The Lord's Favorite Homebrew Club

Chris Graham.

October 2017

Project Description

Home Town (City, State): Sugarhood! Salt Lake City, UT. Originally from New Orleans, LA

Homebrew Club: Lauter Day Brewers

I’ve been a homebrewer since: Moving to Utah in mid 2015

Do you have a homebrewing disaster you’d like to share?

I used to not do much in terms of water treatment. I didn’t need to at my old apartment and I didn’t even know it was a thing. When I moved into an old house in Sugarhouse, the water was…different. My first batch brewed there was a Hefeweizen, and tasted like straight up plastic! 5 gallons down the drain.

Also, my first Barley Wine exploded all over my wife’s ski gear, twice. That was a fun cleanup.

What is your favorite style(s) to brew?

I always have an IPA in the works. The latest NEIPA craze isn’t helping the problem. Otherwise I’m a seasonal brewer. I feel it’s hard to mess up a stout, so I go there often when I want to get creative but still ensure a drinkable product at the end. Belgians are fun too because the yeast is such a huge factor in the outcome and there’s almost no such thing as an off-flavor.

What style(s) will you never brew?

Things you can just pick up at the store that will be better and cheaper: light lagers, pilsners, low-point golden ales etc. I brew to drink the beers you can’t get at the grocery store and don’t want to pay the man (the DABC) for. And when it comes to gravity, bigger is better in my opinion. Plus, those beers are very easy to mess up; any off flavor cannot be hidden. I’ll leave that stuff to the pros.

What was the first beer you ever brewed?  How did it turn out?

Standard IPA extract kit from the Beer Nut. It was good, nothing to rave about, but good enough to get me hooked and wanting more. I did two more extracts until I was bored and upgraded to all-grain.

Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great?

Everyone’s had a grapefruit IPA, but have you ever had one with extra pulp? Pretty much, we thought the crappy strainer inside my brew kettle was enough to strain out two grapefruits plus hops. We were very wrong. Since we were on cold side, we didn’t know what to do to clear the clog other than just dump into buckets and pray. It actually came out pretty good…had to explain it several times after the pour though….

What is your favorite beer recipe?

The IPA I’ve been tweaking all year, see below. It’s basically an NEIPA, but with a little bit more bitterness (90 IBU). A kind of pricey hop bill, but still better than buying 30 crowlers from breweries nobody’s ever heard of. I’m still tweaking the water chem and admit I’m mostly guessing, but the last batch came out real nice just like this.

Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you’ve found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc?

For such a cheap gadget, a refractometer has had a big impact. Being able to take quick readings throughout the mash and boil gives me the flexibility to adjust on the fly and hit target consistently.

Also, gotta love the mobile Beersmith app. We play on our phones all day anyway, might as well mess with your recipes while you’re at it.

Describe your brew system.

Pretty basic all-grain setup, recently upgraded to 10 gallon capacity: 15 gallon brew kettle. Blichmann Hellfire burner. 10 gallon cooler mash tun with false bottom. A janky wooden stool for elevation that’s going to give out any day.

How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)? I try to get 10-12 beers a year. I shoot for one a month, but most of my brewing tends to occur in the fall and spring.

What is your favorite hop? Why?

I don’t have a favorite. In fact, the Beer Nut and Salt City probably love that instead of buying one pound bags to save money, I come up to the register with 6-8 individual 1 oz packets. I love experimenting with the variety.

Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?

I’m currently engaged in an intimate affair with Imperial A24 “Dry Hop.” It has high attenuation, and pumps those juicy IPA’s with even more fruity flavors and a little bit of funk that complement new age hops well.

How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions?None! I hope to change that soon. I entered AHA this year; got decent scores but no places. Totally missed Beehive because of my stupid job…need to remedy that…

Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with?

I often brew alone, but also with a couple Hop Bombshell friends that got me into the hobby. My wife helps consume the end-result, and doesn’t shy away from providing tough-but-fair feedback.

Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer?

Outdoor mostly, but I’ll do a quick extract recipe on the stove on rainy days.

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