Who Am I?
I am a dad, home brewer, beer lover, home cook, DIYer, tinkerer, and web developer living in Michigan.
Home Brewing History
I started home brewing in 2009 after taking a trip to visit family in England. After seeing the low price of pints of good beer, and tasting some excellent English malt-forward styles, I knew I needed to find a way to get cheap and delicious malty beer in my life. So I started brewing that year with a friend, but we quickly discovered I enjoyed the process much more than he did. After a couple of batches, I went off on my own and was using a 5 gal drink cooler as a mash tun by my fourth batch. I started building my keezer later that year, and had it finished and operational by February of 2010. By summer of 2011 I had built a custom fermentation chamber, a new single tier ‘erector set’ brew stand with BG14 burners, and a two keggles.
I have since realised that *SPOILER ALERT* brewing your own beer is not cheaper, but it is very enjoyable!
Living in San Diego in the mid to late 00’s afforded me access to all the fantastic IPAs I could ever need, but I had a hole in my beer consumption, and that hole was only able to be filled with malt. I started brewing English, German, and Belgian styles to fill that need, and continue that trend to this day. My hoppiest beer doesn’t even come close to the hop levels of an assertive American Pale Ale, let alone an IPA. Many of my beers, mostly English in style, clock in under 5% abv, though recently I have been pushing into higher realms of alcohol content with a few recipes such as my Burton Ale.
I brew 10 gal batches using my ported keggles on a Brutus-style stand, but I use a 70qt cooler for my mash tun instead of the Brutus’s direct fired MLT. I bought the stand from Adventures in Homebrewing in 2015 and had them build a custom shelf and heat shield for the cooler to allow it to be used on the stand at the same time as running the burner under the HLT.
As always, these things are ever evolving and next steps include some automation of the gas system and a HERMS for step mashing and generally better mash temperature control. Given that a HERMS would require two pumps, I’m also curious to try fly sparging.