2. When did you join the Rackers and what got you started?
If memory serves me correctly, I joined the Rackers in the summer of 2008. I showed up to the summer picnic/party and instantly had a new group of friends. I was looking for others who home brewed, and to expand my knowledge. I found both.
3. What do you brew (beer, wine, cider, etc.) and how is it packaged and served?
I mainly brew beer, both ales and lagers, but mainly ales as I have yet to dedicate a space for lagering. So lagers get done in the winter, fermented in my basement which holds a pretty good 50F. I have dabbled in wines, ciders and meads but have found I lack the patience for wine and mead. I used to bottle and bottle condition, but since I went all grain I keg and force carbonate. I will bottle off the tap whenever I need or want some beer bottled.
4. How long have you been brewing and describe your brewing system?
I have been brewing for about 22 years. The first couple years I was all extract brewing on my stove top. I moved to all grain brewing in January 2010 using an Igloo Icecube cooler with a copper manifold as my mashtun, using the batch sparging method. My boil pot was a converted half barrel that I added a ball valve to. Shortly after moving to all grain I started kegging my beers and force carbonating. Which then led to building a kegerator that I still use today. Since Sept 2023 I have moved on to a Brew In A Bag system, the Clawhammer 120v system. I do like this system for its modular design but am still working on getting better efficiency. Fermentation wise, started with plastic buckets. Moved onto glass and plastic carboys. I now mainly use a 7g Brew Bucket from SS Brewtech. I use a Johnson Controls temp controller with a ferm-a-wrap for temp control.
5. Where do you brew?
Mainly in my garage and kitchen. I have plans to designate a spot in my basement for the BIAB system I’ve recently been using.
6. How often do you brew; is there a certain schedule you have or is it by season?
Not enough!! The past few years has been about once a month. Since I don’t have a designated space for lagering all year I do brew my lagers in the winter as my basement works as my lagering cellar.
I’ve never been one to brew specific styles based on the seasons. I brew whatever I in the mood for when the opportunity arises.
7. What aspects of your hobby would you like to improve upon?
Eventually I’d like to invest in my fermentation game. Conical, O2 free transfer, pressure fermentation, ect. I think I make pretty good beer without it so it’s not exactly something that will happen in the near future.
8. What advice would you pass on to others considering this hobby:
1. Clean your equipment after every use, sanitation is key
2. Full wort boils make a difference
3. Temp control on your fermentation makes a HUGE difference
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Books are great…experience is greater.
5. Like any hobby you can spend as much time and money on it as you desire… Go at your own pace and make changes and improvements when you’re ready.
6. The homebrewing community is very welcoming, don’t hesitate to join your local homebrew club.
9. What have I forgotten to ask, is there something else you’d like to share?
If you have dogs spent grains can be made into some wonderful dog treats…your pups will thank you!