Michael “Misha” Suggs began brewing 11 years ago and learnt how to brew mainly through book-learning and trial and error. He is head brewer for the local chapter of their Brewer’s Guild and a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and brews whatever he fancies including “Brown Ale’s, Milds, ESB’s, Pale Ale’s, Blondes” and Porters to name a few and really enjoys the historical side of brewing.
Michael first got into home brewing when he “found Papazian’s book,
Michael learnt brewing through “book learning, and lots of trial and error. After my first batch, I did 3 batches that got dumped. 2 were infected, and one had a stuck ferment that at the time I didn’t know how to restart. I took a hiatus from beer for a couple of years and brewed lots of mead, then came back to beer in 1999 or so. When I started brewing beers again, there was a lot more material on the art readily available, and I was able to approach it with a bit more focus. As money has allowed, I’ve added and upgraded equipment, and the more I’ve brewed, the more I have learnt about it.”
Michael has also learnt “something from nearly every book I’ve picked up on brewing. Some of my particular favorites are Papazian’s books (full of ideas, if somewhat light on theory); Snyder’s The Brewmaster’s Bible; Daniels’ Designing Great Beers; Mosher’s Extreme Brewing; the entire Beer Style series; and Palmer’s How to Brew.
In conclusion Michael offers this advice to those interested in home brewing, “First and foremost, find your local homebrew club, get with an experienced brewer there, and ask to brew a few ‘sidesaddle’ with them. No matter how much you read, getting hands-on experience is really the best way to get a feel for what you’re doing, and having the ‘seasoned hands’ there to guide you will keep things going smoothly. Secondly, brew often. Again, this will give you more experience. Also, take tastes of everything along the way – munch on some grain, savor a drop of extract, smell the hops, sample the finished wort, the fermenting wort, and the finished beer. Note the different flavors, how they meld and change during the brewing process, and where they end up. Finally, as soon as your budget will allow, go all-grain. Remember, you can do an extract brew on an all-grain rig, but doing an all-grain brew with extract equipment is more difficult”.
For more about the beer brewing of Michael Suggs check out his “Misha’s Brewing” website at http://www.geocities.com/weyland.geo/Beerpage.html