38 Replies Latest reply on Feb 22, 2011 11:01 PM by Maryjane Bull Branched to a new discussion.

    How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?

    Mark Obrien

      I became interested in homebrewing after I had one of my grandfather’s home brewed Porters.  He got his start during prohibition and continued brewing long into his 90’s.  I have fond memories of our visits and always enjoyed swapping six packs of our latest creations.

       

      I haven’t brewed a batch in a couple of years but I’m thinking about unpacking my supplies, dusting off my Carboy and getting back in the game.  I’m not sure my wife will be so happy with the heavy smell of malt wafting through the house, so I may have to figure out a way to cook up a batch outside.

       

      My most successful batch was an Imperial Stout that was adapted from a recipe that I found in the Complete Joy of Homebrewing.  I also had good success with several batches of IPA.

       

      How did you get started home brewing?

        • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
          Bradley Sturgeon

          Hey Mark...i have been homebrewing for ~8 years and it all started with chemistry! As a chemistry professor, i found almost every aspect of brewing to work into the general chemistry and thermodynamics courses, as well as the amazing history and cultural discussions. The famous chemist James P. Joule was a brewer/scientist! Being slightly obsessed with the "hobby", i am an all-grain brewer, a BJCP (beer judge certification program; www.bjcp.org) judge, and two years ago i started a hop yard (~1/8 acre). I brew acceptable beer, i am an okay judge (i continue to practice often), and i am NO botanist (my hop plants grow, but the Japanese beetles dominate)!

          • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
            Brandon Metzger

            Mark,

             

            Thanks for the invite. There is no better way to get me into the ACS network than a home brewing group. I started 72 batches, several books, years of homebrew magazines, 100's of podcasts ago. The hobby continues to grow. I got started from a co-worker (epidemioligist) and have since got a toxicologist involved. So, I see homebrewing as a great way to get nutritionist, epidemioligist, and toxicologist talking on the same wavelength.

             

            I have access to all sorts of ideas working in a natural products career. My resonating question is: "How would that taste in a beer?" Herbs to foods run the gamet and I have even extracted my own homegrown hops by supercritical fluid extraction (tasty version of Pliny the elder). I have a novel method for culturing local bret strains as well.

             

            Brandon Metzger

            • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
              Robert Tullman

              I won't count the beer made in a plastic garbage bag with a rubberband around the neck as a fermentation lock that a friend and I made in Junior High after reading a book called "Homebrewing Without Failure", by H.E. Bravery.  Since neither of us really drank beer at the time, it was hard to say how it came out...but we did it.

               

              Fast forward to about four years ago when I finally got to taste some Sweet Mead at a Renaissance Festival. I got interested in it, found the Internet site http://www.gotmead.com  and embarked upon a hobby of Mead Making.  Made several small batches, some of which were actually pleasantly drinkable.  A year or two ago, I helped a colleague at work who had started home brewing (Beer).  I imparted to him all my fermentation knowledge gathered from Mead making, but realized I had no clue about brewing beers and ales. Soon, I was in the thick of extract brewing.  I happened to hear a podcast about Gruits by Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, and followed it up with visits to the Gruitale.com site. My first ales, then were either traditional or decidedly NON-Traditional depending on how you view it.

               

              Small batches of hopless Gruits, one a Mugwort ale, the other made with Yarrow Flower, Myrica Gale and Ledum Groenlandicum (Labrador Tea).  Both were quite delicious and interesting, and I infected a much more experienced Home Brewer acquaintance with the Gruit fever.  Soon, I succumbed to the worship of the devil Hop and made a few batches of more 'normal' beer, including an All Amarillo IPA, and a German Style Lager along with many batches of Hard Cider from the famous  Ed Wort's Apfelwein recipe as well as the Graff - Malted Cider recipe.

               

              Now I have many carboys sitting EMPTY.  Lots of plans for more brews, but much less time to make them realities. I promised a Winter Lager to a friend, but he may have to wait awhile longer.

               

              In the meantime I enjoy having a home laboratory in the form of a basement brewery and learning a lot about the art and science of brewing.

              • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                Peter Holda

                Mark,

                Thanks for the invite - it's been years since I brewed last, but I have been thinking of starting up again.  I began in college when a classmate (Chemical Engineer) brewed an excellent stout.

                 

                I look forward to the discussions and would like to start with the question: What is the best way to clean and disinfect equipment/bottles.  In the past I used a bleach solution, but was thinking of a mild soap wash and a weak peroxide rinse to avoid any chlorine residue?

