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 16th blog in the series features Adrian.
How did you get into homebrewing?
I guess I got into it in a leftfield way. Will is part of the Homebrew Club at waterintobeer and I know Will from my radio stuff - and Will was talking up making beer, so I said I would grow him some hops in my garden at home and then boom - Covid - so I grew a bunch of hops (Fuggles) and dried them about 50% and then Will invited me to Mike’s house to brew a beer with what I had grown.
Mike had made his own kit and that appealed to me so I paid attention and then went and bought a bunch of stuff to build a tun and a few other bits and disco - I am now making beer (this is now about Oct 2020) and I got proper into it. Made some bad beers, then got better at it and now I make middle of the road beers - but I might get more adventurous the better I get.
For the record - making beer was listed as the number 36th out of 40 lockdown hobbies. I am officially a Covid Gen Brewer.
Current Set up:
My setup is proper DIY.
I made a mash tun from a cooler box and made the manifold from copper pipe and hacksawed the holes at the bottom. I made a sparge the same way and put a gas fitting through the lid of the cool box. I bought a 27 litre pot from Khan’s in Peckham and drilled a hole at the base to add a gas tap.
The kettle is from Amazon and is basically an abused tea urn. I tried to make the immersion cooler but i fucked it up so I bought one from the web.
My partner bought me a fermentor for Christmas but I still go back to the bucket as I am not into the pressure fermenting business - I would likely blow it up.
Best piece of homebrewing equipment you own:
The best piece of kit was installing an outside tap - gamechanger.
I don’t really have a dream setup - It would be nice to have a shed, but we already have one. It’s not big and is just full of nonsense. My partner puts crap she finds in there and I basically have no room. Old sewing machine tables, boxes of fabric from the late 90’s - all sorts. One day there will be an accidental fire and a new shed will emerge from the ashes. That will be my shed.
What's your 'go to' style?:
My ambition has been to continually create ‘good’ basic beers. basic Pales, Ambers and Red’s. I am beginning to get my head around mixed ferm’s and will head in that direction.
Which beer that you brewed are you most proud of?
The beer I am most proud of is a coffee stout - Imperial, weighing in at 9% and got positive feedback from the High Council of Homebrewing. It's really reaffirming when you get good feedback and makes you feel like you are doing the right thing.
What brews have you got planned in the next few months:
I have an American IPA in the fermentor that Will and I made (90% Will tbh - I was busy making banging chicken wings), but my next personal beer is going to be a SMaSH using super basic ingredients and Fuggles hops, and then I am going to have a 3rd attempt at a Saison, then make a red Ale that will be Mixed Fermentation. That's the plan.
Competitions entered/ placings:
Entered one competition. Lost. It was a fix. Can’t be arsed doing anymore.
Favourite beer of all time:
I had a bottle of Kingfisher Beer one evening on the balcony of an old building in Shimla, India during a tropical monsoon storm with good friends and cheeky monkeys. A more perfect moment does not exist.
Aside from that, I don't really have a favourite. Depends on the weather and location.
What breweries do you feel have pushed the envelope?
I don’t really know that much about breweries except what I pick up from other people. I couldn’t tell you that much about the industry. Not my thing. I do like labelling that’s a bit subtle and not trying to be quirky or ‘crazy’ - I think that's why Kernel beers always look cool. Super basic and not trying too hard.
What piece of advice would you give someone interested in starting homebrewing:
Sanitise your shit!
(No, but really - get clean).
I would also say don’t worry about the gear - start basic and if you get into it, then do you, but getting all the fancy pants bits at the start is maybe excessive. But what do I know - I don’t even note down gravity readings and just guess at stuff half the time.
Also - wherever you can - buy your bits local. Support the thing.
Best thing about homebrewing:
*cue uplifting schmaltzy strings*
It's a community thing. I guess it's the same with lots of hobbies, but I have really enjoyed meeting people and getting to know people. There is a real support for other people and a friendly crew at the wib club and I felt very welcomed.
The creativity of people is really inspiring.
Except for that beer made from pig juices and coca cola - that was demonic and needs to never happen again.
waterintobeer homebrew club takes place on the first Sunday of every month, starting at 2pm.