacity. Stainless for primary glass for secondary.
What is the worst beer you have brewed?
7th batch. A wit with raspberry jam and lemons. It was bitter and tasted like old collard greens. Also gushed.
What did you learn from that worst beer?
Remove the pith, wait for fermentation to stop completely, DO NOT ferment at 82-85F. Jam tastes bad fermented.
What is the best beer you have brewed?
I have received many compliments on my Triple bock aged on bourbon oak slats. I have yet to have one to myself because too many people want me to share. Recipe is a secret for now but, I will share how I prepared the oak:
FAUX BOURBON BARREL PREP:
Crosscut white oak (American or Canadian) in 3/8″ thick slats. Use a sharp saw to avoid burning at this point. The more pours the better!
Cut until you have 1 square foot of slats per gallon (less if you’re aging for a super long time).
Toast in oven @ 350F for 2.5 hours.
Scorch both sides until starting to flake with a plumbing torch.
Toast again for another 3 hours.
Place in ziplock bag with 375ml per square foot of your bourbon of choice. I used Jack cause it was the only 375 bottle at my LCBO.
Let sit for 3+ months before putting in beer. My oak soaked up almost every last drop of bourbon!
What is a change you have implemented that you feel made a big improvement in your beer?
After the counsel of my sister (Biochemist student) I added an acid rest, protein rest, 2nd (lower) saccharification rest and, a full mash out. 5 step+sparge mash instead of 1 step+sparge. It increases efficiency by nearly 20% in some grain bills! Now mash-in to boil takes 4 hours but, I find it worth while for having very accurate numbers.
Also the highly detailed notes really helped me brew and plan to brew.
What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?
- Yeast is your MOST important ingredient.
- John Palmer Learn to Brew is free online. Read it over and over.
- Post questions in the GTA Brews group (no question is stupid). These guys are an amazing and friendly resource.
- Get a note book. This is going to be your brewing bible.
- Start with 1 G extract brews. Minimal equipment is required for this and it’s easy! Once you have mastered that basics of brewing and fermenting expand to bigger batches and/or all grain.
- Also Have fun! If you are not enjoying brewing figure out how to make it better. This is supposed to be an activity that you look forward to (even the cleaning and note taking).
Do you have any certifications related to beer and/or homebrewing (BJCP, Cicerone, etc…)?
Not yet. I study BJCP for fun though so that I have a good idea of what I am brewing/going to brew.
If you could be a tree frog, what colour tree frog would you be and why?
Black so that I could sneak up on my cricket dinner. Like a ninja.