What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?
Mechanical Engineer for various types of large buildings. Think mechanical design of HVAC, plumbing, storm, sanitary, gas, fire protection systems, etc.
What got you into homebrewing?
I stumbled upon a ‘howtobrew’ website one day in 2018 and couldn’t stop reading. Shortly after, I attended an in-person how-to-brew session at Toronto Brewing, and a love for the hobby was born.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of homebrewing?
Road-tripping… I could drive anywhere, soaking up new interesting food and drinks, and that’s what I enjoy. Is perennially plugging away at home renovations considered a hobby? It’s interesting though, that’s for sure.
How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?
Since early 2018. Just nine 5-gallon batches last year including a cherry apple cider. Thanks home renos!
Do you have any favorite styles you like to brew?
Belgian beers - Dark strong, dubbel, IPA, biere de garde, saison, etc.
Do you have any certifications related to beer and/or homebrewing (BJCP, Cicerone, etc…)?
No certifications, and no immediate interest in getting any at the moment.
What kind of setup do you use?
Grainfather G30 with a 7.5-gal Anvil fermenter.
What is the best beer you have brewed?
Barrel-aged Amber Biere de Garde. It was a crowd-pleaser that somehow hit all the right notes, and won a few medals this past year. V2.0 is going in the barrel shortly.
What is the worst beer you have brewed? What did you learn from it?
V2.0 of my chocolate cherry milk stout. Rather than just using a cherry concentrate/puree, I tried to also include cherry juice, but failed to give it several days to ferment out prior to bottling. No bottle bombs, but all were pretty well gushers, and it is the one batch I was unable to really share with anyone. I learned not to add any great amount of fermentable sugar just prior to bottling.
What is a change you have implemented that you feel made a big improvement in your beer?
Moving away from partial extract brewing via kettle on an outdoor propane burner, to all-grain indoor electric brewing on a Grainfather. This greatly expanded the beer types I am able to make and recipes I can create. Next up shall be proper fermentation temperature control. Goodbye fermenter in a tub of water with icepacks, hello chest freezer with Inkbird temperature controller!
What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?
Sanitation is key, each step of the way from brew day to fermenting and bottling. Keep your wits about you in this discipline and you shouldn’t have any hiccups. Temperature control is more important than I once thought. Learn about temperature control sooner than later - It’ll make your life easier and you’ll make better beer in the process.
What is your favourite yeast, grain, and hop?
I haven’t brewed That much to really get into the weeds of which of these are my favourite. If I had to pick, perhaps Belgian Ardennes yeast, Pilsner malt, Styrian Goldings hops.
What beer is your white whale, one that you've been chasing to perfect?
A nice bright juicy NEIPA. I haven’t taken a stab at it in a while, but it’s one of my favourites to drink, and I would like to be able to create them better.
Do you have a name for your homebrewery?
Fletcher’s Fine Ales