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Homebrew #97: Murphy the Lucky Dog

by Rob Friesel

Two motivations at work here. The first, and probably more predictable of them: St. Patrick’s Day was imminent, and I wanted an Irish Stout on draft for the occasion. And the second? I wanted to round out the BJCP’s Category 15 beers.1 Thus was Murphy the Lucky Dog2 devised:

Murphy the Lucky Dog, an (attempted) Irish Stout
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  1. Having previously done 15A and 15C… []
  2. The name here is a whole side story in and of itself. The “Murphy” part is clearly (clearly?) a reference to Murphy’s Irish Stout which was a favorite of ours back at St. Mary’s, Guinness being an acceptable substitute &c. But somewhere in the early 2000s, while out to lunch (dinner?) with my wife at a local diner, I noticed this paper placemat with an advertisement for the local animal shelter and some of the animals up for adoption. Anyway, there was a photo of this dog “Murphy” and I tore the photo off the placemat and stuck it in my pocket and then nicely cut him out and laminated him. And I carried him around in my wallet for years. I never met the real Murphy, but I imagine he found a good home. Godspeed, Muphy — you lucky dog. []

Homebrew #96: Honestatis (Mk. IX)

by Rob Friesel

It had been too long. Mk. VIII was… summer of 2018!? Did all of 2019 slip by without a single batch of Honestatis? I suppose it’s possible — we were busy last year. But as 2019 closed out and I looked ahead to 2020, I committed to two seemingly opposed brew goals. The first? Brew at least six new-to-me styles. And the second? Start the year off strong with the triumphant return of Honestatis, the beer I’ve brewed more than any other:

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Homebrew #90: Ned

by Rob Friesel

Long-time readers know that most of my meads are “beer-strength” and carbonated — craft meads, to borrow a phrase. Oh sure, there was that pyment, and that 2017 batch that got split up several ways but … craft meads tend to be my wheelhouse. But this honey was special, so Ned isn’t a craft meads but something more … traditional.1

Ned, a still standard-strength traditional mead
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  1. Glossing over the fact that “traditional” is a super loaded word, especially when it comes to mead. But let’s just move past that, OK? []

Homebrew #95: Hoarder Intervention #3

by Rob Friesel

Long time readers of this blog will know from the name what’s in store here. When I call a beer “Hoarder Intervention”, it’s because it’s a “junk drawer” beer — as in: me cleaning out whatever junk is leftover. “What the hell can I do with this?” But whereas #1 and #2 required some supplementation from the local HBS, Hoarder Intervention #3 was brewed simply with what I had on-hand.

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dream.20200117: horses, gaps

by Rob Friesel

We are driving to the grocery store. Dark (night?) and fog. Are the headlights on? No. She reaches to turn them on, twist the knob. And ahead maybe 50 yards are a bunch of horses. Hit the brakes, but they’re already started and galloping toward us. Most go around. One goes over, and we hear the hooves pound against the roof.


We’re in the parking lot for the grocery store and hustle toward the entrance. The entrance is locked. But people are coming in and out. How? A few feet away is a greeter waving at us from about fifteen feet up. There’s a small ramp leading toward the entrance, but then we need to climb the rest of the way. He is helping people in and out of the door. He explains that there is a very specific set of movements required in order to safely enter or exit. We help E. up first, but he insists on doing it his own way. I try to climb up after him. The whole situation is precarious.

N.b. Looks like this is the first one of these in about 3 years that I could remember long enough to get it written down and post it.

Continued Meditation on Brew House Efficiency

by Rob Friesel

After posting Puzzling Out Brew House Efficiency, I shared the link with the local homebrew club, just to see what others might have to say on the subject. (Always tap into the collective wisdom, right?) One member shared a link that helped me think about “where to from here” with this on-going experiment. This post is a think-out-in-the-open style follow up to my previous post, in light of reading this research series posted on

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Puzzling Out Brew House Efficiency

by Rob Friesel

Generally speaking, Brew House Efficiency (BHE) is number, expressed as a percentage, that calculates how efficient your wort production is — i.e., how much of the potential fermentables actually make it out of the grain and into your fermentor. The calculation is comprehensive, and accounts for (among other factors) how much of the grain’s starches were actually converted to sugars, and how much of the produced volume was lost to losses like absorption and transfer losses.1

When I was new to all-grain brewing, BHE was not a number that I kept track of. It wasn’t that I didn’t know about it — it was that with everything else to learn, I just wanted to see if I could pull it off at all and then maybe I could start to quantify and use those numbers for process improvement. That said, I probably started to care about BHE numbers after about a year of partial mash brewing2 and then another year (coincidentally, when I moved from partial mash to all-grain BIAB) before I started tracking it consistently.3

And that being said, it took me another two years to finally get around to actually looking at all the compiled BHE data. (Guess I just needed enough of it?) The main question I found myself asking: Why is it that my BHE numbers are usually lower (and further off) for my higher gravity beers?

Prosody (Huell Melon) Continue reading →
  1. That is a simplified explanation, but good enough for our purposes here. If you want a more detailed and technical explanation, check out the links in “Other Resources” at the end of this post. []
  2. The first time my notes include any mention of BHE was with Sirius Moonlight. []
  3. This would be starting with Jade Weka. []

Homebrew #92: Clone in the Window (Mk. II)

by Rob Friesel

I already mentioned some Vermont homesickness. Well… it’s not going to be cured by just a single batch. It’s going to take multiples. It seemed fair to clone the mead first because the mead scene here is… not Vermont’s. That said, I’ve been able to get some decent beers. Even some decent rye IPAs. But Light in the Window will forever1 be my go-to. And since BBCO stopped production and we moved 3,000 miles away… there was only one solution to this. Re-group on Clone in the Window:

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  1. For some values of forever. []