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 eighth blog in the series features Kat Sewell. You can read up more on her brewing adventures here: https://haveigotbrewsforyou.wordpress.com/
How did you get into homebrewing?
My grandad had broken his hip and was having to downsize his house and so was getting rid of all of his winemaking kit. My dad suggested I take it and make the Belgian style beers I was into as they were difficult to get over here at the time.
Current Set up:
20l Braumiester, 20l SS brewtech conical fermenter for clean beers. Glass demi-johns for mixed ferm beers.
Best piece of homebrewing equipment you own:
The Little Bottler, it has made bottling an absolute breeze. Highly recommend getting one, they are so cheap but incredibly useful.
A fully heated and water connected set up in my shed would be lovely so that I don't have to take over the house. The real dream though is a barn in Belgium.
What's your 'go to' style?:
Saisons. I started off brewing saisons due to my love of Saison Dupont and have now evolved to adding brett.
What brews have you got planned in the next few months:
I have a few things planned, on the mixed ferm front: a dried iranian lime bretted saison and I brewed a spontaneous which will be 3 years old in April so I'm hoping to be able to blend it with something. On the clean beer front: I want to make a horchata stout and a brown ale. I love brown ales and there's definitely not enough of them about. I'm also just about to bottle a bretted black IPA.
Competitions entered/ placings:
I've entered Brewcon 3 times now, I placed 2nd in the mixed ferm/sour beer category two years running. I didn't place this year, my highest score was 42 which gives you an idea of the quality of homebrewing that is taking place in this country. Regardless of placing, it is always useful to get the feedback.
Favourite beer of all time:
Orval. It's my desert island beer, it's constantly changing but always delicious no matter what age it is.
What breweries do you feel have pushed the envelope?
I'm a big fan of anything mixed ferm and there's some very exciting things coming out of British breweries which really give the Belgians and Americans a run for their money. I've been really impressed with Burning Sky, everything Mark Tranter seems to touch turns out perfect. Also Fyne Ales in Scotland, their recent spontaneous beer release was delicious. Yonder have also impressed me, they use a lot of locally foraged items in their beers which is something I try to do.
What piece of advice would you give someone interested in starting homebrewing:
Keep it fun, don't overthink it and worry too much. Yeah, it'll go wrong sometimes but that's all part of the learning curve of homebrewing.
Best thing about homebrewing:
Having beer to drink at the end!