Author Topic: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper  (Read 1692 times)

Offline yugamrap

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2010, 07:47:40 PM »
1. Name (first and last), age, location:  Jim Gress, 47, Cleveland, Ohio

2. When did you start home brewing and why?  I started brewing in November of 2007 - sort of on a whim.  I started because we had equipment for making wine that I got my wife, but she wasn't using it.  I realized I only needed a couple more things (a pot and an immersion chiller) to get started with extract brewing, and that I could get them for less than the cost of doing a batch at the local brew-on-premise place.  At that time, I enjoyed craft-brewed beers but often didn't even have beer in the house regularly.  I got into home brewing mainly because it bothered me to see the fermenting equipment going unused.  Things have sure changed in a couple years, though.  Now, I have four different home-brewed beers on tap at all times, and usually have a Cornelius keg or two waiting to go on tap. 

3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started?  My idea of what home brewing is hasn't changed much, but my approach to it has.  At first, it was something fun to do occasionally.  Now, I spend several hours a week on the hobby (some would say obsession).  So much so that, upon meeting someone new, my family is more likely to tell someone I'm a home brewer than what my actual occupation is.  I guess it's become more a "way of life" than a hobby for me.
 
4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing?  I think one gains a greater appreciation of beer and the process and ingredients that produce it.  As well, there is a lot of interesting stuff to learn about different styles, brewing techniques, history, ingredients, etc.  Home brewing is a great hobby for people who like to learn and experiment.

5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why?  As others have already said, there are too many to mention - but I'll mention the two I use most often.  Online, I use Northern Brewer because they have good selection of ingredients and equipment, and reasonable prices.  They also host the forum through which I learned so much of what I know about home brewing from other forum users (thanks Denny, Majorvices, Mullerbrau, Brewhobby, Ryan, and many more).  The LHBS I use most is Grape and Granary in Akron, Ohio.  I go there because they have the best selection of fresh ingredients of any of the LHBS in my area, and they don't behave like snooty "know-it-alls."

6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide?  I'd suggest that a new home brewer start off with an ingredient kit for an ale style they like - something like a Pale Ale, Stout, or ESB.  As well, it is probably best to keep it simple with a style that doesn't require much in the way of special ingredients or techniques.  That way, they can get familiar with the process, and have reasonable likelihood of good results with their first few batches.  Like so many other things, early success fosters further interest.

7. What are some good resources for home brewers?  Forums like this one are great resources for learning from more experienced (and expert) home brewers.  There are also a host of classic home brewing books that have already been metioned.  A local home brewers' club can also be a great resource for learning and for meeting other home brewers.  Our home brewers club, the SNOBs, http://www.beersnobs.org/ hosts a variety of brewing-focused events, trips, social events, home brew contests, and even a study course for teh BJCP exam.
 
8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided?  Too many focus on the brewing and not the fermenting.  Getting a handle on good, well-controlled, fermenting practices like proper yeast pitching rates and temperature control, is the key to making consistently good beer.

9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained?  I think more people are interested in foods and beverages because of the rise of the "foodie" culture and it's growing presence in the media (see Food Network, etc.).  The steady rise of the craft brewing industry has had much to do with it as well.
 
10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing?  By using available resources like online forums, home brewers' clubs, books, magazines, and the like.  Of course, sometimes there is a need for some new equipment, or to learn a new technique - but it's really just a matter of making up one's mind to give it a go.  I moved from extract brewing to all-grain after only three batches.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 07:57:10 PM by yugamrap »
...it's liquid bread, it's good for you!

Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: Looking for Home Brewers to Interview for a Paper
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2010, 12:18:12 AM »
Nick,
Welcome to the board. I hope you stay and this isn't a quick visit.

1. Name (first and last), age, location
     Ruben Abril, 32, Brighton CO

2. When did you start home brewing and why?
     About 6-7 years ago, my neighbor told me he was heading to a friends house to learn how to.
     I had never even considered that beer could be brewed at home. Pure naiveté. We sampled
     the final product and it was not entirely unlike beer. I had already wandered into the world of
     craft beer. I had already picked out some hoppy beers as my favorites. It was a natural progression.

3. How has your idea of home brewing changed since you started?
     It really has become a passion. It is easy for me to talk anything beer to anyone. Any point from
     the process itself to the obsession in improving any aspect of the hobby (ie. process, equipment, recipes)
     It had started out as a hobby.

4. Why should others who are interested in beer take up home brewing?
     I would recommend it to people who are really interested in the craft beer industry or craft beer itself. It
     definitely opens your mind to a huge world of beer. Plus it takes "sharing the hobby" to a new level.
     One can point at a rebuilt car or engine, or craftsmanship in wood-working and say I made/built that. But
     tasting a great pint with a good friend is something I really enjoy. Especially after a hard day's work.

5. What are some good retailers (either shops or online) to purchase equipment/ingredients from and why?
     I keep to Northern Brewer, and my two LHBS's.

6. What kind of beer do you recommend for a first-time brewer? Any recipes that you can provide?
     Definitely something simple in terms of recipe and profile. Pilsners, as common as they are in the world,
     are not the easiest to brew. A red ale, or brown ale...

7. What are some good resources for home brewers?
     This website, books by J.Palmer, C. Papazian, R.Daniels. And any local home brew clubs. I would say it is a must
     to see someone brew, and walk you through the process before jumping in.

8. What is the number one mistake that new home brewers make? How can it be avoided?
     Mine was assuming that beer made at home would be ready quickly. It is way to easy to say
     "It has to be ready by now!" but in reality it is way too soon. How to avoid it? Distract yourself from
     wanting to try your first batch of beer by concentrating your efforts in the next batch.

9. How can the growing interest in home brewing best be explained?
     I think people naturally have a curiosity to them. People are realizing there are more flavors possible in beer.
     The beer spectrum is virtually limitless because of the many variables in each batch of beer. I would say
     some of it is a "Fad" to try beer that is not mass produced but people are being genuinely surprised by
     what they try and enjoy it.

10. How can a beginning brewer make the leap to intermediate or advanced brewing?
     There will be a learning curve but if the interest and passion are there it will be easy to hone ones skills.
     But if there was one piece of advise to give a beginning brewer that resembled a jump ahead, it would
     be to start the hobby with the equipment to brew a whole batch in the garage or patio. Starting out in
     the kitchen is just fine but the natural progression of home brewing is towards "full-boil" batches,
     "all grain" batches, and multi batch batches (10, 20, 40 gallons) at a time.
 
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 12:20:13 AM by rabid_dingo »
Ruben * Colorado :)