Who Are You (please include a picture):
Nakia Johnson. 37 year old brewer, dreamer and all around Good Guy
Home Town (City, State):
My actual hometown is The Bronx, NY. But I grew up in Winston-Salem, NC which is where I claim is my hometown. And I am currently serving a penance in Chesterland, OH
iBrewSolo (no club)
I've been a homebrewer since:
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share?
Nope. Nothing other than the ubiquitous blown airlock.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew?
I'm kinda all over the place. "Manic" is the term most folks use.
What style(s) will you never brew?
What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out?
It was a Mr. Beer pale lager. It turned out like carbonated water, yellow in color. I don't hold that against Mr. Beer though as one of the best beers I've brewed/tasted was Mr. Beer's Prince Ludwig lager recipe.
Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great?
I once tried to brew a clone of Great Lakes Brewing's Burning River pale ale. After the boil I ended up with about three and a half gallons of wort. At the time I wasn't aware that there are formulas out there to determine the amount of top off water to add so I just filled up to five gallons. I ended up with a 1.036 wort that turned into one of the best beers I've ever brewed. I haven't brewed it since because I'm scared I won't be able to replicate my "mistake."
What is your favorite beer recipe?
I don't really have a favorite but I do have a love/hate thing going on with Peachy Fuzzy, a peach wheat. It involves five pounds of peaches, ginger, honey and peach flavoring. I've brewed it five or six times and it always turns out wrong. Either my fermentation is too warm or I add too much priming sugar or it's just plain old nasty.
Are you a BJCP Judge? If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging?
No, I'm not a judge. I don't think I would want that responsibility although the palate training would be nice.
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc?
Nope. No matter what I do my brew day always lasts six hours and I always have to scrub pots afterwards.
Describe your brew system.
What? You mean the Amalgamation 4000? It consists of a six gallon mash tun and a ten gallon brew kettle (both of which are restaurant supply stock pots that have been drilled and fitted with valves, thermometers and screens), a pair of insulated coveralls that I use to, um...insulate my mash tun, a ten gallon igloo cooler sparge water tank/mash tun, a wooden wine rack which supports a rectangular cooler so that I have the height to gravity drain, a homemade (and badly dented and bent) copper immersion cooler and a single Bayou Classic burner. Plus, assorted odds and ends including a restaurant supply metal spoon and a restaurant supply wooden mash paddle that I drilled a whole bunch of holes in.
How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)?
Once or twice a month.
What is your favorite malt? Why?
I don't have a particular favorite.
What is your favorite hop? Why?
Judging by the amount of them I have hoarded in my freezer I would have to say citra. I've only used them once and I'm scared to use them again because I don't want to run out. Even though my inventory currently stands at one pound.
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?
No real favorite although I did brew a Belgian/white IPA using White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale. I was pleasantly pleased on how well that yeast made everything come together. And yes, everything came together is the technical and scientific term for what happened.
Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share?
No. I'm not in any clubs because I usually forget what day of the week it is and miss the meetings. It's a sad consequence of law enforcement swing shifts.
What haven't we asked that you would really like to answer?
You could ask me if I wanted you to give me a million dollars. The answer, by the way, is yes. Just in case you want to make that happen. And I do accept personal checks.
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him?
I don't worship people just because they have a lot of money or are famous, so I wouldn't waste my homebrew on anyone who didn't think I was famous in return. That being said, I would like to have a sit down with Queen Elizabeth. Pints of bitter, naturally. I would be willing to drink tea if she preferred that.
Can you send a picture or two of some labels you've created for your homebrew?
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew?
It wasn't done on purpose but on one of my first brews I opened up the fermenter on bottling day and there was a bunch of hair inside. I still drank the beer and gave some to other people though. I just didn't tell them about it.
Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients?
No, but that's a pretty good idea seeing as how my wife is pregnant now. I think Maris sounds pretty, don't you?
How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions?
Exactly one. I picked up a second place medal in the MAGMA/Youngstown Italian Fest homebrew competition in July of 2011. I got it for Indian Summer, a saison recipe I stole from Chip Walton on Northern Brewer's Brewing TV. Thanks Chip.
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with?
I brew alone but sometimes Thing 1 (my daughter) helps me out with mashing in or composting the spent grains. She gets bored pretty quickly though and usually wanders off.
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer?
Is brewing in the garage with the door open considered indoors or outdoors?
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite?
I lived in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland for quite a while so I call my one man operation The Collinwood Brewing Company. As such, I try to stay Cleveland-centric with my beer names, much like Great Lakes Brewing Company. So far I have:
Terminal Tower - the low alcohol Burning River clone
Peachy Fuzzy - a peach wheat named after a guy that used to call in to a local radio station. He was always feeling "peachy, and a little fuzzy."
Nine Mile - a vanilla rum robust porter named after a creek that runs through the nearby city of East Cleveland
Indian Summer - a saison named for crazy lake effect weather and the Cleveland Indians
Polka King - a Bohemian pilsener named after Frankie Yankovic, who grew up in Collinwood
The D.C.S. - a coffee porter named in honor of the brewers of Buzz beer
Cleveland State of Mind - a bitter.
East side - a black IPA
West Side - a white IPA