New brewer...

JS

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I started brewing in early 2014 with a brewing lesson from a friend. My first solo batch was in my kitchen and I soon built a sculpture to boil out in the driveway. After about a year of being outside I designed a brew kitchen in my basement and upgraded to a 20 gal 240v electric Blichmann G2. I also grew wary of of the 70 qt cooler as a mash tun so I upgraded to a 20 gal SS Brew Tech mash tun. At some point I used unistrut to build a 3 tier brewing sculpture with retractable casters (my brew kitchen is a laundry room as well).

At 4 going on 5 years I am still in my infancy of brewing. I've only had one undrinkable batch to date and that was due to using Jalapeno powder in an IPA. It was horrid but a valuable learning lesson. I have covered the spectrum of beers, I truly love the craft. I have 7 taps and host a summer party each year for around 40 friends, it's great to have people who truly enjoy the beer. Everyone goes home with a full growler.

I ferment everything but lager in an insulated closet with a thermostat connected to a heater (or ac) depending upon the time of year. For lagers I use a freezer with a temp controller. For the annual party I do a Friday/Saturday/Sunday brew evolution and ferment everything at once. Thankfully I've taken on five friends as brew buddies who come over for brew days. I really enjoy teaching the craft and sharing the enjoyment with friends. They enjoy the beer. And the hard cider.

My next capital expenditure is a can seamer from Oktober (just purchased, awaiting arrival). I've lusted after a can seamer for around a year, it will be a great way to share new recipes one four pack at a time. I don't have a ton of free time so the time spent brewing has been an exercise in efficiency and time management. From start to "clean up complete" I run an all grain brew in just under 6 hours. Extract is shorter by a couple of hours. I do have a 5 gal "all in one" setup for small batches, but it's not as fun as the 20 gal setup.

I"ve been doing starters since last summer and have since switched over to Fast Pitch from Northern Brewer. I prefer easy and effective (time is money). My favorite style of beer by far is New England style IPA. My Blichmann G2 has the whirlpool port for hopping after knockout. My second beer love is lager. Having the chest freezer makes it easy to lager year round. Dry hopping the dog snot out of a lager is just pure heaven. My favorite hops are galaxy and mosaic. But I also love Citra, Cascade, and Chinook. Actually, I have yet to meet a hop that I didn't enjoy.

For me brewing is decompression time. I love the smell of freshly milled grain as well as the aroma of hops. The process of crafting something so enjoyable is time well spent. I love having a beer on tap at a pub and then finding a good clone recipe.

I live in the northeast so our winters are somewhat brutal. Having the brew kitchen in my laundry room makes a December brew session enjoyable. I go outside in the winter to drive to work.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my brewing journey thus far. I hope to grow old crafting exceptional beers and sharing the craft with friends.

/Jason
 

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