Member Profile: Kym Watts

Kym Watts

What is your occupation (outside homebrewing)?

My day job is a Senior Pipeline Technical director. Outside of the animation and VFX industry this is a mix of a solutions architect or automation software engineer.

What got you into homebrewing?

My grand father was brewing from coopers tins in the late 90’s, I helped with a couple of batches, i was too young to enjoy beer, so I was just a helper. Brewed some more coopers tins with some roommates in our laundry room. 

Ended up having to move to Canada for work, after a couple of years of moving cities, found good work in Toronto, ended out moving down the road from a fairly prolific brewer who got me more into brewing. Started with partial extract and moved to all grain. So really got my feet drenched in 2010 and been at it since.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of homebrewing?

Anything I can do with my hands that is preferably not in front of the computer. Woodworking, electronics, gardening, snowboarding where there is enough snow and indoor rock climbing and bouldering.

How long have you been brewing and how many batches last year?

In 2010, when I moved to Toronto I moved down the street from a fairly well known brewer, I inherited a bunch of his old gear. 

In 2023, nine 21Litre batches, where 5 of them were split into 10l fermenting batches to try out variations on the original recipes.

Do you have any favourite styles you like to brew?

Saison, oaked & Brett Sasions and Belgian styles.

What kind of setup do you use?

I spent 10 years with a gravity/ pump recirc 40L system, But made the move to an 220v G30 Grainfather. I like that I can step away from the system or mash in while I finish my work day.

What is the worst beer you have brewed? What did you learn from it?

Sweet potato Chrismas beer: Pale malt, oven roasted sweet potatoes and spices. I scaled down the recipe in beer smith, it scaled everything down except the anise spice. Anyway anise bomb!

What is the best beer you have brewed?

A saison with a heavy portion of rye and spelt, Sorachi ace hops, Belgian saison II yeast, I added a tincture of Home grown Lemon thyme to it. Thyme of the saison, got a bronze in one of the western comps, but i did not make enough bottles of it and keg just evaporated. 

I have had a hard time the last 2 years keeping the damn plants alive to harvest enough for an new batch.

What is a change you have implemented that you feel made a big improvement in your beer?

I add 2ml of lactic acid to my mash water, I find that since making this change I'm usually at most 4 points off the expected OG.

What advice would you give to a new homebrewer?

Brewing is like programming,  you have a bunch of variables you can change to make a great beer. How ever iteration from brew day to glass is quite long. So when you experiment or want to change stuff, Change one , maybe 2 things and make good notes. If you decide to try 2 or more changes, consider splitting the batch. Especially if its whirlpool, dry hop or yeast changes. You can split a 20l batch into smaller vessels so then you can compare. Also try to keep a few bottles so you can compare against.

Do you have any certifications related to beer and/or homebrewing (BJCP, Cicerone, etc…)?

No

What is your favourite yeast, grain, and hop?

Escarpment Brett mothership yeast.  Spelt malt.  NZ Motueka

What beer is your white whale, one that you’ve been chasing to perfect?

A New Zealand beer, Monthieths Summer Ale. It is know to have rata honey and a light ginger and orange finish. 

This year's iteration I'm going to try using some candied ginger, bulk barn has an organic candied ginger that has a nicer flavor and less heat.

Do you have a name for your homebrewery?

I guess it would fall under Wattsy's Workshop which is where any of the wood or electronics stuff gets labeled with. I mean its all done in  the same garage ultimately.