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Judging at the 2018 NERHBC

by Rob Friesel

Yesterday, I judged at the New England Regional Homebrew Competition — earning my 5th judging point, which should put me into the Certified rank. It was a great experience, and I wanted to jot down a few notes while they were still fresh in my memory.


Photo blatantly swiped from Facebook, but 100% credited to Paul Hayslett, who published it publicly for all to see.

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Homebrew #72: Hoarder Intervention #2

by Rob Friesel

The second1 in this “junk drawer” series of “leftover ingredient” beers. After the (relative) success of #1, I looked in on what odds-and-ends were kicking around and applied my imagination toward Hoarder Intervention #2.

Hoarder Intervention #2 Continue reading →

  1. Arguably third, if you count Younger Sister. []

Homebrew #68: Tilde Festbier

by Rob Friesel

A style that wasn’t really on my radar until I started studying for the BJCP exam was the (4B) Festbier. I cannot imagine that I’d never had one before, but I also must believe that I’d always either conflated it somehow with either a Märzen or a Helles (Bock?)1 when trying to place it on the spectrum. Once I’d made a concerted effort to study the styles though, you might say that I fell in love with it. I had to brew one.

So when word came along that the Green Mountain Mashers were going to hold a little OktoBEERfest as a dedication party/ceremony for the Greg Noonan Memorial Library, I knew that I needed to bring a Festbier to share. And so I put together a little formulation for what would become Tilde Festbier:

Tilde Festbier Continue reading →

  1. Not coincidentally, its stylistic neighbors. []

Homebrew #69: A Mead Has No Name (2018 Mead Day Mead)

by Rob Friesel

Like I said last year: “How do I get myself into these things?” Except… now I know how I get myself into these. As a back-to-back Vermont Mead Maker of the Year, I feel like it’s my responsibility to get out there and demo the art for people.

In the year 2018, the Mead Day demo mead becomes A Mead Has No Name:

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Homebrew #67: Sunny Night Mead

by Rob Friesel

Not really sure what to say about this one. I did a completely unrelated gear experiment1 earlier in the day, and rather than waste the 5 gallons of 100+°F water… well, I could whip up some kind of mead in a half hour or so. And it felt like it was getting late but the sun stays up so long here in the summer so… Sunny Night, a black currant mead:

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  1. Short version of a long story: some of us use Reflectix insulation for our kettles during the mash when we’re BIAB brewing. I wanted to know two things: (1) does it really help hold the mash temperature? and (2) is two layers better than one? This experiment is probably worth a blog post of its own but in the meantime: the insulation helps, but not as much as we thought, and two layers doesn’t seem to do any good. []

Homebrew #65: Green Mountain Grisette (Mk. II)

by Rob Friesel

Given the success of the first batch (second place Saison in the 2018 Greg Noonan Competition), I was determined to dial in my grisette recipe. Taking the feedback from the judges, and a little more speculative process tweaks from Markowski’s book, I applied those here to make Green Mountain Grisette (Mk. II):

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