Name(s): Mike Lairson & Joe Vickery (Brown Water Brewery)
Day Job(s): Couple of Computer Consultants
When did you start homebrewing?
What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
I have had friends that brewed, and had an interest for a while. I think we can credit a gift of a Rogue Dead Guy clone received by my brewing partner and a friend who let us use his equipment to brew this first batch that pushed us over the edge.
Where do you brew? Inside/outside?
Weather permitting, we cook outside.
Where do you ferment? Have you had to do anything creative to facilitate this?
The brewery is the crawlspace/walk-in basement of Mike's house. The temperature down there stays right around 65 - 70 degrees year round.
Do you have a pet name for your homebrewing enterprise? If so, can you give us a little background?
The Brown Water Brewery gets its name from its location. A couple of years ago, we had a little plumbing problem that resulted in some cleanup under the house. That problem has since been completely cleaned up and fixed so the only brown water down there now is in fermentation vessels, bottles, and kegs.
How large are your batches?
What kind of equipment do you have?
A couple of plastic buckets, a glass carboy, a home made wort chiller, and all the tubes and brushes, and such that go along with it. We have a propane burner for outside brewing.
Are you fine with that or do you expect to upgrade to bigger and better?
We will continue to upgrade slowly. We do have a couple of refrigerators begging to be kegerators and a freezer that we will set up for lagering at some point. We also plan to get our own kegging equipment at some point, since the benevolent brewer we borrow from will want to use his own stuff again one day.
All grain/Extract or both?
So far, we get milled grains and extracts for our brews at the homebrew supply. We often use their kits, which are exceptional, but also tinker with our own recipes as well.
How many batches have you made this year?
11 I think.
Give us some examples and the names you picked out for them if you gave them a name.
Joe's A Dead guy Ale (Rogue Dead Guy clone kit)
She's GonzOatmeal Stout (American Brewmaster Oatmeal Stout kit - out favorite kit)
Bam Bam - Our own recipe: an amped up Maibock that ended at 9% ABV
Wham Bam - Our own recipe: an amped up Bam Bam that is 13% ABV
Kelly Belly Barely Legal Barely Bear - an attempt at a very light beer like Bud Light (but not a lager)
We have also tried other American Brewmaster kits - Belgian Blond, Amer Pale Ale, Alt.
Any bad batches? Were you smited by the homebrewing gods?
2 bad batches so far... the Kelly Belly Barely Legal Barely Beer we were trying to brew for a neighbor who was turning 21 and wanted her own brew for her birthday. All was going fine until it was time to add a little Irish Moss to the wort... blame me for not pre-measuring, or blame Joe for assuming I had... but either way, the entire bag of moss went into the wort and no one knew anything was wrong until time to bottle. End result was bottles of beer with an inch of slime at the bottom. Just another reason to hate light beers, we think.
More recently, we had a bacterial infection that ruined a batch of Alt beer.
Brewing plans for next year?
Switch up our sanitation procedures a bit, get ourselves better outfitted for kegging, and continue to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Any advice you'd like to give other homebrewers?
Brew what you love and you will love to brew. Try other homebrews and talk to other brewers. Most of all, talk to the folks at your local homebrew store... they are great resources.
Any closing thoughts?
Suddenly, I am very thirsty.