Interview with a Homebrewer

Interview with a Homebrewer – Lock, Comstock & Barrels

Name(s): Robby and Shae Comstock

Day Job(s): QA Engineer and Digital Sales

When did you start homebrewing?
Robby got started homebrewing in 2007 and Shae has just got into homebrewing.

What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
Robby got into homebrewing when his ex-wife bought him a home brewing kit for Christmas.

Do you belong to a homebrew club? What is it?
We run Peak Brew Crew here in Colorado Springs, CO.

Where do you brew? Inside/outside?
We started brewing in the kitchen, moved to the garage when we upgraded to 10 gallon all grain batches and we are now brewing in our basement.

Where do you ferment? Have you had to do anything creative to facilitate this?
We ferment in a chest freezer that has been converted to a fridge. We use an STC-1000 temp control to regulate the temperature. When we have multiple batches going they will not all fit in the fridge. We are really lucky that our basement naturally stays about 68 degrees year around, the perfect temperature to ferment most beers at.

Do you have a pet name for your homebrewing enterprise? If so, can you give us a little background?
We have setup Lipsey Comstock Enterprises LLC, DBA Comstock Brewing. Shae wanted her maiden name to be first on the LLC and Robby had no objection to that. Comstock Brewing is easy since it our last name.

How large are your batches? Homebrew Setup
Right now we are brewing 10 gallon all grain batches. Every once and a while we still brew 5 gallon batches.

What kind of equipment do you have?
Our main brewing equipment is three kegs that Robby converted into a hot liquor tank, mash tun and a boil kettle. Otherwise we have carboys, propane burners, thermometers, hydrometer, stir paddle, buckets, auto siphon, beer bottles, bottle filler, caps, funnel and a wort chiller. You know, your normal brewing kit.

Are you fine with that or do you expect to upgrade to bigger and better?
Robby is always wanting to upgrade to bigger and better. At this time our limit would be how much space we have in the basement. Maybe a three barrel system would fit. Better get the tap measure out first.

What are your favorite styles to brew?
We love brewing Ales and Stouts.

How many batches have you made this year?
We have made 8 batches this year.

Give us some examples and the names you picked out for them if you gave them a name.
Lipsey Ale, Comstock Ale, Addy Ale, Suspicious Growler.

Any bad batches? Were you smited by the homebrewing gods?
We have only had one bad batch. It was an oatmeal stout that would not carbonate. If we had the kegging system we have now we could have saved that batch.

tunBrewing plans for the future?
We continue to improve on beer. Dialing it in to a beer we love. Just like most other homebrewers we have a dream of starting up our own brewery one day. With nano breweries starting to pop up, a nano brewery may be doable right now, but we are just starting to research that possibility.

Plans on entering any competitions this year?
Not this year (2015), but we will next year.

Any awards from past competitions (Just a sampling)?

Any advice you’d like to give other homebrewers?
Don’t give up. To many times we see homebrewers brew a batch or two and get discouraged because they are not making the same quality beer that they can buy at the store. It takes practice and learning to make great beer.

If you were omnipotent, what would you do to right the beer universe?
We would banish all the crap beer out there. Well what we consider crap. These beers might start with a C, M, or B.

Any closing thoughts?
Have fun brewing beer. If it seems like a job then you are not having fun. We would also like to connect with you and share brewing knowledge. We have recently started a podcast, “Home Brewing Beer with Comstock Brewing”, where we share our experiences to our listeners. We also have a YouTube channel sharing our brewing experience.

*** Personal ***

Favorite domestic beer? Grain Mill
Dales Pale Ale from Oskar Blues

Favorite imported beer?

Favorite beer and food pairing?
Ale with a good burger.