                  • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                    Robert Tullman

                    Sanitation is a much discussed topic. I have settled on Iodophor solutions for the final sanitization step for carboys racking canes, air locks and other equipment though I still soak bottles in a dilute bleach + vinegar solution prior to running them through the dishwasher.

                     

                    When I started out, I used the ONE-STEP cleaner (sodium percarbonate based) and had no trouble, but would sometimes find a little residue despite the claims of it being a no-rinse cleaner/sanitizer.

                     

                    I use Oxy-Clean or Oxy-magic for cleaning out carboys after use. They work GREAT easily removing those stubborn krausen rings but if left too long, they leave a residue as well.

                     

                    Here are some great podcasts on sanitizing with various agents:

                     

                    Bleach and Starsan

                     

                    Iodophor

                     

                    In the first podcast, the StarSan chemist says that 1 oz Bleach + 1 oz white vinegar in 5 gal water is an effective no-rinse sanitizer, but I can still smell bleach, so I always rinse when I use it.

                      • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                        Peter Holda

                        Thank you.

                         

                         

                        Best regards,

                         

                        Peter Holda

                        Lead Business Consultant - Polyolefins

                         

                        Lyondell Chemical Company

                        One Houston Center, Suite 700

                        1221 McKinney Street

                        Houston, TX  77010

                        Office Phone:  713-309-7815

                        Cell Phone:     713-402-8151

                         

                        peter.holda@lyondellbasell.com

                        www.lyondellbasell.com<http://www.lyondellbasell.com/

                        • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                          James Jeitler

                          Although I have never had any problems with sanitizing, I have friends who have lost batches do to unknown microbes.  I use Oxy-Clean for the first wash of all my bottles.  I fill the bathtub with water and get the Oxy-Clean to dissolve and then add the bottles.  I can get more than enough bottles soaking for one batch, if i am careful about stacking I can get almost enough for two batches in at once.  The Oxy-Clean works great for getting stubborn labels off of bottles also (my wife likes it too beacuse once I finish the tub is clean).  After that, I simply soak everything in Iodophor.  After brewing I simply use dish detergent to clean everything up - a little scubbing gets everthing out, unless I let it sit too long - then I reach for the Oxy-Clean for the carboy.

                            • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                              Robert Tullman

                              I've seen that strategy of "Keep the Wife Happy with a Clean Bathtub" from many homebrewers!!  I may have to adopt it myself as I generally end up cluttering the utility sink in the laundry room to no great acclaim

                               

                              As I said, I usually use the dishwaser method after a  soak, though I fear that my dishwasher heat dry cycle does not meet the sanitizing requirement of >160 deg F for the 20 minute cycle. I usually pre-soak in bleach solution, and rinse, prior to dishwasher cycle and haven't had any issues, though most would argue that the rinse step negates the sanitatization step.

                               

                              I have also tried piling the bottles in the oven with a loose foil cap and heating to 325 deg F for 60 min then cooling overnight, but this proved to be more of a pain than the dishwasher method.  I should probably invest in a bottle tree to do a quck sanitizer rinse, but that might take up additional space in my already crowded basement corner Bruhaus.

                                • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                  James Jeitler

                                  I have a bottle tree which is indespensible now that I do not have a dishwasher.  I use a 5 minute santizer soak and dry on the tree (I used to load up the dishwasher for the bottles to drain).

                                    • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                      Brandon Metzger

                                      Kegging is so much easier, think of it as washing one bottle. I use to involve the kids in helping to wash and fill bottles. One negative of kegging is that I am doing it solo, but now I have more time with the family. I avoid bleach due to the possibility of getting off flavors, I have found bleach aromas difficult to get rid of.

                                       

                                      Brandon Metzger, Ph.D. | Research Scientist

                                      Standard Process, Inc. | Department of Research & Development

                                      p 262.495.6442 |  f 262.495.6399  |  bmetzger@standardprocess.com<mailto:xxxxxx@standardprocess.com>

                                       

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                                      • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?

                                        I sterilize bottles the way we sterilized dry glassware in grad school.  Wrap a small square of Al foil on the top of each bottle.  Stack them (on their sides) in the oven.  Bake at 300 F for 30 minutes (I raise the temp gradually to avoid heat shock).  Do this in the evening so they can cool over night.  In the morning, put the bottles away.  The bottles stay sterile until you need them.  No need to wash, rinse, etc, and sterilizing can be done days, weeks, or months in advance of bottling day.  When bottling, just take out a case of sterile bottle, slip off the Al cap, and add the beer.

