Full Name: Daniel Routh
Home Brewery name (if you have one): Bugger All Brewing
How long have you been brewing? About 5 or 6 years
How did you get started brewing? Like a lot of people, I started with the Mr. Beer kits and went from there.
How long have you been a member of the ZOO? Since 2012.
How did you find out about the club? By searching the internet for local clubs. I was looking for like-minded homebrewers and an organization that would help me grow as a brewer.
Typical batch size: 10 gallons for beer, 5 gallons for cider.
Describe your brewing setup: A self-built two tier HERMS system with keg vessels, Chugger pump, and stainless coil for the heat exchanger. The HERMS coil is from nybrewsupply.com. It is actually just a 50 foot stainless wort chiller that I put hose barb fittings on and then made a hanging mount to suspend it in my HLT. I figured it would make for easier cleanup and draining if it were removable.
What is your favorite style to brew? Mostly stout and cider.
What has been your biggest challenge as a homebrewer? Finding time to brew and keeping records.
Why, do you think, it is so hard to find time to brew and how you have overcome that problem?
It can be hard for me to find time to brew because I am a night shift ICU nurse, so my schedule can be weird sometimes. Now that I am on a set schedule, it will be easier to find time, but right now all but one of my kegs are full, so it can also be a matter of packaging space as well. I hate bottling, so I usually wait to have open kegs before brewing. When I had weird scheduling days, I would usually stay up late and brew the night before I started a run of shifts and then (depending on fermentation and work schedule) rack to secondary or keg when I got home in the mornings. So basically, when I have time I try to use it to the best of my ability.
Have you ever had to dump a batch? If so, what happened?
I have dumped two batches. The first was an attempt at hard cider, but the cider I bought had preservatives in it, so it wouldn’t ferment. The second was an
attempt at a strawberry pale ale. The two pounds of frozen puréed strawberries sparked another fermentation (of course) and clogged the air lock. When I pulled the air lock it spewed puree and seeds and beer that hit the ceiling! After that disaster, I kegged and carbonated it and it ended up tasting horrible (very vegetal).
What was the biggest mishap you ever encountered when brewing? (bottle bombs, broken equipment, big messes, etc.)
I once had a CO2 line leak that emptied my tank over the course of a weekend and a stuck fermentation once, but no broken bottles/equipment. Had a few boil-overs too.
What has been your biggest success as a homebrewer? Winning 3rd in specialty in the 1776 competition this Spring (my first competition) and having my beer served at two weddings so far.
What beer won third in the competition, and what beers did you brew for the weddings?
My imperial oatmeal coffee chocolate stout, Brunch Stout, (my version of Founder’s Breakfast stout) won third in the specialty category in this Spring competition. As for the wedding beers, I made an Oktoberfest lager for my buddy Nate’s wedding and it was the first brew on my 10 gallon system and only my second lager. It went over well as we went through 5 gallons of it! The other wedding beer was for my friend at work’s son’s wedding. It was a gruit made with rosemary, yarrow, bayberry, lemon peel, sweet orange peel, and coriander. It was kind of fitting because the ceremony was at a Renaissance fair and everyone liked it and were asking for a bottle to take home.
What is your favorite part of brewing your own beer? The technical aspects and science of brewing. I also love brewing with other people and teaching people about the brewing process. And enjoying the end product isn’t so bad either.
Do you have any other stories, facts, or information about yourself you would like to share with the club?
I have two hop plants, a Chinook and a Centennial that I enjoy growing and maintaining.
How long have you grown your own hops? Have you used them in a beer, and how did you use them? (bittering, dry-hopping, etc.) If you used them for bittering, how did you estimate the bitterness they would provide?
I have been growing hops for the past 4 or 5 years. I have had the Chinook that long and have had the centennial for about 3 years now (got it as a container plant from Bachman). I have used my Chinook in two beers so far. I
used it in a small batch SMASH beer and also used it in this year’s Mother’s Fest IPA in dry hopping. As for the bittering use in the SMASH beer, I guessed at the alpha and plugged it into BeerSmith as lead hops. I wasn’t too concerned with the IBUs on it because it was just an small batch experiment and there was no way to know the alpha acids in them (short of sending them off for analysis somewhere, which would be a total waste).