Each month we feature one of our brewers. This month, our featured brewer is Tim Bickel. Tim has won numerous awards for his beer, and most recently won a Stein at Bluebonnet Brew off. Tim also serves as an officer on the Red Earth Brewer’s board as club Treasurer. Here is a little more about Tim and his craft beverage journey.
Occupation: Finance Manager
Years Brewing: 3 years total; 2 years all-grain
What is the name of your home brewery? Sleeping Dogs Brewery
What are your favorite styles to brew? Right now, I’m really enjoying kettle sours; they are very technical, and process driven. However, brewing has taught me to appreciate different styles, so it’s fun to explore different recipes.
What got you into brewing? I had a friend sell me some equipment and extract kit several years ago. After putting it off for a few years, I figured that I should either start brewing or sell it. After that I was hooked.
Current Brewing Rig: I started brewing with extract kits, then moved to BIAB (Brew In A Bag). Now, my current rig:
Hot Side: I primarily run a 2 vessel RIMS setup with 20gal Mash Tun and either 15gal or 30gal BK depending on recipe and quantity. I started with full volume mashes and just recently added an HLT to sparge to increase efficiency.
Cold Side: I made the switch to stainless steel this past summer with the addition of a DIY glycol chiller I built. I have a 14gal SS Brewtech Chronical, a 8gal Delta Brew Systems bucket and a 7gal SS Brewtech Brew bucket. I also just added a dedicated 14gal uni-vessel for my kettle sours.
What Brew Day Rules do you follow?
1. Don’t rush though the process
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
3. Only drink from sample glasses and only after the mash is stable
4. At the end of the day, whether you’ve had a good brew day or a frustrating one; whether you hit your numbers or not, you will still have beer!
Most influential brewing tip you learned: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make good beer. Most of my equipment is either DIY or secondhand.
Your tip for new brewers just getting started: Wow, there are so many, but I will say that no matter your skill level, or your set up there are 5 things you can do that cost little to no money.
1. Practice good cleaning and sanitization procedures. Nothing will ruin a beer faster.
2. Bad water = bad beer. Take care in your water supply
3. Limit oxygen on the cold side. Certain styles are very susceptible to oxidation
4. Fermentation Temperature Control. Yeast work their best at certain temps. This one does require some investment, but there are many ways to do this to limit cost.
5. And lastly…patience.
What’s on tap at your brew house right now: 1. My Brother Numsei - Belgian Golden Strong
2. Cool Runnings Tropical stout (collab w Hodgepodge)
3. Wall Wrecker - Kettle sour flavored w Kool-aid
4. Westend Pils - German Pils
5. Elevator Pass - Hazy Pale ale
6. Up Dog - Amber Ale