                                • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                  Mike Koenig

                                  StarSan is your friend!!!  Rapid sanitization, and it degrades into something the yeast can eat (so I've been told, I'm no expert on yeast metabolism), with no flavor residue.

                                   

                                  I was considering kegging, but StarSan made bottling tolerable.

                                   

                                  I used to use Iodophor, but StarSan is so much quicker, and doesn't stain.

                                   

                                  --mike

                                • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                  dpvwia

                                  Ironically, I got interested in home brewing after living in France, where it was hard to find anything but lagers in most bars and restaurants.  Obviously this was not the case the closer you got to Belgium.  I had previously lived in the Pacific Northwest, where I caught the microbrew bug - so I was missing IPA's and porters!

                                   

                                  I'm a chemical engineer and a researcher, so I am pretty meticulous about my recipe and techniques.  I prefer to keep things simple for now, brewing classic beer styles or one-off's (like a black IPA).  I also like to take stock recipes and tweak them - I added maple syrup to a brown ale extract kit that someone gave me, coffee to a cream stout kit, etc.  I also like to take extract recipes and make improvements like replacing LME with DME, using only light extracts and adjusting for color with the steeping grains, using late extract addition, etc.  I've developed a sort of standard procedure for all my beer, regardless of the recipe, which reduces process variability and lets me focus on the ingredients.  About every fourth beer I brew is an American pale ale, which is an excerise I'm doing to try to benchmark my brewing progress!

                                   

                                  Right now I'm fermenting a modified recipe of Northern Brewer's Waldo Lake amber ale for the holidays, I just bottled a coffee cream stout, and I have in bottles my own black IPA recipe as well as a maple brown ale.  A robust porter is up next - modeled after Great Lakes Brewing's Edmund FItzgerald Porter, a fantastic beer.

                                   

                                  Cheers,

                                   

                                  Dave

                                  • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                    Mike Koenig

                                    Thanks for the invite - this was a good way to get me to do something with the ACS network.

                                     

                                    I'm an analytical chemist, and got started brewing when a colleague from another lab asked me to determine ethanol content in a few of his brews by GC (it turns out that the theoretical content calculated from the hydrometer readings was dead on with the GC determination, but it was fun to prove it).  This got me started talking and brewing not long after.

                                     

                                    Lately, I do all grain batches when I get the time (which isn't too often),  as well as some cider (which takes all of 10 minutes, except for bottling).

                                     

                                    --mike

                                    • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?

                                      Thanks for the invite to the conversation...

                                       

                                      10 years ago I worked with someone who supplied beer at company functions (250+ people) all by himself!  I was so amazed by this that I made a batch with him for my sister's engagment party.  Based on the responses I received, I was hooked.  Being a biochemist working in a microbiology lab for my graduate work, I figured I might as well use those disciplines in my hobbies!!!  Been doing it ever since although lately it has been tough now with kids and house, no time!!  The upside to that is that I'm able to reassess my equipment and make upgrades.  

                                       

                                      Never thought that I had any artistic ability but now that I brew beer, this is my art form that I share with all.

                                      • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                        Allen Vickers

                                        I became interested when I bought into a microbrewery. Oh the fun of being a taster for our brewmaster/my partner Steve.

                                        • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                          Kent Hillard

                                          Thanks for the invitation. For me beer was always something of a mystery beverage. I could understand wine better, and in fact dabbled a bit into experiments with juice from crushed grapes and spontaneous fermentation from the yeast on the skin (or on damaged parts that secrete sweet juice and attract insects that carry Saccharomyces spp. yeast). After changing majors from biological sciences to engineering to anthropology (archaeology and ancient languages) my interest in wine and beer continued (although primarily in drinking the stuff), and eventually I began to research the origins of wine and beer and the role of these beverages in certain ancient societies. I was fortunate that one of my professors was a consultant for the then recent Katz/Maytag experiment into Sumerian beer, and in fact he brought in a case of the Anchor “Ninkasi” brew during a December department part at the university for a few of us grad students to drink.

