Head Brewer: Doc V’s Alewerks
-spare me your yeast jokes, I’ve heard ‘em
It’s hard to remember all of the details of my homebrewing genesis. I guess I have to go back to 1994 when my wife bought me my first homebrew kit when we lived in Milwaukee. Brewing seemed like a great hobby, but it made even better financial success due to the lack of beer money during medical school. It’s weird to think about it, but at the time I was not only ignorant to the process, but had very little resources to get more information. At first, I broke into Charlie Papazian’s first edition on homebrewing and did my best. I worked with extract kits that had collected dust at the back of a gas station/convience store and I was fairly disappointed with the results. Not to be deterred, I eventually found a homebrew supply store with an owner that was a firm believer that good beer is made only with maximum visible yeast activity. As a result, most of my beers were fermented starting at about 90f and had that nice hot, medicine-y flavor that we all look for in a quality beer. Give me some slack here, there was minimal internet at the time, few homebrew books, and no club to join for better info.
Nevertheless, I stuck with it and eventually made some quality breakthroughs with the advent of better books, homebrew forums, and better ingredients. I moved to northern California and had access to a sweet variety of hops- then moved from the stovetop to a turkey burner with extract. Fast forward to Manitowoc where I spent plenty of time on forums and asked a lot of questions. And who should have answered one of my queries other than user “DMTaylor” who seemed to be on every forum. He saw my address tag and invited me to Manty Malters. Since then, I’ve gathered as much info as possible from you guys and it has certainly made my hobby more enjoyable.
I currently brew with a lazy man’s system. I started with brew-in-a-bag back when the Australians posted the “new” process, and I like the “one vessel” system since I despise cleanup. After brewing awhile, some friends were coming over on a regular basis and kicking kegs in my garage with some regularity so I needed to increase production. I made up a system where I could brew 15 gal batches with the same single-vessel concept and I’ve stuck with that process up to today. As a result of the bigger batches, three of my partners bought kegging systems for their basements, and I am slowly destroying their livers as well. I use the other excess kegs for charity auctions, and that keeps the soldiers (empty kegs) in regular rotation.
I love the process, I love the culture, and I love the beer. What other hobby allows you to open up your garage door on a Saturday night and have half of the neighborhood show up within a few hours? In all seriousness, I greatly appreciate the education and camaraderie from the members of this club. I am in your debt, gents.