Not every beer drinker decides to venture into brewing their own beer, but homebrewing has consistently been a part of the craft beer community. In the past, it allowed drinkers access to styles and taste profiles not available to them. Today, beer drinkers can become more informed about the process and thus the product on which they spend money. Because of the hobby’s place within the industry, Kentucky Growler believes the homebrewers in our Commonwealth deserve a spotlight.
Justin McDaniel is this edition’s Homebrewer.
Since 2013, Justin has been homebrewing brewing beers that “almost perfectly” match up with the beers he chooses from commercial breweries. His first solo recipe was a single hopped pale ale with Citra hops. He started by helping his brother-in-law but quickly started brewing on his own. Now, Justin brews six and ten gallon batches of IPAs, stouts, and Czech pilsners.
He refers to his all-grain setup as “simple.” He uses a classic igloo cooler mash tun, boil kettle, and couterflow chiller. When he brewed his pilsner, he only did a single infusion mash and was happy with the result despite the simple process.
His most challenging brew was an imperial stout with a targeted ABV of over 13%. Justin says the batch was pretty much a failure and he re-brewed it with slightly lower gravity and thought it was successful. Between his pilsner and imperial stout, Justin is a brave and experimenting brewer. He said he wants to brew an eisbock someday and his perfect brew day would involve chatting with Jeffrey Stuffings from Jester King and John Kimmich from The Alchemist.
When he’s not brewing beer, Justin says he can be found outside in his garden, writing at his desk or making pottery. He is also the brand new father of thirteen day old daughter. Justin says the best advice he has been given for homebrewing is “be patient.” He said most times being impatient can lead to ruining a batch. He also wished to extend advice for homebrewers. Justin said “stay away from trying to clone a beer. Be original with your batches.”
Kentucky Growler will periodically feature homebrewer profiles. If you wish to tell us about your journey in brewing, please send an email to Patrick@KentuckyGrowler.com with the subject “Homebrewer Spotlight.”