Meet the Homebruer: Chris Deckner
Our staff certainly stays busy on and off the clock. One of our packaging team members just doesn’t seem to know how to shut off his desire to DIY. Chris Deckner works on his homebrewing, or building barrel crafts, or tending to his chickens, or growing his garden, or any given do-it-yourself project when he’s not helping us package incredible beer for our incredible customers.
When did you start homebrewing?
I started homebrewing two years ago, before working at The Bruery, after a good friend of mine (and now fellow Bruer) reintroduced me to to how great beer is. For a while, I had taken a hiatus into blue ribbons and the champagnes of beers. Like many homebrewers, I started with extract kits on my kitchen stove and once I was bitten by the bug I quickly moved into all-grain homebrewing. I think it was only six months after I started I was experimenting with grain. I haven’t looked back since.
How did you initially become interested in the hobby?
I can’t remember the exact moment I became interested in homebrewing but I’m sure it had something to do with my love of DIY and a few cold beers. Why buy something when you can make it yourself? I was also trying to find a fun hobby that I could share with my dad. I asked a few colleagues that homebrewed for some advice on a starter kit. A couple weeks later I ordered equipment and an ingredient kit from an internet homebrew shop and we started brewing.
I think it was the smell of the steeping grains and hops that really made me fall in love. I spent as much time reading books and forum posts as I could. There is a plethora of information in books and on the internet about each process step and how to make better, and more consistent, beer.
After about a year I decided that I wanted to build a dedicated brewery to control my process better. Frankly, I was tired of lifting five gallons of beer onto a table to gravity feed into my fermentors. I’d much rather have pumps do all my heavy lifting.
What kind of projects are you working on right now?
At the moment I don’t have anything fermenting but I have several beers scheduled to be made in the next two months. I’m brewing 6 different beers for my wedding. I’ll be brewing an Imperial Milk Stout, IPA, Kentucky Common, Mole Stout, Belgian Strong Dark, and a beer that tastes like the center of the galaxy with rum and raspberries.
Have you run into any major disasters while learning to homebrew?
My biggest disaster was when I used a copper immersion chiller for the first time. I cleaned it well with PBW but didn’t know that it’s best to soak it in Star San to remove any tarnish before putting it in boiling wort. Lets just say that it came out shinier than it was when it went into the wort. I was brewing a Kölsch for the first time and I had to dump the whole batch because it tasted like pennies.
Do you have a brag-worthy homebrew moment to share?
Not too long ago one of our brewers and I made a hoppy wheat ale with some Willamette hops that I’ve been growing in my garden. It was great harvesting the hops right off the vines and adding them straight to the boil kettle. It turned out very tasty and was just the thing for a hot October day.
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting to homebrew?
There are so many great resources in books and on the internet for learning how to homebrew. The forums are great places to ask questions. The single best piece advice though, I think, is to always pay close attention to cleanliness and sanitation. Even the best recipe can fail due to poor sanitation techniques.
|Post written by Chris Deckner: packaging team member, Orange County native, home-brewing machine that can usually be spotted as the most dapper in a crowd. When not brewing and drinking delicious beer he takes care of a small menagerie of chickens, dogs, and cat on what he believes to be a small farm in the heart of Anaheim.|
Read about the rest of our homebrewers on The Bruery staff in our Meet the Homebruer series:
- • Meet the Homebruer: Cesar Alfaro
- • Meet the Homebruer: Matt Olesh
- • Meet the Homebruer: Benjamin Weiss
- • Meet the Homebruer: Andrew Bell
- • Meet the Homebruer: Jamie Burns
- • Meet the Homebruer: Sean Flannery
- • Meet the Homebruer: Brian Cockle
- • Meet the Homebruer: Josh Reyes
- • Meet the Homebruer: Keith Pumilia
- • Enter our Batch Homebrew Competition!