Name: Lee Immins, but I brew under the name Simian.
Why: I have a monkey tattoo from the Aztec calendar. A lot of my beers are named after monkeys, hence the Mandrill Mild.
How long have you been home brewing: about 10 years. I started with a tin of malt extract and a bucket in my kitchen. Now I start with the grain itself and can control everything. I brew in a shed in the garden.
What do you love about brewing: obviously I love beer, and making it yourself is fun and rewarding. But what’s surprised is me the people involved and how friendly they are.Everyone shares beers, recipes and ticks and trips. It’s a very generous community. And if you are really lucky you get an opportunity to collaborate with a professional brewer to make your beer, like with Jack at NFJ
Tell us about the beer: I make all sorts of beers but I am most known for my dark beers and their success in homebrew competitions. I confess I found mild a little boring after a mouthful or two and until last year I had never considered making one. Then a friend called Mark brought a dark mild to our homebrew club meeting and I was blown away by its complexity – lots of chocolate and coffee and roast flavours. So I asked for the recipe and then put my personal twist on it. I added some rye malt for a little spiciness, increased the body and used a technique to increase the malt flavours overall. It’s now one of my favourite brews - it’s low in alcohol but high in flavour so you can have a session on it. Last year it won a gold medal at The Welsh National Homebrew Competition.
How would you suggest people get into home brewing: theres loads of information on the internet and so much choice of kits and ingredients and equipment that it can be a bit daunting at first so I would head along to your local homebrew club, like the one at NFJs, and get talking to people.
Any last thoughts: I want to thank Jack at NFJ for giving m the opportunity to scale the recipe up to commercial size kit, and to make it available. All my beers are bottle so I cannot wait to try a cask version.