Brewer Interviews #5 - Daniel Briant

In this blog series, we'll be interviewing some of the brewers from our homebrew club (and in the future from elsewhere) 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 fifth blog in the series features Daniel Briant.

How did you get into homebrewing? 

I got into homebrewing over 6 years ago. It started with the old ginger beer. Ya know, mash up ginger root, add sugar, boiling water and then let it ferment in a demijohn. Making your own liquid rocket fuel. It was amazing!

After possibly killing a few brain cells, I got into beer brewing through the liquid malt beer kits. The first one I ever brewed was Woodfords Wherry. It was an outstanding success.

After researching I found out about all grain brewing and was intrigued. I bought one of those stove top kits which make four litres of beer.  That was be a mini disaster (never made it to bottling!) but I learnt a lot and researched BIAB (Brew In A Bag), which for me was a way better way of brewing. One pot wonder that will be! Much easier for me.

Then from there I was fully hooked on all grain brewing.

Current Set up: 

Over the years I have collected quite a lot of equipment. I have around 10 demijohns, Three 25 litre fermentation vessels and a 20 Litre stockpot for BIAB.

But in December 2018 I got an upgrade - The Grainfather. It’s a fantastic bit of kit that you can even demo at WIB. I use it along with the Hop Spider and a tea urn to boil sparge water.

Best piece of homebrewing equipment you own:
The best piece of equipment I own is used quite a lot - It’s my hydrometer, as without it I would never know I have reached my target gravity.

Dream setup: 

My ideal dream setup would be a brew fridge, so I can better control the temperature of my brewing. Alongside serving my beer in a keg. That’s the dream!

What's your 'go to' style?: 

I enjoy brewing the English pale ale. It’s a very versatile style, always makes for a refreshing beer.

What brews have you got planned in the next few months: 

I’m currently planning on brewing a peanut butter stout to make for a comforting beer after a cold night as now the evenings are drawing in.

I’m also currently planning on brewing my first ever Bretted beer with fruit.

Competitions entered/ placings:
I have entered a few BJCP competitions but never placed, but have always got good feedback, which helped me alot. I have entered BrewCon this year, so fingers crossed. 

I did place in the Top three though for the WIB homebrew club Oktoberfest challenge for a German dunkelweizen.

Favourite beer of all time:
Well that’s a tough one. There’s so many! Wylam’s Jakehead, from Newcastle, Jopen’s Koyt from Amsterdam or Westerhams Grasshopper. But I guess I would put it down to which beer I could drink over and over. That would have to be Titanic’s  Plum Porter.

What breweries do you feel have pushed the envelope?
I would have to say Northern Monk, alongside Hawkes Cidery. Both have very interesting flavours with their styles.

What piece of advice would you give someone interested in starting homebrewing:
Stay clean. There’s no point spending time making beer if your equipment is not clean. Being clean reduces the risk of contamination and a spoiled batch.

If you don’t this will happen!!

Best thing about homebrewing: 

Spending time making a beer, letting it condition, cracking it open after a long day.

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