All institutions have their Pillars.. their Founding Fathers. This month, we have the privilege of getting to know one of them. Fred Dunayer has known HAMS since it was a barely of drinking age, and he shares with us some of his background.
What’s your day job?
While I’m mostly retired, I’m heavily involved as a volunteer with SCORE, a non-profit that helps small businesses get started and grow. Within the organization I’m in charge of IT and Administration, and also record, edit, and publish our podcast, “Been There, Done That!” which covers business topics and is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and google Play Music.
When did you start homebrewing?
I started homebrewing in the late 1980’s when typical homebrewers’ supplies came as syrup in cans. The choices were whether or not to get the syrup pre-hopped and whether to use the packet of generic yeast that came with it.
When did you join HAMS?
I joined HAMS in 2005. Our club was so small that Danny William and I also belonged to the Dunedin club and would travel up there once a month.
What got you into brewing?
I had a couple of friends that worked on equipment that inspected glass bottles for defects. They travelled to breweries to install and maintain this equipment and learned that homebrewing was something that individuals could do. I picked up a copy of the only book available at the time, “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” by Charlie Papazian and was enticed by his enthusiasm and by his laid-back, easy-going approach.
Where do you like to brew?
I brew out on the pool deck. Great in the winter; I put on a bathing suit and jump in the pool frequently while summer brewing.
Where do you ferment & what size batches do you brew?
I typically make 10 gallon batches and have two temperature controlled chest freezers that can hold 10 gallons each. That way I can have both a lager and an ale going at the same time (or two of each).
What kind of equipment do you use? Love it? Hate it?
I have a Morebeer B3-1550 circa 2005. I’ve made a few improvements over the years and have been very happy with it. I think I’ve bored everybody with my story of developing my own controller for it, so I’ll spare our members from hearing about it again!
Do you have a “pet name” for your setup?
I’ve been thinking about a name for about 12 years now. Still haven’t got it.
Favorite styles to brew? Why?
I’m a big fan of classic lager styles. Many years ago I decided that my goal would be to make a great Bohemian Pilsner, along the lines of how a Pilsner Urquell would taste if you got it at the brewery in the Czech Republic. However, over time I’ve been exposed to a lot of beer styles and have made quite a few of them.
Tell me about your best batch ever.
My best batch was a Bohemian Pilsner made in 2007. It won the gold medal for its style at Best Florida Beer Competition, which enabled me to enter it in the Masters Championship of American Brewing, where it also won the gold. The medal from that competition is my most prized brewing possession (other than whatever beer I’m holding at the moment)!
How about your worst?
I’ve had a few beers over the years that have come out too thin, too dry or too sweet. Fortunately, they weren’t infected, and I’ve been able to blend them or otherwise adjust them to make them drinkable.
Advise to other/new Homebrewers?
You can make pretty good beer just following instructions and keeping good sanitation. But everything you learn and every experience you have will improve your product. Don’t stop learning, sharing, talking and especially thinking. You have the opportunity to find creative solutions to every problem, and there is a huge community of people that would like nothing more than to help you brew great beer. It’s the best hobby in the world.