Monday, August 31, 2009


I have been planning this post for a LONG TIME!!! While I was at home last weekend, my dad reminded me about my homebrewing roots and requested that I pay homage to my experiences back home in my parent's garage... Those were the days!

I first started homebrewing just after I turned 21 years old. My twin brother Colin had recieved a stove-top homebrewing kit from my parents and I for his birthday and had just finished his first brew (I believe it was an imitation of Bell's Two Hearted Ale). Colin was immediately hooked! The beer turned out delicious, but I think at the time I was still learning to like IPA's so I may not have enjoyed it to its full potential, just a sidenote. The next batch, I jumped in on and became hooked! At this point it was readily obvious to both Colin and I that the stove-top thing just wasn't going to work for our hands-on, tinkering/engineering, bigger is always better mentalities. We started development on our all grain system...

Colin and I have both been incredibly busy since we brewed our first all-grain batch in the winter of 2007. Colleges, careers, and social lives always seemed to get in the way of homebrewing. Despite the obstacles, we tried as hard as we could to fit in brewing here and there back home at Mom and Dad's house. During these years I started to realize (again) that what I was doing was too small for my aspirations and I wanted to start a career in the mighty and wonderful world of craft beer. If I can't make time in my career to make beer, why not make my career beer?

Here are some of the pictures from my homebrewing days:

Our very first batch on the brand new all grain system!!! I believe this is the "Buffalo Spit" Nut Brown Ale (way better than moose drool!) Sidenote: We got those A-B kegs for $12 a pop at a liquor store... now I know it was illegal... but they sold them to us!!!
Look at how unsafe the sparge was!!!

Brewing in the middle of winter!!!! Go Weizenbock!!!

Kitties love beer!!!

Wow are sparging technique got so much better! Here is the last homebrew batch I did before I started my job at Lone Peak (notice the first use of the cover-alls). We are brewing an imperial oatmeal stout aged with scotch and oak chips named Magnificent Demise (M.D.)

Now this post wouldn't be complete with a little advice for all you homebrewers out there (who also apsire to become brewer's someday).


Someday you are going to have to have recipes of your own, you might as well start working on them now! Try familiarizing yourself with as many styles of beer that you can. Once you find a recipe you like, make it again but try to make changes that improve it. Hone in and have at least 3 good beers in your arsenal before going anywhere near your own brewery.

Get to know your ingredients!!! You have the time and resources to experiment now. Use them to develop multiple IPA's, use the same malt bill but change the hops and compare them. Other ideas, try using different yeast strains for the same beer to learn about what flavors they create.

Go extreme! Great extreme beers don't (usually) turn out the first or even second time you brew them. Brew to the extreme while you are making small batches. Man it would suck to have to dump a 10 bbl batch because there is too much oak flavor.

Try new techniques and practice practice practice!!!

One more point... stop using soap or detergents when cleaning your equipment. That stuff leaves residue and messes up the flavors of your beer. Try getting ahold of PBW (pro brewer's wash) we use it around the brewery and man it works well.

Cheers, Prosit, and Skoal!!!


  1. I'm inspired. Next goal-- make a good gluten free beer. There aren't enough options out there.

  2. Forgot to tell then the kitties' names: the tabby is "Hops" and the dark one is "Dunkel". At this point everything at our house is beer related!