Author Topic: Brewer Bio: Paul Blatz  (Read 5472 times)

Offline blatz

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Brewer Bio: Paul Blatz
« on: February 01, 2013, 03:05:22 PM »
Who Are You: (please include a picture):  Paul Blatz

Home Town: (City, State): Jupiter, Florida

Homebrew Club: The Palm Beach Draughtsmen

I've been a homebrewer since:
July 2005

Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share?

Nothing too outlandish, mostly the same errors most folks have had, but I’ll share one:
One cool (okay 40df but its all relative) morning, I was about to run off 10gal of house IPA into glass carboys.  Setup my Shirron plate chiller, stuck the out hose into the fermenter, opened the ball valve and proceeded to finish cleaning my mash tun, when behind me I hear “…cccrrracckkkk….BOOM” I’d forgotten to turn on the hose water for the plate chiller and 200+df wort was running into the carboy and caused it to shatter.  I grabbed some black contractor trash bags and started putting the big shards into it only to have them slice through the bags like butter.  Finally I figured out to put them into paper bags first and then into the plastic bags.  Thankfully, no injuries and I only lost 1 gal of wort!  Needless to say I switched to Better Bottles the next day (though I use conicals now…).

What is your favorite style(s) to brew?
Some may say I’m boring, but I like what I like – 90% of my brewing is focused on American Ales and German Lagers.  I’d say the two most often brewed styles are IPA and Vienna/Marzen.

What style(s) will you never brew?

While I appreciate the occasion bottle, I can’t see myself brewing anything sour.

What was the first beer you ever brewed?  How did it turn out?
An American Pale Ale kit from the now extinct “Homebrewer’s Outlet” in West Palm Beach.  It was very tasty – simple with dry malt extract, some crystal 40 steeped, Cascade hops and Nottingham yeast.  I was hooked instantaneously.

Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great?
A few, but I try not to make mistakes ;-) .  My best mistake gone great was in 2008 when one of my brew buddies and I decided to make 10 gal of Russian Imperial Stout, hoping to have something Old Rasputinesque in the end.  I found a well acclaimed clone recipe online, tweaked it a little and we went to town, overflowing the mash tun and squeezing out 1.085 of sweet wort into our fermenters.  Lo and behold, I had no idea that with the extensive amount of specialty malts in the recipe, our final gravity was not going to land anywhere near the 8.5-10% ABV we were hoping for.  So the very next weekend, we brewed up the same recipe, but bumped the basemalt up to get us to 1.110.  We blended the two batches into kegs and let it sit for 8 months under my stairs before even tasting it.  It continued to ferment a bit in the keg and the keg was at almost 70PSI at one point!  I degassed it over time and eventually got it down to proper carb levels.

That beer has won me 3 golds, 1 silver, 1 Runner up BOS, and one BOS over the years.  I have maybe one gallon left in a shortie keg in my ‘on deck’ freezer and it is still better than any RIS I’ve bought.

What is your favorite beer recipe?
I love writing my own recipes, so I have a lot of favorites, but the one that I arrived at over 6 years of tweaking is always well acclaimed by my friends.  I brew two types of IPA – a West Coast style that is still in the experimental stages, and my tried and true Mako IPA a maltier one, similar in color and crystal malt flavor to say a Celebration with a west coast hop regimen:
Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 14.06 gal
Post Boil Volume: 12.48 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 12.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 12.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.064 SG
Estimated Color: 7.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 75.5 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 75.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
26 lbs                Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)         Grain         1        92.9 %       
1 lbs 8.0 oz          Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM)    Grain         2        5.4 %         
8.0 oz                Caramel/Crystal Malt - 45L (45.0 SRM)    Grain         3        1.8 %         
1.50 oz               Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Boil 60. Hop           4        28.8 IBUs     
2.00 oz               Centennial [10.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min     Hop           5        16.6 IBUs     
2.00 oz               Simcoe [13.00 %] - Boil 20.0 min         Hop           6        21.6 IBUs     
2.00 oz               Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min   Hop           7        8.5 IBUs     
2.00 oz               Amarillo Gold [9.80 %] - Aroma Steep 0.0 Hop           8        0.0 IBUs     
2.00 oz               Cascade [7.00 %] - Aroma Steep 0.0 min   Hop           9        0.0 IBUs     
2.0 pkg               California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35. Yeast         10       -             
3.00 oz               Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.00 %] - Dry Hop  Hop           11       0.0 IBUs     
3.00 oz               Simcoe [13.00 %] -  - Dry Hop  Hop           12       0.0 IBUs     
White Labs 001 California Ale Yeast

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 28 lbs
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 44.80 qt of water at 161.3 F        153.0 F       75 min

Are you a BJCP Judge?  If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging?
I’m a National Rank judge, and that’s probably all I’ll ever get to – I don’t care to take that test again.  Been judging for about 6 years or so and I try to do as much as I can.

Do you have a good beer judging story you'd like to share with the rest of the homebrewing world?Not really – thankfully, most of my judging has been uneventful aside from the occasional gusher.  I have been truly amazed by some of the entries I have judged at times. I've had a Baltic Porter and Ordinary Bitter, both by a brewer named Ed Measom of Orlando that flat out floored me.

Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc?

