Name: Paul Sealman
When did you start brewing/What got you brewing?
I started brewing in 1962 at the age of 12. While helping my father brew he felt I made better beer than him so I kind of took over at that point. He knew fellow home brewers that used to work in the breweries before prohibition and I listened to them very carefully. Sometimes I needed to as they spoke broken English due to their German roots. I had also found some supplies and equipment from a sporting goods place in Waseca Minnesota called Herters. They had good quality leaf hops, grains and these wonderful plastic containers that I used to clarify and carbonate the beer in a freezer of all things.
When did you know this was no ordinary hobby, it was an obsession?
Well, when you are 12, and your father thinks you can do something better than him it helps. Having some of his friend’s think this was the clearest home made beer they ever had didn’t hurt either.
When did you join the AHA?
Wife bought me a prepaid membership and I need to activate it.
What is your "white whale" beer (the beer you'd hunt to the ends of the earth for, and possibly die trying to obtain)?
Pliny the Elder
What are your favorite craft breweries?
Broad Street Brewing / Reinbeck, IA
Singlespeed Brewing / Cedar Falls, IA
Guerrilla Brewing / Cedar Falls, IA
Millstream Brewing / Amanas, IA
Summit Brewing / St. Paul, MN
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share? Or, have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great?
As a teenager I had some product that needed to be concentrated. It was going to be about 190 proof! Well, I was in a hurry to finish up mowing chores and didn’t notice the condenser was running hot. Ran a few drops in a spoon to test the proof. Struck the wooden farmers match and all I saw was blue, windows blew out and I ended up on top of the door outside of the building. I was alright but felt like I had gone on one hell of a ride. Dad shut down that part of the brewery!
Do you have a special homebrew related project that you'd like to share?
Starting out with a wooden mash tunn I have to say the equipment we have access to today is the biggest advantage us homebrewers have. That can prove to be dangerous for a person like me. One day while traveling on US Hwy 20 I spotted a cooler that must have blown off a service truck. It had some road rash but the inside was pristine. Became my newest mash tunn! It worked great but was only 5 gallons and I needed a ten gallon. I kept on the lookout for a larger one and one day there she was. Long story short, I just about got run over by a truck. It was 10 gallons but it was all busted up and I had to throw it away. I did eventually find another and paid closer attention to traffic. I still use those two tunns.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew?
I really like to brew lagers but brew mostly pale ales. Lately I have been getting into IPA’s.
What style(s) will you never brew?
The old saying is never say never but it would probably be a sour.
What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out?
It was a heavy lager with a lot of corn in it. The yeast was Budweiser yeast from the bakery. It was brewed too warm. I thought it didn’t taste very good but my father and his friends loved it.
What is your favorite recipe based off of a commercial style?
I guess it would have to be an IPA that is a clone of Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing.
Are you a BJCP Judge? If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging?
No I am not
Do you have a good beer judging story you'd like to share with the rest of the homebrewing world?
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc?
I would have to say it is a chugger pump and fittings I got through Bobby from NJ. I made a wand for it and use it for just about everything. Due to having polio I can no longer lift much and now I don’t have to. It has made my brewing safer and has added longevity to my brewing hobby.
Describe your brew system.
I use a 2 inch Monster mill for an all grain gravity system with a 10 gallon water cooler as my mash tunn. I batch sparge and drain into a 5 gallon water cooler that I pump into a 15 gallon boiler. I use an 8 gallon hot liquor tank that I pump into the tunn. I use 2 floor type propane burners. Since I like lagers I somehow ended up with 3 keezers all fitted with digital controllers.
How frequently do you brew (times per month or year)?
I try to brew once per month. Due to being busy or just plain procrastination I find myself catching up for festivals I’ve committed to. I have become quite proficient at speeding things up.
What is your favorite malt? Why?
I would have to say Rahr 2 row. It produces a lower mash pH for the water profile I am working with. My theory is less chemicals equal better beer.
What is your favorite hop? Why?
Since I can only pick one I will have to say my home grown cascades. Our Iowa soil and climate produces some of most wonderful aromas that I can’t duplicate with the ones I buy.
What is your dream beer and food pairing?
Pliny the Elder and my cayenne dry rubbed smoked ribs.
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?
WLP 001 is what I use for many ales. I experiment with a lot of yeasts but as I tweak the recipes I find myself going back to it. I think of it as balanced in that it can bring out the malt flavors as well as the hops. It brews clean and clears quite nice.
Do you belong to a homebrew club?
I belong to CRAZE (Cedar River Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts).
Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share?
This is how I found CRAZE. It was 2011. I was coerced by a nephew and the owner of a brew pub (Broadstreet Brewery) into entering my very first homebrew contest. I entered 4 beers. I knew I was over my head when I found out it was something called a BJCP sanctioned event and I was told they were getting brews from coast to coast. I ended up winning both first and second overall. David Scheil the president of CRAZE invited me to join. Now I get to sample some of the most wonderful brews I have ever tasted like a 20 year old ginger mead. Thanks Cole!
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him?
John Sealman was not very famous but I wish I could serve him a Sealman’s Light Lager. His favorite. Gone but not forgotten. Miss you dad.
Can you send a picture or two of some labels you've created for your homebrew?
That is me sitting on mom’s lap with dad next to her. The guys standing are my brothers and Mitzi my overprotective dog.
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew?
Soybeans many years ago. Not a fan.
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with?
I usually brew with my wife Martha
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer?
Mostly indoor. Mostly in the garage.
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite?
Ma & Pa IPA (favorite)
Sealman’s Light Lager
Paule’s Light American Lager
Paule’s American Amber ale
Paule’s Pale Ale
Snootnose Pale Ale
Big Boob Barleywine
Is there any advice you would like to give to new homebrewers?
This is such a fun hobby but people starting out sometimes look like deer in headlights. It really isn’t that complicated. I look at it as another form of cooking. Find someone who can show you the ropes. Joining a home brew club is one very good way to accomplish this. Start out simple and advance at your own pace. Listen to advice such as “That 5 gallon kettle is nice but for $10 more you can have this and you won’t have to buy another in the future.” Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We really like to help!