Introducing our new Homebrew Series where we document and feature local homebrewers using our BackRoads hops and learn about the process, equipment, supplies and most importantly, the beer they brew! Home brewing is becoming a popular hobby for beer enthusiasts and we want to help showcase these men and women who are experimenting and creating their own beer.
Our first homebrew profile features Scott Breivik from London Ontario!
Scott, can you tell us about yourself?
Well my names Scott Breivik, I'm 30 years old, and I currently live in Sarnia, Ontario. I work as an environmental lab specialist at the Imperial Oil refinery where I spend my days working in a lab to help ensure the refinery is fully compliant with MISA (Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement) regulations. I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm just outside of the Byron neighbourhood of London Ontario, where I spent my childhood roaming the nearby woods & creeks. My interests have come and go over the years ranging from hockey to snowboarding & skateboarding, but these days I prefer running, camping, biking and archery. During my twenties I really found a passion for the whole culinary world whether it be cooking, baking (sourdough bandwagon!) and of course brewing beer!
What are you brewing today?
I decided to take a shot at my own recipe for a simple american pale ale I based off a few previous brews I had done. I had a bunch of triple pearl hops I received from backroads on my birthday, so I decided to use them for the entire hop schedule to start getting a good working knowledge of individual hop strains. The brew day went well and I hit all my targets for gravity, mash pH, etc. Should be ready to drink for August!
Favourite Ontario Craft Brewery?
My favourite Ontario Craft Brewery’s are always going to be the local guys & girls who have their breweries in and around London where I grew up. Storm Stayed would be my favourite choice in London, however I spend a lot of time with my 32 oz mug at Refined Fool in Sarnia where I currently live.
Favourite style of beer at the moment?
I like to drink different beers as the seasons change, so in the summer I have a couple favourites. I love a citrusy IPA or a crisp and bright flavoured pilsner.
Have your beer tastes evolved and changed over time?
Oh yeah, big time. Like most people I started drinking the common domestic lagers like Molson Canadian, Moosehead lager, and my personal high school favourite Pabst Blue Ribbon. I didn’t really dabble into craft beer until I started drinking more amber coloured beers like Sam Adams Boston lager & Creemore Springs lager. I slowly developed a taste for more malt forward beers, and even found that I started liking styles that showcased the complex flavours of hops. Over the years I’ve gone through many phases where I’ve really been into one style or another, but I do find I always come back to simple, traditional European styles or a solid APA. I love when breweries experiment with new flavours and different takes on a style of beer, but I really respect a traditional recipe done well.
What led you to get into home brewing?
Honestly, I remember seeing a tv show on Netflix called ‘Easy’, which had an episode with a pair of brothers that started brewing beer in their garage. It just looked so fascinating, and I was in a phase of my life where I was developing a passion for cooking and DIY culture. It was this incredibly innovative collaboration between humans and yeast which yielded this delicious golden liquid from just barley, hops and water. Something really appealed to me about this ancient practice our ancestors have been perfecting for hundreds of years. I knew I wanted to learn the secrets of beer brewing. I think that was the spark I needed to try it for myself and I’ve been teaching myself to brew through books & YouTube ever since.
Do you brew strictly from a recipe or do you get creative and try your own ideas?
For the most part I have always stuck to a recipe from the many home brewing books I have, but my most recent beer was the first time I developed my own recipe which was just a simple APA. I think it takes a lot of time to become comfortable with the process before you start understanding what it takes to build a recipe yourself.
What's your favourite style of beer to brew?
I actually don’t know yet. I haven’t taken a swing at much beyond APA’s and IPA’s so I’m still on that journey to find a favourite. I guess you could say my favourite style is one I’ve never brewed before.
What kind of home brew setup are you using and how much beer does it make?
I’ve been pretty lucky and have been able to put together a pretty decent 5-gallon set-up. I have dual 10-gallon mash tuns (for HLT and mashing), a 10-gallon BME kettle, and a 7-gallon conical with a temperature control system for fermenting, all from SS Brewtech. I vortlauf & fly sparge using chugger pumps, and I just recently invested in a Blichmann plate chiller and quick connect fittings for all my tubing. Considering I started using plastic buckets and a 5-gallon kettle in my mom’s kitchen, my set-up has become sophisticated over the years.
Favourite type of hop to work with?
I guess I’d have to say cascade as it’s a real easy hop to get your hands on and its very works great for flavoring & aroma. It’s incredible that I can now access local farmers like Aaron at backroads to get great local hops grown by people I know and trust. Thanks for the triple pearl I used in my last brew backroads hop farms!
Do you ever repeat brews or are you always trying new recipes?
I’ve never really repeated a recipe yet, as its too tempting to try something new and challenging. I’ve catalogued as much data as I can from all my previous brews, especially things like mash & wort pH, gravity measurements from the mash to the end of fermentation, water chemistry, & brewhouse efficiency. This way, I can always backtrack to re-create or perfect a recipe I really enjoyed from the past.
What's next for you and home brewing?
I just want to keep consistently brewing and improving my set-up to make it easier to create a great beer. Sometimes its hard to keep at it, especially when you try to balance the hobby with your everyday life. It’s a lot of work, sweat and sometimes tears (a batch or two were… undrinkable). I love to make beer, so I’m going to keep pushing myself to improve until I master it.
If you want to be featured in our Homebrew Series please send us a direct message on social media or email us! Everyone is welcome at any skill level. We are very excited to connect with more local homebrewers and showcase their beer. Cheers!