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Topics - ketch32

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Homebrewer Bios / Smith Swillery - Escondido, CA
« on: December 28, 2015, 04:14:41 PM »
AHA community,

I think it is time to introduce myself: My name is Ketchen Smith and I have been brewing with my informal brew crew at the Smith Swillery for over 10 years, most of my serious brewing being the last 5 years.  This bunch of Hooligans really is just myself with an occasional brother, neighbor or friend (and the help usually is in the tasting).  I live and brew out of Escondido, CA, and I am originally from the L.A./O.C. area.

I really like my hoppy beers, so that is what I gravitate toward in my brews, but I have done many styles.  I started entering competitions in 2011 after I had moved on to all-grain and was getting good feedback from my crew and the local brewing community.  2015 has been an epic year for me: upgraded equipment to do 24 gallon batches, attended my first AHA conference and highlighted by my Best of Ales win, scaling up and brewing at CVBC and Pro-Am entry into GABF and subsequent attendance.  Here is what I have accomplished since my first competition in 2011:

2011 - Sasquatch Brewfest Homebrew Contest, Eugene, OR - American IPA - 2nd place
2012 - Del Mar Fair, Del Mar, CA - Specialty, Black IPA - 3rd Place
2013 - Del Mar Fair, Del Mar, CA - American Amber Ale - 4th Place
2014 - Hops and Props Beer Festival, Palm Springs, CA - American IPA - 1st Place
2014 - Hops and Props Beer Festival, Palm Springs, CA - American Ale - 1st Place, Best of Ales, Brewed at Coachella Valley Brewing Co, served in bars throughout Riverside, Inland Empire and San Diego, entered into 2015 GABF Pro-Am
2015 - Schooner Homebrew Championship, Racine, WI - American IPA - 2nd Place
2015 - Southern California Fair Homebrew Competition - American IPA - 3rd Place
2015 - Ramona Homebrew Competition, Ramona, CA - American IPA - 2nd Place

I run a 4 tap keezer (with room for 6), True double door fridge fermentation chamber, Blichmann kettles, Cooler HLTs, Therminator Chill Plate, pumps, etc...  The system is in constant evolution and this year I doubled production quantity with minimal extra time involved (mainly more stuff to clean).
I have brewed (and unfortunately bottled) for 3 weddings, a couple of work parties and most years for xmas presents.  A sample from this year:

Up Next - another IPA!  Cheers!

Events / NHC: N. County SD & Anatomic Ale
« on: June 05, 2015, 10:02:01 AM »
Welcome out-of-towners!  I live in Escondido (North County SD) and will be attending the NHC.  If anyone has any questions about the area, I may be of assistance.  Also, my award-winning Anatomic Ale that I brewed with the cool guys over at Coachella Valley Brewing Company is now on tap (by special request) at Rip Current North Park! 


Equipment and Software / Going Big (for me) - 2X Everything?
« on: February 09, 2015, 04:56:25 PM »
Connected with a cool local brewer and have the last piece of my upgrade! Question: although I am scaling double (10 vs 20 gallon - final product), should I expect any difference of scale in ingredients at this small volume?  I have BeerSmith and can scale on the computer, but wondered about real life experiences, especially with respect to big hoppy beers and grain bills, i.e. can I just scale everything 2X initially and tweak from there or should I really decrease/increase an ingredient right up front based on your experience?  As the volume increases, I would like to minimize mistakes - I plan on only brewing my tried and true recipes on the larger setup, still will use the now "small" kettle for trying out new recipes.
Thanks and Cheers!

General Homebrew Discussion / USPS considering to add alcohol shipping
« on: August 01, 2013, 02:30:51 PM »
This may be great news for shipping homebrews and other alcoholic liquids - not sure if it will save the USPS, but is there anything we can do (from AHA) to encourage this to happen?


General Homebrew Discussion / IBU standardization!?!
« on: September 28, 2011, 03:36:02 PM »
Been brewing in San Diego for over 7 years now, and I am a hophead.  I am primarily an IPA and Pale brewer with an emphasis on the hop administration.  More than ever I have been offended by the subjective nature of IBU claims by breweries.  It has become a marketing byline and I don’t understand it.  Claims of over 100 IBUs and even 1000 IBUs have me perplexed, and as a BJCP competition entrant and educated beer drinker  ;D, I am at a loss when I read such nonsense on a bottle, especially when the experience is something much different than what is being claimed.  Sometimes I think, “If that’s 100+ IBU’s my homebrew must be 1,000,000 IBU’s.”  Lovibonds, ABVs, volumes, etc. are all specific, measurable metrics.  According to the definition of IBUs, the scale tops out at 100.  There are ways to calculate your IBU’s.  Why then is it possible to exceed the scale?  Why can’t the IBU information help me decide what beer I want to buy rather than tricking me into some marketing scheme? Maybe if a brewery claimed an ABV of 5% and I find out it’s 10%, or rather the “man” finds out, there may an issue legally, taxing, etc.  But, I think the reason the fluctuation in the IBU standard is that there is no enforcer, and thus the marketers have used it to their advantage, but again, if it really doesn’t educate me as a buyer, and in fact misleads me, then it no longer holds value and is just a gimmick. I don’t believe in gimmicky beers.  My ramblings are done, but hopefully we all can stand up for standardizing some of these “measurable” claims – to help educate buyers, to help educate brewers, and ultimately, to aid in the substantiation of claims of the brewers’ product.

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