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Brew & A: Pat "azscoob" Barch

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There's a lot to say about a man in a kilt. When you walk into the LHBS and start looking around and find a man with a kilt in the corner isn't the first thing that comes to your mind "That guy knows how to brew."?
You would be right. Very right.
Pat "azscoob" Barch is that man in a kilt, and if you listen closely he has quite a bit of brewing knowledge to teach you. An award winning brewer talking home first in 2011 HomeBrewTalk competition with his Reaper's Mild, and a foodie with one of the best recipes for scotch eggs I've ever seen (meat, egg, awesome) I sat down with Pat for this week's Brew & A to learn all about his brewing, and why every male brewer should wear a kilt.

Austin: How did you start brewing?
Pat: I started brewing in 2009, I had a friend who got a homebrew kit from the LHBS and he shared some of his "first born IPA" bottles with me, that was when the light popped on in my head, I was thinking if this guy can do it, why the heck can't I?
Austin: What's your favorite beer?
Pat: This is tough, I have a soft spot in my heart for English pale ales, but to narrow it beyond that would require extensive tasting.
Austin: Well, that's a problem as I'm a few states over. How about this, close your eyes, clear your mind, breath deep, what's in your hand? Beer wise..
Pat: I tend to brew to the weather, when it's winter and the days are short I tend towards dark beers, right now I would love another chipotle spiced pumpkin ale! When I dial that recipe in I will be unleashing it upon the unsuspecting forums.
Austin: What's one piece if your brew setup you can't live without?

Pat: I really love my calibrated digital thermometer, without accurate temps, you can throw the rest of your process in the trash.
Austin: Do you have a thermometer you prefer over others?
Pat: Thermopen is my current thermometer of choice, but they are spendy... For years I used a Taylor 9842 thermometer from Amazon, it worked great and was around 10 dollars. If you are in need of a good serviceable thermometer look into one of them, it was my gateway thermometer
Austin: What's the worst product you've ever used?
Pat: I bought the spendy counter pressure bottle filler to fill bottles for competitions and to give to friends, it was too involved to use, so I made one from a bottling wand and a drilled stopper using instructions I got here on HBT, cheap, easy to use, and easy to clean.
Austin: Why do you homebrew?
Pat: I homebrew because I'm a tinkerer at heart, I love creating something myself, be it beer, mead, cider, beeswax furniture polish, Shillelaghs, soap, I want to try my hand at it!
Austin: What other hobbies does that need to tinker express itself in?
Pat: I build race engines for Subarus and Mitsubishis in my spare time, nothing says fun like an all wheel drive car with 500 horsepower at your foot!
I have also gotten into making my own knives, mostly because I wanted to build a forge out of a brake drum and a hairdryer.
Austin:What's your homebrewing style - extract, partial mash, all-grain, biab, or ?
Pat: I am an all-grain brewer, in fact I started out as one, I was going to get an extract kit, I started reading here about the benefits of doing a full boil, I had a turkey fryer so I figured I was good to go, I then read that I would need a chiller to cool it down, so I built an immersion chiller, at that point I realized I'm a mash tun away from all-grain so a trip to the store got me all I needed to make my mash tun. My first batch ever was an all-grain batch of EdWorts haus pale ale.

Austin: So you started AG? Do you have any thoughts on extract brewing? Have you ever brewed an extract or PG?
Pat: I have had many good extract beers over the years but honestly I wouldn't know where to start with an extract brew day, maybe some day I will try it. Think I could find some pointers on the site? LOL
Austin: Tell us about one of your most memorable homebrewing experiences.
Pat: I was living in Phoenix and was looking to brew a suitable hot weather beer, and settled on saison, I got busy on a recipe that I thought would emulate what a farmer in Belgium might brew using what he had on hand, I scrounged through my bins of grains and worked a recipe I thought would be good. After brewing and filling a few growlers I headed to the homebrew club meeting hoping to get some feedback on my experiment.
There was to be a guest speaker at the meeting and unbeknownst to me it was none other than Jef Versele 7th generation brewer at Brouwerij Van Steenberge in Ertvelde, Belgium. He loved my Saison and repeatedly filled his tasting cup, prior to leaving he stated that I had brewed a saison as a saison should be brewed, simply and with the spirit of the style.
Austin: That's huge! Do you keep a saison brewing, or did you just quit after hitting a home run at your first at bat?
Pat: I love saisons, I brew that one quite often, sometimes it's to my original recipe, other times I'm using what ingredients I have on hand and that to me is keeping with the spirit of a farmhouse ale.
Austin: Describe the perfect beer - style, aroma, flavor, etc.
Pat: There is no perfect beer to me, it could be a light cream ale while mowing the lawn, a smoked Rye pale ale on a fall evening, it really depends on the meal, the company, and the days events..... That's what I love about beer, the choices are almost limitless.
Austin:What's your dream brew rig, and how would you assemble it?
Pat: I'm working on switching to natural gas in a properly ventilated basement room, I've got enough vent hood airflow to meet restaurant specs for a commercial kitchen, then I need to fab the frame and hard pipe it to the pump instead of haphazard silicone hose and misc valves.
Austin: What is the one piece of advice you wish someone would've giving you when you first started?
Pat: All grain isn't hard, if you can make oatmeal in the morning and work a valve you are most of the way there, and hey, it's just beer, let it do it's thing and don't fret over the small stuff, it will be fine... And hey you made it yourself!
Austin: What made you decide to wear kilts? I'm of similar heritage but I don't have the knees for it it seems.

Pat: I have always been into my heritage, but more importantly I'm into comfort. 20-some years ago I was in a wedding and had to wear a kilt.... I realized it's the most comfortable thing ever! It's like wearing a bath towel all day, and the ladies love a man in a kilt!
And I think your knees are dead sexy, show them off! Honestly, look at my chicken sticks, I compete in the knobbly knees contests at the Highland games!
***
Truly a brewer worth emulating, I had a great time getting to know Pat "azscoob" Barch. Calling HomeBrewTalk home for five years now, and one of the brewers in the community making us all better brewers, please join me in raising a glass to this weeks Brew & A. Be sure to keep an eye on Pat. He's got a pub in the works and I know he's going to want us all to come check it out!
Salud!

 
Great article Scoob. But, I'm not wearing a kilt. Now then, don't you have Christmas Lights to hang for the boy? ;-) Hope all's well.
 
I too was surprised by the saison I brewed last summer. They actually age pretty well over 4 or 5 months. I don't think I'd look good in a kilt at this point in life though...
 
@Speedwell you think of cartoon nuts? How odd!
I tried the utilikilt a few times because it has pockets for brew gear, but really I'm not a fan of the fit and haven't worn it in a while
 
Anyone know of advantages for the style of wort chiller he is using? I am planning on making a new chiller this year.
 
@msa8967
I used the rib cage design because I felt it gave me a better chilling area with the coils interwoven throughout the wort as opposed to just around the edge of the kettle.
I have however repurposed it into a counterflow wort chiller using the setup Tiber_Brew designed.
 
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