December 2017 Home Brewer of the Month

Meet The Home Brewer

Name: Justin Michael Clark (aka Kiffness)
How many years have you been Brewing? About 3 Years?
How did you get into Home Brewing? As broke University student we were always looking for ways to drink more for less. One day we walked into the local hardware store and saw the Coopers extract kit. The idea of brewing our own beer seemed like sorcery. After making something that loosely resembled beer we then turned to all grain and never looked back.
Favourite brewing method? All Grain, RIMS/HERMS ideally
Piece of equipment you just can’t do without? My water filter. After a few failed batches due to poor municipal water quality I bought a simple carbon water filter. I noticed an immediate improvement in my beer, definitely won’t brew without it again.
Favourite style of beer to brew? Anything Belgian!
Best beer you’ve ever tasted – besides your own! I am fortunate enough to have family in Belgium and have tasted many great beers but the most interesting and potentially the best beer I have tasted is Westvleteren XII. It’s a complex brown spicy beer that packs a punch at 12%.
Favourite hop? Magnum for bittering, Mosaic/Citra for Flavour/Aroma
Best beer you’ve ever brewed? That would have to be my first ever all grain brew. It was an IPA around 6.5% and turned out amazing! We had no idea what we were doing but it was the most fun.
Worst beer you’ve ever brewed? Why did it end so badly? The dreaded sock beer… My first ever attempt at dry-hopping a beer I had read that you could contain the hops in a sock or stocking. I grabbed my freshest smelling sock, threw some hops in it and popped it into my fermenter… Needless to say my beer was infected.
Biggest disaster you’ve had on a brew day? My biggest brew daysaster would be a stuck sparge. If you have ever had the misfortune of having a stuck sparge on your brew day I’m sure you can sympathize. Frustrated, tired and burnt are some words that come to mind.
Best South African beer at the moment? I have really been enjoying the small batch and colab beers breweries like Devils Peak and Riot Beer have been producing. Riot Beers – Vintage 002 Imperial Stout is one of my favourite at the moment.
Do you have any brewing tips to share, that you wished you had known about sooner? You can never be too prepared on brew day. Take care when cleaning and sanitizing. Simplify your recipe and don’t stress about exact numbers and quantities. A gadget or two can make your brew day go a lot smoother. A beer or two can make the experience more enjoyable but four or five may lead to mistakes.

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