What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?
Hold on to your butts! I am by title the Operations Manager for Supply Chain Division. Really, I’m mostly an implementation consultant for Warehouse Management Software. Have fun figuring out what that means.
What got you into homebrewing?
Pretty certain I was walking in Loblaws one day and noticed a can of extract they were selling. No idea if they still do or not but I was intrigued by the idea of being able to brew at home. I persisted through so many terrible beers and eventually learned a little bit.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of homebrewing?
I used to tinker with cars (shitty, old domestics mostly), I like to bread (bake it), I’ve also dabbled in making cheese and preserves. Mostly my hobbies revolve around food. I certainly cook and bake a lot.
How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?
I think I started 7-8 years ago. I’m terrible with time though, it could be longer. I’ve been brewing a lot the past year, probably 30-40 batches.
Do you have any favourite styles you like to brew?
Lately I’ve been really focusing on lagers, hard to get those right and I like the challenge. The missus really loves a Munich Dunkel so I enjoy brewing them.
What kind of setup do you use?
I just finished my new basement brewery. I have a 15g kettle with induction burner. I do a no sparge mash with RIMS. A bit of an oddball setup but I’ve been really happy with the results and simplicity. Sparging sucks.
What is the worst beer you have brewed?
Oh man, so many terrible ones to choose from! I’d say the first all grain was by far the worst though. We called it “Bacon Beer”. When you skim over John Palmer’s Learn to Brew one time and think you remember all the steps and try to brew… well, maybe you end up BOILING your grain in a muslin bag that burns to the bottom of your kettle then you pitch yeast and ferment it at 5 degrees because Lager.
What did you learn from that worst beer?
Don’t half read something and think you know what you are doing. For the love of god, I made so many mistakes at the beginning because I just half-assed things. Read, re-read then read again.
What is the best beer you have brewed?
I made a Tripel this year that won Gold in Vancouver, but most people really like my Coconut Brown so I’ll share that.
What is a change you have implemented that you feel made a big improvement in your beer?
Everything helps in subtle ways. Proper yeast control, Pure o2 infusion, water chemistry. All those things have improved my beer dramatically. But I think I really noticed the difference when I started controlling the temperature.
What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?
- Research, do it more than I did. You won’t regret it.
- Ask questions from people who have been doing this longer than you.
- Control your variables, don’t change too many things at once, you won’t know what failed/worked.
- Don’t take on everything at once. I.E, don’t do water chemistry if you haven’t figured out yeast starters, etc. One improvement at a time, too much stuff can be hectic at the beginning and you’re bound to make mistakes.
- Bring your beer to meetings. Share it and welcome the feedback, it can really help.
Do you have any certifications related to beer and/or homebrewing (BJCP, Cicerone, etc…)?
I got my level 1 Beer Sommelier. Does that count?
If you could be a tree frog, what colour tree frog would you be and why?
I like turtles.
Editors note: Clayton is deathly afraid of tree frogs which is why he avoided that particular question.