Guest Post: Homebrew Personalities

Today’s post is a guest post coming from one of my favorite home brew bloggers, Billy Broas.  You may recognize Billy as the man behind and  He was also a featured brewer in the Iron Brewer competition. 

Born a Yankee (New Jersey), Billy was raised in Virginia, and now lives in Denver, CO.  So, despite not having any close ties to NC, Billy was still willing to share some of his insight into the world of home brewing with us.

We may all make our own beer, but we definitely don’t go about it in the same way.

There are a handful of dominant personalities in home brewing. Obviously no one person is just one of these personalities, but there’s probably one that you fit into more than the others.

See which one of these best describes you:

Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor

This is the DIY homebrewer. They have as much fun building things to help them homebrew as they do actually home brewing. In their garage you’ll find welding torches, boxes of stainless steel fittings, and tools that would make the guys at Orange County Choppers jealous.

They usually have a background in trades like welding or woodworking. These are the guys that build RIMS systems and fully automate their breweries.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

These are the brewers that are fascinated by the science of brewing. Topics that really get them going are fermentation, water chemistry, and yeast metabolism.

They usually have a B.S. in a technical field and may even have an advanced degree. Yeast slants and Bunsen burners can be found in their basements.

They follow the scientific method in almost everything they do. One variable is adjusted at a time, data is collected, and conclusions are made. Their eyes light up when geeking out on “chart porn.”

Mario Batali

The chef brewers. To these people, beer is food, and every decision made in the brewery should seek to increase pleasure to the palate.

Their focus and forte’ is on combining flavors. Every ingredient should bring something to the table and work well with the other ingredients.

Chef brewers know ingredients inside and out, and because beer is food to them, they are always thinking about what food would pair well with their homebrew. When they think of brewing they think of words like “Bready, caramel, and citrus”, not “Plate chiller, sparge, and acetaldehyde”.


These are the brew bums. They keep it laid back and don’t worry about things like decoctions, yeast starters, and RIMS.

Improving their brewing knowledge is of no concern to them because they’re always happy with how their beer turns out. The have questionable sanitation practices and if they do brew all-grain, it’s using one of Charlie P’s bucket-in-bucket mash tuns.

Spicoli brewers are 100% content with their brewing habits and have no desire to add the “stresses” that other brewers create for themselves.

Which one are you?

I have a little bit of all of these personalities (I’m sure everyone is), but if I had to pick one it would be Bill Nye. What can I say, I’ve always been a bit of a science nerd.

I think it’s important that every homebrewer keeps some Spicoli in him for those times you need to “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew”.

So which one best describes you?



Great post. I think I am the “Tool Man” for sure. He is dead on, I am a VW technician. Part of why I like a lot of the DYI type things are,

1) I am cheap

2) I usually have the tools to make stuff.

If I do not have the tools I need, its a great excuse to by some new tools 🙂


Charles – I hear ya. I find myself straddling the line of all of these from time to time, but I’m probably a Tool Man as well. I have always liked to build things, and brewing beer gave me an excuse to build some more things for sure.

I have built a work bench that doubles as a 3-tier brew stand, an immersion and counter-flow chillers, converted kegs for my hot liquor tun and boil kettle, converted a cooler into a mash tun, turned a mini fridge into a kegorator and wired in a temperature control unit to a chest freezer for a new/bigger kegorator and a fermentation chamber…yeah…I guess I’ve done a lot of DIY.

And your reason #1 was my main motivation for doing most of this stuff myself. I can have nice equipment for less money and I enjoy building it.


No better way to sum it up than that! I see a cooler build in my near future. Keep the great post coming!


For sure. I keep having to back up and tell myself to focus on making good beer first, then worry about the equipment. Good beer can be made on any equipment. But it is so much fun to make cool stuff.

All of the money I save by brewing my own beer (I’m down to about $15 for a 5 gallon batch), I end up re-investing in my equipment!


I’m a combination of the chef and scientist (with a little tool man thrown in), or as I like to call it, The Mad Scientist: Making weird experimental beers that many people might not even consider to be beer, playing with various yeast and bacteria (especially wild ones), figuring out what random plants in their yard they could substitute for hops, following ancient recipes of dubious quality with calls for things like Barm or containing a measurement of volume in ‘buckets’.


Matt – sounds like a great way to go! I have a friend who is the same way so we make a great duo. I work a lot on the equipment and how to build things to make brewing easier, and he works on coming up with crazy recipes.

So have you made many sour beers?


I’ve made one sour beer, actually it was unintentional but it turned out fairly decent. I made a gruit from some unconventional herb plants in my yard (sweet cicely, bee balm/monarda, and raspberry leaves) Fermented it with a wild yeast I harvested from wine grapes I grow, but fermented pretty hot (80F+) and some lacto bacteria took root.

I’d like to make a lambic one of these days.


that sounds like cool stuff. I’m hoping to post some more info on sour beers soon. So how did that concoction turn out? Any good?


it is good. It’s sour and totally weird. tastes unlike anything I’ve ever drank before.

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