I think the installation of a double ganged counterflow chiller has really helped me given the warm ground water of Florida.  I just installed a whirlpool return arm to my boil kettle that I am really digging too.  Next 'gadget' is using my Hop Rocket as a filter as Tasty McDole has promoted.

Describe your brew system.
My roots are in cooler batch sparging, ala Denny Conn, but now I brew on an all electric system pictured in this thread:
Its modeled almost entirely after Kal Wallner’s system, with a few tweaks to meet my needs.

How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)?I brew about every 2-3 weeks, depending on consumption and demand for events like festivals, parties, etc.   I'd brew almost every day if I could.

What is your favorite malt?  Why?
I use a ton of Rahr 2 Row and Best Pils, so those two win in terms of usage, but in terms of what I think is special?  There is nothing like the rich malty goodness you get out of Weyermann Munich II in something like a dunkel – the toasty, bready and sticky sweet malt flavor is captivating.

What is your favorite hop? Why?
Well, given I buy about 4-5 pounds per year, it’s gotta be Simcoe.  I can’t get enough  of that unique piney citrusy tropical pungent hop twang that Simcoe punches up your nostrils.  I use a lot of different varieties but for hop bombs, I almost always reach for Simcoe. Its great late in the kettle, whirlpool and especially dryhop.  You could use it to bitter, but that’s a waste in my brewhouse.

Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?
I prefer to let my malt and hops shine, am not much of one for esters or phenolics, and like being able to cycle yeast over and over, so I tend to stick with Chico (001/1056/US-05) for ales and WL830 or WL833 for my lagers.  I like the clean flavors, the fast ferments and relatively quick flocculation.

What haven't we asked that you would really like to answer?
I think a good question to ask everyone is “why do YOU homebrew?” .  In addition to all the ‘usuals’ such as having fresh beer on tap, something that I made, etc.,  to me it’s an escape from my day job, a chance to be creative, to use the engineer in me to constantly adapt and make my system better and more efficient.  I also really enjoy working with my hands, being outside in the garage with my dog by my side, tunes on in the background and friends sitting around sipping beer while we get the next creation going.  There is nothing better than having one of your friends take a sip and tell you “this is better than any store bought IPA/Pils/whatever that I’ve ever tasted”.  Keeps you wanting to make more.

If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him?
I’m not much of a celebrity worshipper, so this is a tough question to answer.  For famous in the brewing world, I’d love to serve up my best IPA to Vinnie Cilurzo – from what I’ve seen  and heard from him, he seems like a genuinely cool guy and he’d be fun to drink away an afternoon with and learn from.  For someone famous to the ‘rest’ of the world, there’s a lot of folks I’d like to meet, near the top of the list would be George Clooney – just seems like a cool guy that enjoys life, enjoys good beer and would be fun to hang out with.

Can you send a picture or two of some labels you've created for your homebrew?
I don’t put labels on my kegs.  ;D

What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew?
I don’t really brew any styles that lend themselves to crazy ingredients.  I make a mead with spearmint and key lime juice – that’s about as strange as I get.

Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients? I had a black lab named Porter (pictured above ) , he was a great boy – I miss him terribly.  My brewdog  now is named Walden (pictured in my electric brewing system thread and in my avatar), I rescued him and he had that name already – I tried to change his name to Simcoe, but it just didn’t take.

How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions?
3-4 dozen or so – I stopped counting a long time ago – I don’t really focus much on competitions, though I do enter occasionally and I am proud when one of mine wins.

Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with?
I mostly brew for myself, but I have an open door policy for friends and usually send out a notice when I’m brewing and folks are free to come by, observe, drink and hang out.  Help with cleanup is always welcome too.

Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer?
Given my electric system, I brew indoors, but with the garage doors open.

List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite?
I’m not as creative with my names as some folks– I usually just reference my brewery name and the style, but I did have two I liked: 

One was “Decoct This!!” a German Pils that won silver at one of Florida’s largest competitions – single infusion only…

The other was a name given by a friend in my brewclub to my West Coast Style IPA: “Pimp Slap IPA” – one taste and you’ll be screaming “I got your money!”  My friend created a stick figure label of a personified hop cone with a cane and feathered hat, slapping another stick figure leaving a green handprint on the cheek.  We served this at a local festival and most folks got a big kick out of it.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 11:08:53 PM by blatz »
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline euge

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Re: Brewer Bio: Paul Blatz
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2013, 05:40:57 AM »
Welcome to the AHA forum Paul! LOL  ;D Had no idea you were so accomplished. I'd like to see your electric setup if you haven't posted it already.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline blatz

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Re: Brewer Bio: Paul Blatz
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2013, 01:10:53 PM »
I'd like to see your electric setup if you haven't posted it already.

no smiley face, so i'm not sure if you were being sarcastic. 

the link to my electric setup is in the answer to that question.  you even posted in that thread.

but i think you're being funny, my coffee just hasn't been poured yet, so i'm slow this morning.
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

BJCP National: F0281

Offline bluesman

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Brewer Bio: Paul Blatz
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2013, 02:05:42 PM »
Very cool Paul! :)
Ron Price

Offline pinnah

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Re: Brewer Bio: Paul Blatz
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 06:16:05 PM »
Hey, fun to read that Blatz! 8)

Transitions are difficult;  glad you got a Walden to help out!
Cheers and best wishes.