                                           

                                          Nearly ten years ago I began fairly serious research into beer in ancient Mesopotamia, and was working through the Hymn to Ninkasi, a Sumerian text that some have used as a model for reconstructing the process of Sumerian brewing. I called Fritz Maytag to ask a few questions about his experience in creating the Ninkasi beer his company had made, and on his own impressions as a brewer on the interpretations of this text. He was extremely kind in answering my questions, and spent quite a bit of his time with me, but at one point he said, “You know, why don’t you take up brewing and try some experiments of your own. You would learn a lot more from your own experimentation than you could from talking to me.” I had always thought about learning to brew but always seemed to have an excuse for never getting around to it. But after Maytag’s suggestion, I decided to jump in. It made perfect sense, after all. While I still study ancient brewing as part of my research, brewing has become not only a means of experimental archaeology but even more so a hobby in its own right.

                                           

                                          By the way, I really enjoy certain Belgian ales, and have been experimenting with caramelized sugar syrups. Is there anyone else making this also? If so, please let me know.

                                           

                                          Kent

                                           

                                          kgarryh@yahoo.com

                                          • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                            Jim Lombardi

                                            Thank you for the invitiation!  I started homebrewing about 10 years ago when my wife bought me the kit that they sold at the science store in the mall.  It made two batches - one turned out fine, the other was aweful!  After that I visited my local homebrew shop, read Papazian's "the New Joy of Homebrewing," and started brewing with much better ingredients and knowledge.  All of my batches have been extract with specialty grains, and I've won several awards at competitions.  Some day I'd like to try all-grain brewing.

                                            • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                              David Kelm

                                              Thanks for the invitation.  I have yet to brew any beer at home. Hope to begin soon, as soon as I canm assemble some supplies and some space.

                                              My experience comes from a membership in the Master Brewers Association many years ago in Milwaukee.  I was in the far upstream end, selling barley to the maltsters, unloading and storing malting barley through a large grain elevator, and handling some of the byproducts of the malting and brewing business.

                                              I may want to try malting my own barley also. That is actually easier than the brewing and can be done in a kitchen oven ( with close supervision and a good thermometer.).

                                               

                                              David Kelm   San Antonio TX  dakelop@yahoo.com

                                              • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?

                                                I got started with home brewing at Madison Area Technical College.  It was a required course for receiving a cerificate in Biotechnology.  After having a wonderful time and learning lots about yeasts and hops, we finally sampled our brew.  It was wonderful!  I haven't had the chance to try it at home yet, but it's on the list.

                                                • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                  James Jeitler

                                                  I first became interested in home brewing after a grad school roomate brewed up a batch of the best wheat beer that I had tried up to that point. Of course this was the early 90's in Worcester, MA and the "Imported" beer section at the liquor store included Knickerbocker which is (was?) brewed with corn!  I started my own brewing when i moved to Moscow, Idaho.  One of the undergrads at the University of Idaho became my "O-Beer-Wan Kenobi" and taught me to brew.  I have continued the tradition and teach anyone who is interested how to brew their own beer.

                                                  • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                    Max Saffell

                                                    I started in college at a Brew on Premise (BOP) in Boulder. When I moved back to Maryland I found a BOP in Virginia and made a few batches. From there I had a basic understanding of the steps required, so I bought a homebrewing set up, and started making extract brews at home. After reading up on Brew in a Bag techniques, I've gone to an all grain, no sparge method. I increase my grain bill by a few pounds, and mash in with a really thin mash, stirring frequently over a very low flame to keep a constant mash temperature.

                                                     

                                                    As for cleaning, I only use bleach, and my dishwasher. Bleach goes on all the plastic buckets and anything that touches the cooled wort. For bottles, I rinse them with my bottle washer with very hot water, then run them in my dishwasher on high temperature setting with no soap. A dozen batches later, I've never had an infection.

                                                     

                                                    I've also made a hard cider, but that turned out to be a bust. Hose smelled like a rotten egg factory, and in the end my wife didn't like it. Need to read up a little more on that subject before I tackle it again.

                                                     

                                                    Cheers

                                                      • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                        Robert Tullman

                                                        The sulfurous stench is common with ciders due to the lack of balanced yeast nutrient in the apple juice.  Some wine yeasts like EC-1118 and Montrachet seem particularly prone to this.  I found that adding some Yeast nutrient (I used FERMAX) drastically reduced or eliminated the odor. The odor during fermentation never seemed to really affect the final product, though.

