The fourth interview in the series is with Clint from NextGen Wealth. Take it away Clint…
Hello! My name is Clint Haynes and I’m a Certified Financial Planner® at NextGen Wealth. I’ve been blogging for about four years at my blog Achieving Financial Awesomeness. I blog about everything personal finance from what I’ve learned over the years as a financial planner. With my blog, I try to give a behind the scenes look so the personal finance “do it yourselfer” can learn all of the tips and tricks we us with our clients.
The Nitty Gritty Of Brewing
How long have you been brewing your own beer for? And, why did you start brewing your own beer?
I’ve been brewing for about 5 years. A homebrew/craft beer shop opened in my neighbourhood and I would swing by every once in a while to grab a beer. From going there, I met enough people who brewed themselves and thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve been brewing ever since.
How do you brew?
I started out with extract kits to see if it was something I was going to stick with. After about five brewing sessions, I moved to all-grain and have been brewing all-grain ever since. I always recommend starting out with extract to see if you like it before shelling out the extra money to go all-grain.
Finishing And Packaging
Do you bottle or keg your beer, and why?
I started out bottling but now I keg everything (however, I will bottle high ABV beers but I don’t make those often). I recommend starting out bottling because of the extra costs involved with kegging. Bottling is definitely a much more time intensive process and it typically takes about two weeks before the beer is ready.
With kegging, I can have a beer carbonated in about three days. However, kegging definitely requires more capital so make sure brewing is going to be something you’re going to continue to do on a regular basis.
Do you dry or wet hop your brews? What is your reasoning for or against additional hopping?
I always dry hop all pale ales and IPA’s. I’m a complete hop-head and dry hops add such intense hop aromas and flavors than simply adding hops during the boil. If you’re going to be brewing hop forward beers, then I believe dry hopping is a must. It will add to the cost of the brew, but I always recommend buying hops in bulk since it will lower the cost per ounce.
Learnings Of A Brewer
What are your favourite brews to make and why?
As mentioned, I’m a complete hop head so I absolutely love brewing IPA’s and Pale Ales. I love the different flavor profiles that various hops can add to a beer. I suggest making single hop beers when starting so you can really determine the hops you like the most and make note for future brews.
What have been your biggest failures with brewing?
I’ve brewed a couple “infected” beers over the years. It’s been quite a while, but it’s never fun to throw away five gallons of beer because of a sanitisation issue. Always remember you can never be too careful when it comes to keeping your equipment clean and sanitised. Sanitiser is a brewer’s best friend after the boil is complete.
Have you had any really stupid or laughable moments as a brewer?
The first beer I ever made, I didn’t sanitise a thing. I had a buddy come over after I was done and he was asking about sanitisation and I had no idea what he was talking about. I guess my brewing friends forgot to tell me about that. There is a lot to learn when it comes to brewing so you’ll continue to tweak how you brew overtime.
Do you brew by yourself, or do your family or friends help out with the process?
I brew by myself but I’m always happy to have friends over when I do. It’s just easier for me to do it myself but it’s always nice to have an extra hand when lifting the mash tun or brew kettle.
What do you love most about brewing?
The entire process. It’s just fun to brew a beer you created yourself. Eventually, you start to think “wow, I can brew some pretty good beer.”
Is there anything about brewing that drives you crazy?
I hate all the cleaning that you have to do throughout the brewing process. There’s not much you can do, but I’m pretty sure 50% of brewing is cleaning.
How much does an average brew cost you?
I would say most of my beers are in the $30-$50 USD range for five gallons of beer which typically equals about 48 twelve ounce cans (editor’s note: that’s 19 litres, or 57 330ml bottles). As far as how much I’m saving, it truly just depends on the style of beer. I can save quite a bit when it comes to pilsners, lagers, brown ales, and stouts. The margin is a little tighter when it comes to IPA’s (that’s why I always recommend buying hops in bulk.)
Do you have any efficiency or other money saving tips for fellow brewers?
Buy used equipment. There are always fellow brewers selling equipment at a discount. There are plenty of Facebook groups you can join with other brewers selling used equipment. I would also bet you could find homebrew group on Facebook that’s local to your city. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are where I’d recommend you buy most of your equipment. You’ll save a lot of money when buying used.
Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone thinking about getting into brewing?
Be patient. Start with extract to try and see if it’s something you enjoy.
Ask for help from other homebrewers. I’ve found homebrewers to be extremely generous with their time and always willing to help.
Shop for used equipment. People are always selling their stuff because they no longer brew. You can find great deals and save a lot of money.
Finally, sanitise, sanitise and sanitise. After the boil is over, sanitiser is your best friend!
A big thanks to Clint for sharing his insight and knowledge on brewing beer with us.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of the Beer O’Clock Brewing Sessions.