How did you get started brewing?
I got my first, very primitive start in home brewing while working in the QA lab at the old Labatts brewery in Saskatoon during my first go-around at university. I continued extract brewing back in the 1980’s before having children & before returning to university to start a second career as a psychologist. I returned to home brewing last year and have been doing partial mash brews since then.
What is your reason for joining True Grist?
I joined True Grist to meet other home brewers, to learn from others, and to push myself to become a better brewer.
What breweries do you most draw inspiration from?
The Ontario craft breweries that I draw inspiration from for my brews are Innocente Brewery in Waterloo, Redline Brewhouse in Barrie, and my new favourite, Block Three Brewing in St. Jacobs.
What type of system do you brew on?
I’ve been doing partial extract brews for the past year, keeping it simple with an Anvil burner and a modified Big Bubba cooler for doing 2 to 3 pounds of partial mash. However, I’m just transitioning to going electric with a Robobrew 3, so I’ll be going to full grain brews in the near future.
Fill in the blank: Good beer requires an intimate knowledge of our brewing equipment and it’s capabilities.
What is your favourite type of beer to brew/drink?
I most enjoy drinking a crisp, hoppy APA, a nice smooth stout, and an occasional crisp, clean lager for a change of pace. So those three styles are where my brewing focus lies. However, I’m also developing an appreciation for the many sour beers I’ve tasted over the past year.
What beer are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of an experimental beer I brewed at the end of last year’s brewing season, when I wanted to experiment with first wort hopping, whirlpool hopping, and brewing a good Vienna style lager before winter set in. So I did all three in one brew, and it ended up being a Vienna lager with a very fruity, hoppy APA aroma and flavor that made it the best beer I’d brewed up until that time.
What do you wish to improve on in your brewing?
I hope to use the transition to full grain electric brewing to give me more control over the brewing process, which will hopefully allow me to create a wider variety of higher quality beers.
How do you feel about competitive homebrewing?
To be honest, I was a bit intimidated at first by the thought of competitions, and by how well some of the other True Grist members have done at competitions. However, as I get to know those members, I realize that the competitions and asking other members to taste our home brews is the best way of getting feedback on what we’ve done well, and what we can improve to make our beers better. I look forward to entering some competitions next year after transitioning to full grain brews.
What other hobbies or interests do you have?
I also enjoy doing photography and hope to learn more more about how to improve my photos with Photoshop over the winter months.
What is your philosophy on brewing and what advice would you give to new brewers?
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past year, and the biggest piece of advice I have for new brewers, would be to be patient, learn from each brew, and don’t try to change too many things in your brew day at once. It’s too difficult to find out what you did right and where you went wrong if you change too many things at once.