Who Are You (please include a picture): My name is Aaron b. Schecter jr.
Home Town (City, State): Florida, NY
Homebrew Club: Mohonk Home Brewers association - President
I've been a homebrewer since: 1998
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share?- Yeah !!! I was brewing Denny Conn's VBIP and I underestimated how vigorous the fermentation would be. Long story short WY1450 is no joke within appx. 12 hours this beer was everywhere literally everywhere !! Don't ask how but it was on the floor walls and the ceiling !! Moral of the story is use a blow off tube every time and never underestimate the ability of a yeast strain and head space is not a good gauge of if it will blow off or not. As a final note it was actually one of the top 3 beers I have ever made and despite the disaster the beer prevailed and was worth the screaming SWMBO and hours of clean up not to mention a very strong lesson in home brewing was learned that day.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew?- Turbid mashed Lambic, Flanders Red, Dusseldorf Altbier, IPA, Rauchbier.... wow I guess I just like to brew period.
What style(s) will you never brew?- Yeah right.
What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out?- The first beer I ever brewed was a Hefeweizen... back in 1998 we didn't have the supplies we have today so it turned out ok but in my eyes at the time it was the best beer ANYONE had ever made. looking back it was not too good
but, as the years went on and supplies became more available and the yeast OMG the yeast became much better the recipe got better and to this day is still in my rotation though it has been fine tuned over the years.
Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great?- I brewed a pumpkin ale a few years back and mashed the pumpkin puree in the mash. I did not use any rice hulls and I prefer a pretty fine crush so you see where this is going. Stuck sparge. Long story short the sparge took a bit over 2 hours but, I had the highest efficiency I had ever had at the time being 85%. The beer itself also turned out great and all 5.5 gallons went in one day and has now become my families traditional Thanksgiving beer.
What is your favorite beer recipe?- Denny Conn's Vanilla bean bourbon Imperial porter, and My Enamel Stripper double IPA.
Are you a BJCP Judge? If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging?- No but I would love to get involved at some point.
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc?- Well it's not really a trick but I have found that a fine crush and a appropriate amount of rice hulls does wonders for your mash efficiency. When I started brewing using a corona mill I averaged about 60-70% eff. and the results where hit or miss. I eventually invested in a better monster mill and tightened the crush down with a feeler gauge and now stay at a consistant 86% mash eff. I also built a DIY stir plate that has made my fermentation go to the next level and who are we kidding it's awesome to just watch a yeast vortex for hours on end.
Describe your brew system.- I have two systems a Brutus 10 system that I brew on that utilizes all stainless steel vessels custom made to my specifications as well as all the March pumps and PID controllers that go along with such a system. I also have believe it or not my preferred system which is 2 converted Igloo coolers and a sparge arm as well as a 42 qt Polarware brew pot and it's just a simple very hands on brew system. I actually prefer the simpler system as it allows me to connect with my brewing on a whole different level. There is IMHO much more of your personal touch in the basic systems whereas the automated systems are great but you do not connect the same way or at least I have not.
How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)?- I brew to the legal limit for my household which is 200 gallons per year.
What is your favorite malt? Why?- Marris Otter as I just love the flavor profile of this as a base for the majority of my beers regardless if it is a traditional English bitter or to just make a APA stand out a bit more even if it is not the traditional base malt for the style.
What is your favorite hop? Why?-Hands down Kent Goldings as I love the earthy yet floral aroma that the hop has. I also grow my own hops and the EKG always has been my best producer.
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?- it's a tie between 1056,001,and US-05. It's just such a versatile strain nothing more than that. Though I do use other yeast depending on what I'm brewing if it calls for a particular strain.
Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share?- Absolutely !!! It was March of 2010 and I was talking with the owner of my LHBS about starting a home brew club as we had nothing in our area. His answer was Aaron if you think you could put something together go for it. Long story short not only did it come together but we have done everything from grow the club to over 65 ACTIVE members to promoting craft beer awareness. group brew days, We sponsor/Judge events now that draw over 2,000 people that featured NYS craft breweries as well as international breweries, we are also now being asked by multiple events to co-sponsor events, we have arranged and had guest speakers come all the way from Saigon to be guest speakers and we have held everything from beginner to advanced classes on a regular basis. Not so much a specific story but a lot of hard work that really paid off in the end and we continue to grow. I'm just happy to say it was my dream come true and to watch it come to life has been nothing short of a miracle for me.
What haven't we asked that you would really like to answer?- My motto is there is always more to learn when it comes to brewing as well as there are so many beers to brew and so little time.
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him?- Charlie Papazian because he has influenced me more than any other person in the industry. I have read every book article and facebook post he has ever done to my knowledge. He had a dream and the ambition and look what he has done for the home brewers. I kind of look at him as my brewing role model. What would I give him ? hopefully a full glass my hands would be shaking so much !!! probably my two bretts Saison a brettnomyces inspired Saison.
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew?- Yeast it's alive !!! I put living creatures in there and I must say they do a great job.
Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients? My dog ( who passed on ) was named Abbey after the Trappist Abbey ales.
How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions?- 6 a few 1st, 2nd and BOS but I usually don't compete in most of the competitions in my area.
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with?- I brew with my club every other month and I brew personally with a great friend/assistant who I am teaching the ropes my friend John. Without him my beers would not taste as good.
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer?- I prefer to brew outdoors but will brew inside during the colder northeast months.... I also have a indoor brewhouse AKA the garage that has been transformed into a mini brewery.
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite?- my favorite is Enamel stripper double IPA as it has 115 IBU's of hop goodness, other names include Seamus the Red, Pumking ale, Saison de Schecter.... I'll admit the names aren't so good so thank God the beer is better !!