I live in Guelph with my wife, Kate, and our kids, Mads and Jacob. We’ve also got Winston, a corgi, who cleans up after the kids.
My day job is engineering manager at Nikon Metrology. We develop a measurement system called iGPS – a large scale metrology technology for inspection and localization. It’s a field I never knew existed before I started here – but it’s given me exposure to a pretty wide variety of industries and has allowed me to travel a fair amount (and sample lots of beer).
I started brewing about 5 years ago. I had been to some U Brew places before but the first beer I brewed at home was a Brooklyn Brew Shop Everyday IPA. Within a year I’d built my first keezer and had planted hops in my backyard. I was hooked.
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
Recently I’ve gotten more into baking. It’s nice being able to make your own bread for the week.
I also enjoy playing board games with friends – things like Tigris and Euphrates, Cities and Knights, and Star Trek Attack Wing.
What is your favourite type of beer to brew/drink?
My favourite beers to drink are usually IPAs or a mixed fermentation beer (something funky/sour). Although there’s room in there for big stouts too. That’s also typically what I brew too. Although I try to make sure there’s always some sessionable options on tap; and I make sure to ferment some cider every year too (mainly for my wife).
What type of system do you brew on?
I brew in my kitchen on my stove top. 5 gallon all-grain batches. 3 vessel system. It’s all gravity fed so I swap vessel locations from stove top, to chair, to ground to keep things flowing.
My HLT is my old brew kettle – a bargain kettle I picked up when I first started and added in a side pick-up tube.
My mash tun is a SS brewtech infussion. I have the mash tun heater as well which helps maintain mash temps.
When I upgraded my brew kettle, I found out that my stove doesn’t have enough oomph to get it up to boil so I now augment it with an electric element I drop into the kettle (Hot Rod).
For chilling I use an immersion chiller. I recently got one from JaDeD as a gift – it replaced my old homemade one and works well. It would be nice though if I didn’t have to carry my BK over to the sink to chill. Lifting and moving a kettle of boiling wort isn’t super fun – no burns yet.
I typically ferment in glass. I have a brew bucket as well which I typically use for heavily hopped beers.
What is your favourite recipe?
What I use for a malt bill for a lot of beers I brew is 2 parts Pilsner (or two row) and 1 part flaked wheat. I’ll tweak it every now and then to add in 10% Vienna, or some oats or something else. But it seems like a pretty good starting point for pale hop forward beers, and for mixed fermentations.
I think the other thing that’s common amongst the hop forward beers I brew is keeping hop additions to the last 15 minutes and later.
What is the beer you wish you never brewed?
I brewed a Belgian tripel for a keg party a few years back. Big time acetone. It was absolutely terrible and I had to dump it.
What do you wish to improve on in your brewing?
I’d like to move to a RIMS setup so that I could do proper step mashing as opposed to using boiling water additions or doing decoctions.
But probably more importantly, I need to get better ventilation if I’m going to continue brewing in the kitchen. My kitchen walls are sweating wort.
Do you have any brewing tricks, or “hacks”?
I don’t think so – everything I’ve learned/do I think is based off of something I’ve read in a book, a website, or from a more experienced brewer. Does reading and asking questions count as a “hack”?
What is your philosophy on brewing and what advice would you give to new brewers?
I try not to stress about things too much. I like to try new things, and go into it knowing that it could easily not work out the way I hoped/expected. But in the end, you’re still likely going to have beer.
For new brewers? I’d say skip extract brewing. Not because of any limitations in recipes but because I hate handling the stuff. I can only imagine the mess I’d make if I tried to use it for anything bigger than a starter.
If you could have a song play every time you enter a room, what would it be?
Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen – I think, on some level, everyone wants to be Freddie Mercury.