Homebrewery Name Liquid Sanity
How long have you been brewing? 4 years
What is your typical batch size (gallons)? 5
All Grain or Extract: All Grain
How long have you been all grain brewing? 3 years
What type of water do you use? Reverse Osmosis
Do you make any water adjustments? How do you calculate them? Calculated on Brewer’s Friend, but typically using John Palmer’s recommendations
Mash Process: Single Infusion
Explain method for mash temp control & measurement: I have a Grainfather. The all-in-one has temp control built in.
pH – When/How do you measure and adjust? Calculated on Brewer’s Friend
Sparge: Batch Sparge
Recipe and Equipment
Do you make your own recipes? Do you use any brewing software/tools?
Most of my recipes start as an idea I had for something I drank that I wanted to adjust. I try and find a clone recipe of the beer I have in mind and figure out how to change the recipe to hit the flavors I am trying to achieve. Then I use BeerSmith 2 to ensure that I am in the correct ranges for the style.
Describe your equipment and setup:
Grainfather – It’s an 8 gallon all-in-one electric system.
Boiling : Do you use hop bags, screens, filters, spiders? Typical boil time?
I use a hop spider and the pump has a filter. I have almost always done a 60 minute boil, but I’ve been moving more towards 75 and 90 minute boils because I’ve overshot a couple times on volume.
What is your MVP piece of equipment, technique or trick to make your brew day easier, faster or most impacted your beer quality?
Plate Chiller – this has cut my chilling time from about 45 min with the counterflow chiller included with the Grainfather down to about 15 min
What do you ferment in?
Glass Carboy, Plastic Carboy (BetterBottle, etc), Stainless steel, Spiedel
What is your method of fermentation temp control?
I have a heat wrap that I use to finish fermentation, but the room I ferment in is a constant 66 degrees year round. It’s a little higher than ideal, but not far enough that it concerns me. I do not have the ability to cold crash or lager, but that’s coming soon hopefully. I also use a cold wet towel during the first few days of fermentation to keep temps from spiking while fermentation is very active.
Do you use secondary fermentation vessel?
Only when adding fruit / dry hop / spice or other secondary additives
How long have you been a member of NUBS?
How did you find out about the club?
I walked into the store a few days after moving to Mundelein and got to talking to Andy and saw a sign. Don happened to be there and I joined on the spot.
What is your favorite style to brew, any styles you wouldn’t brew?
I like to brew stouts and Belgians. Stouts because imperfections are more hidden and Belgians because my fermentation temperature is spot on for most yeast strains.
Have you ever had to dump a batch? If so, what happened?
Yes. I tried to make a pineapple coconut ale and the coconut was not sanitized properly. The batch smelled like sour butt.
What was the biggest mishap you ever encountered when brewing? (bottle bombs, broken equipment, big messes, etc.)
I’ve had a couple bottle bombs, dropped a glass big mouth the first time I used it. The biggest mishap was when I used my immersion chiller for the first time. I turned on the water too high and it didn’t connect in my head that the water coming out of the “hot” side would be basically boiling at the start. I grabbed the line with my bare hand and got second degree burns on two fingers. It ended up getting infected and I had to go to immediate care to get them wrapped. The good news was I met a fellow brewer when there and he turned me on to the Bacon Chocolate Stout recipe at Perfect.
What has been your biggest challenge as a homebrewer?
I struggle with vacillating confidence. I’ll have a great batch and think I’m awesome, but the next will always put me back in my place.
What has been your biggest success as a homebrewer?
I brewed a Belgian Golden Strong with a Cabernet and French Oak. It tasted precisely as I’d anticipated and it’s freaking awesome.
What is your favorite part of brewing your own beer?
The creative process of thinking of new approaches to existing styles or flavor profiles.
Do you have any other stories, facts, tips, or information about yourself you would like to share with the club?
The Brew Strong podcast is a great listen on the commute.