Know the Homebrewer: Andrew Cherry

Know the Homebrewer: Andrew Cherry

May 22, 2020

In the spotlight for this edition is Andrew Cherry! We are pleased to have him as a part of this blog series. In "Know the Homebrewer", we will interview one passionate homebrewer every week about their experiences with homebrewing, favourite beer styles and much more. Andrew talks about drinking while brewing with his brother, bulding the dream brewery, exBeeriments from Brulosophy and much more!

Andrew won a Plaato Keg Limited Black edition by entering a picture of his brilliant home bar to a competition we had on Instagram. He and his brother run the instagram account @cherrybrosbrewing, so we recommend checking them out to follow their brewing journey.


What is your day job?

My day job is managing a trading desk for a bank in Toronto. One thing that I love about homebrewing is that it gives me a chance to work with my hands and create something tangible.. and hopefully delicious! Not something I get to do during my typical day.

What or who got you into homebrewing? When was it?
I started homebrewing just over 5 years ago. None of my friends or family were brewing at that time but I was a big beer fan and wondered if it was possible to make decent beer at home? I had tried making wine a long time ago and it was a disaster so I wasn't sure. My first two attempts were just OK but on my third attempt I brewed a vanilla porter which turned out really good - after that I was hooked.
 
Can you tell us an interesting story about homebrewing?
After I had been brewing a while, my brother started up the hobby and got into it just as much as I did. He was transitioning between careers when that got sidetracked by a great opportunity to join a new brewery in Toronto (Stonehooker). Within the next year he had become the Head Brewer and took a lot of his homebrew recipes and scaled them up for production on the big system. You just never know where life will take you sometimes.

The Cherry bros at Stonehooker brewery

How is brewing a social thing for you? Do you like brewing with others?
I really enjoy brewing with my brother - he's experienced, it's an extra set of hands and eyes and it is always an awesome time. Having some friends over to brew is a blast - inevitably the homebrew starts flowing and it turns into a bit of a party. If I'm going to miss an ingredient or taking a measurement, it's usually these brews but it's totally worth it!

The cherry bros at a brew day. Probably slightly drunk

What advice would you like to give to other homebrewers?
Advice? Like make sure you shut the valve on your kettle before you fly sparge into it and walk away for 10 minutes? Yea that was a mess. Always have some spare DME on hand - you're going to miss your gravity readings from time to time. Get a spare hydrometer - at some point your going to drop it just before you're about to take a reading? We all make mistakes - learn from them and relax. It happens.
 
What is the best beer you ever made? And the worst?
Let's start with the worst. I occasionally like to use fruit in my recipes (home made puree) and initially the fruit will sink to the bottom of the fermenter before eventually rising to the top. I remember checking on my Brew Bucket during fermentation and I mistakenly let some oxygen in. Since the top of the fruit was above the beer and was exposed to oxygen, it got infected and ruined the entire batch - it was a dump.

I've enjoyed a lot of beers but one I liked making and consuming the most might be my Oud Bruin that I had sit in a small rye barrel for 6 months. That was delicious.
 
Tell us about your favourite styles to brew?
I love making sours - whether it's quick kettle sours or longer term mixed fermentation beers. I love making them all. NEIPA is my nemesis - I've been searching and tweaking my recipe for years looking for the right combination of everything.
 
Tell us about your brewing plans for the future?
With the COVID-19 lockdowns the last couple of months, I've been trying to brew as much as possible. Not that we need an excuse but there's not much else to do anyway. I've been filling all my kegs and brewing as many longer term sours as possible to put them away for souring. Now that that's all done, I need to start planning out my summer brews. Hoppy beers, sours and fruit beers are all beers I need to start planning for.
 
What is your experience with Kveik?
Absolutely zero. I've read a lot about the style and I find the history fascinating but I have yet to brew with Kveik yeasts.
 
What equipment do you use and why?
I started out like most people with some kits, extract and partial mash then within a few months I moved to all grain in a cooler mash tun. This winter I've had the good fortune of being able to build my dream brewery in my basement. I bought a 15 gallon Spike Brewing system and have about 10 brews under my belt on it. Took a bit of time to get the hang of using the equipment but I love it - and it looks great. I have a couple of SS Brewtech Brew Buckets and a new glycol chiller.
 
Are you satisfied with that or are you thinking about upgrading?
I've always brewed 5 gallon batches but the system that I have now allows me to brew 10 gallon batches. My next purchase is likely to be a 14 gallon conical fermenter that I can step up to 10 gallon batches with.
 
How are your experiences with PLAATO Airlock and PLAATO Keg? What do you think of being able to share the hobby with wifi connected devices?
I am very much looking forward to trying out my PLAATO Keg device - should be arriving soon. I love the technology and am looking forward to linking using it with the native software as well as the Brewfather app. No more lifting kegs up in the keezer and guessing how much is left. This should also help me better plan my brewing schedule since I'll be able to time my brewing around kegs as they become available.
 
Do you have an unpopular opinion about homebrewing?
I find that sometimes people try to over complicate the process or speak of things that they read on the internet like its gospel. The thing that made me question everything was the exBeeriments from Brulosophy - check it out if you haven't already. You'll see that there are so many things that we as brewers do because we've read somewhere that it's a critical part of the brewing process, when in fact, it may not make any noticeable difference at all (wort aeration, mash pH, lager mash temps, etc are some experiments Brulosophy runs). I'm not suggesting we stop doing some of these things that work for us, but if you don't, it's may not actually make a noticeable difference in your beer.
 
Any closing thoughts?
What a great hobby we're engaged in. Its fun to make, share and consume. Thanks very much for the opportunity to be featured in this series.


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