Customer of the Month – John Burgess

John Burgess


How long have you been home brewing?

Since 1988.

What is you favorite beer style to make?

No particular style. I almost always have some kind of pale ale — English pale, or English or Belgian or American IPA — on tap, as well as something else Belgian and, for the past 3 or 4 years, some kind of Saison. I make a really good brown ale for the colder months every year, and for our St. Patty’s Day party every March, I brew an oatmeal stout. But lately, I’ve been having fun focusing on different types of Saison.

Are you a member of any brew clubs or organizations?

Way back when, I was a founding member of the Unfermentables, who met once a month in the basement of Wynkoop Brewing Co. before the Comedy Club was built. Old timers will remember the late Russell Schehrer, a founding member and original head brewer at Wynkoop. Russ always showed up and said a few syllables to us, as well as bring in some of his homebrew and mead. But these days, no. I do have a buddy and coworker though, who is part of Foam on the Range and is always acquiring 55 gal oak barrels, and I hop in on their projects. In fact, as I write this on Sun, 5/19, the pictures provided are of me brewing 5 gal of Wee Heavy for a new barrel.

Have you won any medals or awards?

For whatever reason, I’ve never bothered to enter any competitions. I just enjoy brewing for myself and sharing with friends!

Describe your brewing system or equipment.

 I’ve got a 10-gal all-grain system, and it’s old-school. It’s the way I learned way back in ’88 and I haven’t changed much since then, other than mash schedules (as the malting process has been modified over time) and doing yeast starters, as well as oxygenating. I’ve got a 10-gal kettle in which I step-mash and boil, and a 10-gal converted water cooler for my lauter tun. No electronics or even pumps. I have the one pain-in-the-butt pour from mash kettle to lauter tun, and the entire process is a little more time-consuming than most other homebrewers, but it’s kinda like Bill Eye and his labor-intensive process 

What piece of equipment or brewing process has made the most difference in your beer?

Bigger yeast starters and the oxygenator. I really like the stainless steel wand you guys now sell.

What other fermented beverages have you made?

None for me, but my wife Lynn, who doesn’t drink any more, back when she did, she made really good mead. And I collaborated on several of those. In fact, I still have a handful of bottles of 5, 6, 8 year old meads.

List of any other hobbies or interests.

My wife and I are born and raised in St. Louis, a great brewing town! My dad spent his whole career as an electrical engineer in the corporate engineering dept of Anheuser Busch, designing canning and bottling lines. So pretty much anything beer, I’m into. I love reading about brewing history and have an old beer can collection. Pictured are some of my old steel cans that I have displayed in my basement. And Lynn and I have been customers of Brew Hut since Scott first opened the store, way back in ??? Let’s go Blues!!!