                                                          • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                            Max Saffell

                                                            Thanks Robert - I'll have to try that again this year. Last year I travelled out to a place near Sharpsburg, MD where a cider maker grows and presses apples both for fresh cider and hard cider. I made a hard cider with the juice of Kingston Blacks. I have a question though. When fermentation was complete, I primed the batch before bottling to make it a sparkling cider. The cider was very dry after bottle conditioning, and my wife and I were not real fans of it. Is there a yeast strain that you could recommend that might have lower attenuation, so that the cider remains a bit sweeter. Or would I have to add lactose to the cider for this sweetness. I'd like to make another batch, but do not want 30 bombers of really dry cider that no one likes. Thank you

                                                              • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                Robert Tullman

                                                                Sweet ciders are hard to make. My ciders come out very dry as well, since I generally use wine yeasts but I enjoy them more than some of the commercial ciders (Woodpecker, Woodchuck) which seem to be somewhat sweetened.

                                                                 

                                                                There are two methods I have seen for sweet ciders:  either a sorbate/sulfite treatment to kill the yeast followed by a backsweetening with either sugar or apple concentrate. Other folks have sweetened with non-fermentable sugars such as lactose prior to bottling as you suggest.  There are some yeasts, like the Danstar Windsor that tend to leave higher gravities, so maybe you would get some residual sugars that way, but it may be that the Windsor only leaves residual sugar from complex carbohydrates in malt and would still cut through the simple sugars in cider.

                                                                 

                                                                You might be interested in the recipe I linked to in my first post. "GRAFF" is a malted cider beverage using a 1 gal wort made with malt extract and specialty grains which is added to apple juice/cider at a rate of 1 gal wort/4 gal of juice.  The malt and specialty grains leave some sweetness, though it can turn out rather tart. The recipe calls for a small amount of hops to add flavor, but I left the hops out of mine. It calls for an ale yeast (I used Nottingham) and some folks have used the Danstar Windsor and ended up with a FG of 1.020

                                                                 

                                                                It tasted GREAT right out of the fermenter. Soon after bottling and priming, it sort of tasted like bad beer. Too malty and not so much apple flavor. After a couple of months, though, it really evened out and turned into a really nice drink with the apple flavor coming through and being nicely complemented by the malty sweetness.

                                                          • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                            Christopher Rappleye

                                                            Hi everyone, my name is Travis and I'm a...  oh, wrong forum.

                                                             

                                                            I have enjoyed beer for years, but I only got into brewing this year actually, in January.  A friend of mine who used to brew needed to free up some room in his garage.  Since he hadn't brewed in years, he offered all of his equipment to me, which was quite an extensive set.  I opted for the feet first approach to home brewing and gladly accepted.  My first brew was an extract batch robust porter which turned out quite well, in fact I'm still enjoying it!  The recipe was developed from several other recipes in Victory Beers.  Since then I've made the transition to all-grain and have brewed several batches.  I'm hooked! 

                                                             

                                                            Right now I have a helles bock fermenting away and am planning a Veteran's Day wheat ale.

                                                            • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                              Edine Heinig

                                                              The simple answer is from drinking beer. We lived in Lawrence, KS and got introduced to microbreweries at Free State Brewery. Since then I have always wanted to try my hand at it. I have a brewing starter kit on my wish list.

                                                              • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                Chris Boone

                                                                I started brewing 10 years ago with some friends, and we've been going ever since.  We started out with partial grain brewing, then moved quickly to all grain.  The equipment and methods we employ have improved over the years, and we have never made (knock on wood) a bad batch.  We're down to about a 4 hour process for a 5 gallon batch, and usually can brew two in about 6 hours total by staggering them.  We tend to brew high gravity beers (barleywines, RIS, Belgian Trippels), but also do a lot of other styles.

                                                                • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                  Amanda Martinez

                                                                  Hello all!

                                                                   

                                                                  I have been a beer lover for years due to the abundance of craft brewers in my area but I started homebrewing a year and a half ago when I finally got over my fear of doing cell culture in my kitchen. Now I love it. I am still extract brewing because I am space limited. i would love to eventually get one of the Blichmann systems I drool over at my homebrew shop. My most successful brew to date has been a pumpkin stout that even my mom loved. (She's not much of a drinker)

                                                                  • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                    Bill Stevenson

                                                                    I have always interested in brewing but didn't try it myself until I started my first job and had plenty of room for the experiment. I started with cans of malt extract and hops extract. The result was drinkable but had a slight cooked or scalded taste. I gradually progressed to more elaborate concoctions until I was buying whole grain malt and cracking it myself with a hand operated corn mill. There were a few flops along the way. Once I inadvertantly made a light beer by using twice the called for water (I boiled the wort but didn't boil it down). But the results became better and better and the time consumed less and less. My specialties were German style wheat beer and English Pale Ale, both of which were hard to come by  in stores at the time. I once calculated that on a material cost basis my beer cost me $0.23 a bottle, but if I paid myself minimum wage for the time I spend brewing and bottling, the price would be about the same as buying imported beer at the supermarket. It was a fun hobby. Chemistry in action. And there's nothing like the steady glugging of a fermenting tank to lull you to sleep at night.

