In this blog series, we'll be interviewing some of the brewers from our homebrew club to give you an idea of what got them into brewing, what they're currently experimenting with and to hopefully inspire others to take the leap into brewing their own beer at home. The 15th blog in the series features Yann.
How did you get into homebrewing?
I took a friend to the Brew Club in Hackney for a homebrew experience for his birthday. We learned to brew on Braumeisters to make an American Pale Ale and loved the process so much that I started looking into how to get an all grain set up at home.
Current Set up:
I brew on an electric kettle from Klarstein and use a basket, essentially as an all-in-one setup. I don't have much space for too much equipment but it works just fine for my needs. I also ferment in a 25L stainless steel container and only do bottles.
Best piece of homebrewing equipment you own:
Probably the basket which I received from fellow brewer Alban that I use to mash with. Never heard of a stuck sparge!
I'm pretty happy with my current setup, but would love to be able to get into kegging in the future so I can have a couple fancy taps for that "at home pub vibe".
What's your 'go to' style?:
I'm still experimenting quite a bit with styles and flavours to see what I can actually achieve with my setup, but if there is one style I've returned to more than any is the crisp and refreshing Golden Ale I brew with birch water.
The only downside of the pandemic was not being able to have any company over during lock down. I love brewing as a social activity as well, so solo brewing is never as fun. Other than that, the pandemic didn't affect my process very much.
Definitely my "For Finland" Golden Ale that was brewed on the shore of an actual lake in Finland using said lake water. For a rough and ready approach, that was fermented in the sauna with kveik it turned out to be incredibly tasty!
Link to the recipe: https://waterintobeer.co.uk/blogs/news/homebrew-club-recipes-september-2022
That's something I'm currently considering. I would like to repeat my bourbon vanilla Imperial Stout to have for next Christmas as the last one aged beautifully. I would also like to make a refreshing Raspberry Wheat Beer for the coming summer. Those might get entered into competitions if I'm happy with them.
I've entered a handful of competitions but the best result I've gotten so far was an "excellent example" sticker for my Imperial stout at the last LAB open. I'm entering more this year, so fingers crossed for better results but I always appreciate any feedback I get, it's a great learning experience.
Favourite beer of all time:
That's like asking me what my favourite movie is! I find that my tastes are changing all the time though since I've started homebrewing. You would have never caught me drinking a sour a year ago, but I enjoy the seasonal Gose beers that come out of Brew By Numbers. But I would also never be one to turn my nose at a simple commercial lager.
I'm probably not as clued into what breweries are doing as much as others in my Home Brew Club, being a dad somewhat limits my social outings so I don't get to frequently visit as many breweries as I would like! It is interesting to see that a lot of breweries are almost being put in a corner to start going commercial in order to stay afloat in today's market. And while I respect that you need to do what you need to stay relevant, it seems to impact creativity and variety in tap rooms. So any brewery that manages to stay true to their vision is a winner to me.
Just dive in, what's the worst that could happen?! Picking up an extract kit and whipping up a quick batch has never been easier. Also listen to what others have to say, I've loved learning from other homebrewers over the years, the wealth of information and techniques out there never dry up!
Best thing about homebrewing: