Who Are You: My name is Toby Guidry. I got into brewing when I used to work in the Planning Department for a local government. I lived a few blocks away and walked to work everyday. I noticed some work going on in an old drugstore across the street from the courthouse, and after a few days, stopped in to see what was going on. Turned out to be someone renovating it to turn it into a brewpub, but they were selling homebrew supplies and bottled beer while renovations were going on. Talking to the owner while trying a Grimbergen Tripel, I decided to give the brewing thing a try. I bought supplies and a "Spring Wheat" kit (basically an American Wheat beer with Raspberry/Cherry extract) and split the cost with another guy I worked with. It was the only beer he ever made, but I stuck with it. I even managed to win a category in one of my first competitions with my coffee stout (which was also published in the old Cat's Meow database on hbd.org). If you've ever made or seen the recipe for Wake Up and Go To Sleep Stout, that was my original recipe.
I lost interest in competitions for a while after that and was just brewing for us at the house, and family and friends. A while after moving to our current location, someone I had taught how to brew was joining a local club and asked me about it. I figured I'd go check it out and wound up getting back into competitions. After hearing stories of others being disappointed with feedback at competitions, I decided to pursue BJCP certification. So far, I'm up to a Certified rank and working with other clubs in the state to establish a state circuit. I've managed to win a few more ribbons along the way and even a second runner-up BOS.
Home Town: Larose, LA (currently reside in Galvez, LA)
Homebrew Club: Brasseurs a la Maison
I've been a homebrewer since: 1995
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share? I don't know if it qualifies as a disaster, but I tried to brew a wheat beer with lemon zinger tea once that turned into more of a lambic. Probably the only time I can recall picking up an infection.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew? Scots ales (all strengths) and stouts have always been my favorites. I've also recently gotten into single-hop IPAs.
What style(s) will you never brew? Well, never say never is my motto, but I'm personally not into rauchbiers, meads, or ciders, so they're pretty low on my list of things to consider for the next brew day.
What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out? A spring wheat. It was a wheat beer with Hallertauer hops and 1056 with a blend of Raspberry and Cherry extract added at bottling. For a first beer, it turned out to be pretty drinkable. That first case (I split the batch with a co-worker) went very fast among friends.
Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great? I'm a little obsessive about most of my processes, so I can't think of many mistakes. Most of my mistakes were ingredient experiments. So, the closest thing would be when I overestimated the amount of lemon basil I added once to my wheat beer base. Turned out to be pretty tasty although it was more dominant than I wanted.
What is your favorite beer recipe? My strong scotch ale. It's the biggest beer I make currently. My current setup is built around it. I designed a system where I could brew a 10 gallon all-grain batch of it, so all the capacities (HLT, MT, etc.) were built around that.
Are you a BJCP Judge? If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging? Yes, I'm Certified currently and working towards advancing. I've been judging for about 2 years.
Do you have a good beer judging story you'd like to share with the rest of the homebrewing world? Don't really have anything interesting. From a personal standpoint, I usually enjoy finding out that I'm excluded from judging BOS because I have a beer in the mix.
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc? My favorite two 'tricks' are first wort hopping and a 90 minute boil for everything. I started doing a 90 minute boil on anything pilsner malt based to ensure less chance of DMS and wound up just going to 90 minutes for everything (except bigger beers where I may go to 120 for complexity from extra Maillard by-products). First wort hopping is a win-win since I don't have to worry about timing for a 60 minute addition and missing it. I just adjust for it before hand and toss the hops in with the first runnings.
Describe your brew system. Current setup is a gravity based 3 vessel system on a stand that I designed and built from wood. HLT is a 20 gallon BoilerMaker. Mashtun is a 17.5 gallon Xtreme cooler. Boil kettle is a 30 gallon Boilermaker (factory blemish that I got for cheaper than my 20). I have a chest freezer with a dual-range temp control (using a Repti-Heat cable for the warm side) for fermenting. Eventually looking to go electric with pumps and a control panel, but that's probably a year or two away.
Pics are here: http://s1132.photobucket.com/user/reverendtoby/library/Brasserie%20L-Etrange
How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)? Usually every 3-4 weeks.
What is your favorite malt? Why? Does Carafoam count? I add 1/2# per 5 gallons to everything I brew. Head retention for days.
What is your favorite hop? Why? East Kent Goldings because it's all I use in my Scots ales. Other than that, I like to experiment a lot with single-hop beers with a basic IPA recipe. Second and third place hops currently are Amarillo and Centennial for that purpose.
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast? I would say either Wyeast 1728 or WLP028 since it goes with my favorite style.
Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share? I don't know how good it is, but my nickname in my original club was Wimpy after we went on an all day pub crawl. Both of the food stops we made (Crescent City Brewhouse and the Abita Brewpub) were featuring a lot of seafood on the menu that day. In one of the great ironies of life (considering it's a staple in the region where I'm from), I'm allergic, so I had a hamburger at both places. So, like the Popeye character that was always glad to pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today, I became Wimpy. I think my Wimpy's Christmas Cheer recipe from back then may even still be floating around on the Internet.
What haven't we asked that you would really like to answer? Why yes, I would like a beer.
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him? A tasting and beer discussion with Dr. Bill, Mitch Steele, and Wil Wheaton and either my Écossais Gras or Furet Vanille à Trois.
Can you send a picture or two of some labels you've created for your homebrew? Sure
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew? Lemon basil, dates, and fig preserves in a dark saison
Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients? Our chocolate lab is named after NOLA Brown Ale.
How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions? I think I'm at 7 or 8. One of those was from my first competition entry, and all the rest are from within the past couple years since I've gotten back into it. The majority of them are from my Scotch Ale.
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with? Usually I brew by myself, but I host club brew days 2 or 3 times a year. I also have split batches with people over the years if they were interested in learning how to brew or how to brew a particular style that I brew often. I usually brew 10 gallon batches, but I can brew up to 20 for most average ABV styles, so it's easy to split among a few people.
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer? Outdoor. My wife loves most of the beers I make, but when we moved to our current house, she requested that I upgrade my equipment so I could brew outside. She doesn't care for the smell of hops in the boil.
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite? To reflect my Cajun heritage, most of my beer names are in French. My Scotch Ale is Écossais Gras (Fat Scot) and Scotch barrel aged version is Écossais Gras Vulgaire (Fat Vulgar Scot). Probably my favorite name is Saison De La Sorcière (Season of the Witch). The first time it was brewed was for a club Iron Brewer competition. We drew Belgian/French styles and had to add "aphrodisiac" ingredients. The team came up with lemon basil, dates, and figs as possibilities, so we settled on all three added to a dark saison. I've since tweaked the recipe here and there and I regularly make it for festivals since it goes over well.