Customer of the Month – Shawn Donahue

Shawn Donahue

  • Brewer’s Names – Shawn Donahue

  • How long have you been homebrewing/winemaking? –I’ve been homebrewing for about 11 years.

  • What are your favorite styles to make? IPAs, but I purposefully keep a rotation of malt-forward and yeast-driven beers around as well so I don’t get burned out on bitterness.

  • Are you a member of any brew clubs or organizations? – I’m in the American Homebrewer’s Association. I’ve been in clubs in the past, but kinda fall in and out, especially between COVID and other obligations. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back into it soon.

  • Have you won any medals or awards?No, but I recently entered my first competition, got some good feedback, and look forward to competing in more in the future.

  • Describe your brewing system or equipment (Provide a picture if possible) Currently, it’s an electric HERMS setup. I use an induction burner as my heat source on a 120V circuit – don’t let them tell you that you can’t do it, you just need some reflectix to get a decent boil going! But it’s a regular old three-vessel system with a cooler for a mash tun. I’ve been an apartment brewer for much of my career so everything can easily break down to fit in a small space when I’m not using it.

  • What piece of equipment or brewing process has made the most difference in your beer and/or wine? The honest, not sexy, biggest thing by far is cleaning equipment after every use and sanitization! But for “sexy” processes, in order, moving to all-grain brewing, pressurized fermentation for oxygen-free transfers into kegs, and using a properly sized yeast pitch.

  • What other fermented beverages have you made? I’ve made wine before. I’ve also gotten into making kimchi and hot sauce somewhat recently. One thing I’ve done that I think other people should try out is fermenting garlic in miso paste. You end up with a-m-a-zing miso soup and all you have to do is pop some garlic cloves in miso, cover it with the miso paste, and let it sit for a couple of months.

  • List of any other hobbies or interests. I love skiing and hiking up in the mountains, playing video games, lifting weights/exercising, listening to audiobooks, and trying out new breweries and restaurants.

  • Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself?I have a wealth of tips for homebrewing like “Clean as you go!”, “If you use propane, always keep a spare tank when you start brewing!”, and “Don’t start drinking until you start your boil!” Also, the Brew Hut rules and we’re all lucky to be customers there. I’ve gone to some half-rate homebrew shops in my day between poor selection or poor customer service. I’m happy to call the Brew Hut my home shop!