Brewer of the Week: Barry Benoit
Barry J Benoit (a.k.a. Weaze)
When did you start brewing?
September of 2007
What got you brewing?
I’ve wanted to brew for as long as I can remember. I talked about it for years, and for out 10th anniversary, my wife bought me a starter kit. As with most homebrewers, it just took off from there.
When did you know this was no ordinary hobby, it was an obsession?
When I did my first all grain batch Christmas day of 2007. I knew there was no turning back.
When did you join the AHA?
I’m not a member of the AHA, just the forum. I’ve been an active member in that since the day it opened.
What is your "white whale" beer (the beer you'd hunt to the ends of the earth for, and possibly die trying to obtain)?
I have pretty good access to most craft beer. The one that I can’t find close to me is Rock Bottom Brewery’s IPA. I travel quite a bit and try to schedule as many flights through the Minneapolis airport to get my fix.
What is your favorite local craft brewery?
Portneuf Valley Brewing, which is happily located about five minutes from my house. Brewmaster Penny Pink makes a great IPA called Grogg. I love the stuff. It has a nice malty base, with an almost butterscotch note to it, and a very good balance of hops.
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share?
The closest thing to a disaster was your average plugged airlock, and stout sprayed all over the walls and ceiling. Yes, I have used a mop on my ceiling.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew?
IPA, APA, stout, and porter.
What style(s) will you never brew?
Anything Belgian. I absolutely hate them!
What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out?
My first beer was an extract kit for a cream ale. Considering I pitched the yeast at 85° and bottled after four days of fermentation, it was not as bad as you would expect. Then, I found a homebrew forum and never followed the kit instructions again.
Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great?
I was brewing a wheat beer. About twenty minutes into the boil, I realized I was going to run out of propane. So I threw in all my hops and coriander, and just let it go. I ran out of propane with about a 30 minute boil. All I could do was chill it and hope for the best. It turned out to be one of my best brews to date.
What is your favorite recipe based off of a commercial style?
I brew my house IPA that is loosely based off of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Are you a BJCP Judge? If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging?
Describe your brew system.
Currently, I have a 70qt Coleman X-Trem mash tun, with a stainless steel hose braid (Denny Conn style). I boil in a 16.25 gallon stainless steel kettle. I use two 55k BTU burners - one to heat sparge water and one to boil. Currently, I use a 7.5 gallon kettle to heat my strike/sparge water in. I have a 50’ x 3/8 immersion chiller and several fermenters, including a 15.5 gallon demi-john. I crush my grain with a barley crusher. I have a two tap keg orator made from a Sanyo 4912, with pin locks.
I have plans to upgrade very soon to two 155k hurricane burners, a march pump and a 40 plate chiller. I’m also adding an addition to my man cave for a brewery.
How frequently do you brew (times per month or year)?
I average one to times a month, brewing 10 gallon batches.
What is your favorite malt? Why?
I get my malt from Great Western Malting. It’s located in my town, about a 10 minute drive. I can’t beat the price, plus it’s local.
What is your favorite hop? Why?
I love anything that starts with the letter “C” (especially Cascade). I love that crisp, citrus flavor in my house IPA.
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?
I love Safale US-05. It’s clean, loves temperatures of all ranges and it’s very predictable. Not to mention it’s easy to use and the price is good.
Do you belong to a homebrew club? Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share?
Unfortunately, there is no homebrew club near me.
Is there any advice you would like to give to new homebrewers?
Pitch plenty of yeast (make sure it’s at the right temp) and ferment it at a steady temperature. Read the instructions that came with your kit once and then throw them away. Relax and have fun. No matter how it turns out, you still made beer (and that’s more than what most Americans did today!).
What is a beer style that is underappreciated and/or could take off given the opportunity and exposure?
I really think the bacon beer thing is going to take off really soon!
Do you have a mentor or someone you think the world should know about? Or, tell the homebrewing community a little bit about yourself so we can get to know you! Post some background info on the AHA Forum under the Hombrewer Bios category, and that person may be selected as the next Brewer of the Week.
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