                                                                     

                                                                    When a friend of mine heard I was a homebrewer he told me that he and his roommate tried making a batch in their college dorm room using a plastic garbage pail as a fermenter. The result came out green and the taste was underwhelming. "Was it ever nasty!" he said. I asked how long he aged the beer. Blank stare. "Age? We drank it the next day." Considering my friend's equipment, aging was probably the least of his problems, but since fermentation generally takes 3-6 days, he was probably drinking green beer in more ways than one.

                                                                    • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                      Steven Schultz

                                                                      Thanks for the invite Mark! This is a great topic for the ACS Network.

                                                                       

                                                                      I got started during my third year at university. A housemate had taken on the responsibility of brewing up the beer for the annual biology club spring party. I volunteered to help with the boil and the bottling and have been hooked ever since. Hard to believe that was almost twenty years ago. Ten years ago I moved from Seattle to Germany and now live in the Netherlands. I was amazed that so many of the ingredients that I could find in the US weren't available at the time in Europe. At least not that I could find. Since I didn't bring any of my equipment with me I replaced it all by ordering from American suppliers. Shipping => Ouch!! These days the brewery is fully stocked. Still brewing only from extract with the occasional mini-mash and very pleased with the results. Now I just wish that Europe would catch onto the great beer that is being brewed by the American micros. I can occasionally find a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale but that is about it. Every issue of Zymurgy leaves me longing to catch the next plane to Seattle to sample the beers I have just read about. Choices, eh?

                                                                      • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                        Brian Gilbert

                                                                        Hi folks!  Like many others, I got interested in brewing by drinking beer.  As a grad student, my wife gave me a copy of "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing", and a couple of my buddies and I started up.  It continued through a postdoc, and at this point, through my tenure as a professor at Linfield (just south of Beervana...).  It also led to my best idea for a course ever - The Art and Science of Brewing.  A non-major's upper division science course.

                                                                        • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                          Chad Herrman

                                                                          Great thread Mark,

                                                                           

                                                                          I got started as an undergraduate student at University of Illinois.  Several of my friends brewed and I interned one summer at a small brewery in Wisconsin.  I learned quite a bit about the process and quality checks before, during, and after fermentation.  I have been making small batches periodically, and I have moved from pure extract brewing to partial mash brews.  I find adding the partial mash to the process adds signficant flavor and body to the beer.  American pale ales are by far the easiest for me to make and keep fresh for the longest period of time.

                                                                          • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                            Judy Sophianopoulos

                                                                            I haven't actually started, but my son-in-law brewed some great beer several years ago.  He's always been interested in beer, but the only time i heard him be interested in chemistry was when I told him of the ACS webinar and home brewing group!  I missed the webinar: it was full, but I started viewing the webinar and hope to have time to finish it soon.  I also hope my son-in-law and I can form a successful beer partnership!  His wife (my daughter) doesn't mind the smells of brewing beer!

                                                                            • Re: How Did You Get Interested in Home Brewing?
                                                                              Joseph Schultz

                                                                              My dad and I brewed many years ago before liquid yeast became prevalent.  Most of his batches all tasted the same.  He drifted away from the hobby when really good beer became more commercially available (think Goose Island, Two Brothers, Sierra Nevada, etc) and I moved out.  Then four years ago the microbiologist in our lab left a Northern Brewer catalog on my desk.  She said her husband had enough hobbies and didn't even want him to see that catalog!  That resparked my interest.  Just as I was about to purchase the equipment, my dad said he would give me everything he had (saving me hundreds $).  Thirty-some batches later, I always try to have three on tap (and a soda for the kids).  I've started some more advanced techniques like decoction mashes for German lagers and have been entering competitions to get some really good feedback.  At my current employer, there are about five of us that regularly discuss the hobby and try to get together and sample (always the best part!).