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BJCP Milestone: Recognized

by Rob Friesel

After nearly three months1 of waiting, my BJCP Tasting Exam score came back. I was hoping for something in the 70s — that way, all I’d need to do would be to rack up a few more judging points and I’d slide neatly into the Certified rank.

But when I opened the email (my heart all a-flutter) my eyes almost couldn’t believe the number waiting for me.


And not only that, but the overall performance summary blew me away:

2018 BJCP Tasting Exam: my overall performance summary

I don’t say this to brag2 but I really was surprised that I’d managed to get a score that (with the rest of the legwork to come) already gets me partway to a National rank.

This was a hugely important goal for me, and I’m feeling a ton of gratitude for having made it. And to my study group friends that put up with all my blah-blah-blahing — I really couldn’t have done it without you. (You know who you are…)


  1. For the record: I’m not complaining; they told us to expect a 3 month wait for the scores to come back. It’s all good. []
  2. OK I am maybe bragging a little. []

Homebrew #63: Avout

by Rob Friesel

Going way back to before I had any idea of what I was doing1, I got it into my head to make a red-as-possible Trappist-style ale. Something in the neighborhood of a Dubbel in terms of color (but redder) but closer to a Belgian Dark Strong in terms of strength and flirting with both with respect to flavor. I’d throw in a little bit of rye because that’s what I do, and that brings us to Avout:

Avout Continue reading →

  1. He says as though he has any idea of what he’s doing now… []

Homebrew #66: Peraridus

by Rob Friesel

Not immune to hype and novelty, the Green Mountain Mashers (the local homebrew club, of which I am a member) caught wind of a little style catching on in San Francisco: the so-called Brut IPA. The more adventurous and experimental of us immediately started digging into whatever resources we could find.

Not surprisingly, several of us almost immediately hammered out first-stab recipes. Also not surprisingly, there was a lot of overlap among those recipes. (What’s that saying about “great minds”…?) Rather than duplicate efforts (and spend way way more on the Amylo 300 enzyme than we needed to), we converged and planned out a 70 gallon club brew.

I took home a 4.5 gallon share that became the Peraridus1 Brut IPA:

Peraridus, a delicious Brut IPA Continue reading →

  1. Originally I was going with some variation of “Brut Squad” (which, let’s face it, beer names and puns are like peanut butter and jelly) but there were competing claims within the group and I’ve got plenty of precedence for a clumsily-translated Latin brew name so “Peraridus” it is. []

Homebrew #64: Hoarder Intervention #1

by Rob Friesel

Inspired by the Brülosophy Short & Shoddy project, I had me an idea. As I stuck a fresh shipment of hops into my refrigerator drawer, I noticed a few lonely bags hanging out down there. Hops that were (probably) still good, but certainly not getting any fresher. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was practically swimming in hops that just needed to make their way into a beer. Any beer. Like maybe a session IPA called Hoarder Intervention #1.

Hoarder Intervention #1 Continue reading →

Homebrew #60: Glorified

by Rob Friesel

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a real actual true Trappist Single. There was St. Bernardus Extra 4 from our study group but… that seemed an unsatisfying answer, that singular data point. So what motivated this particular brew was two-fold: first, that I needed a glorified starter (hence the name) for a significantly bigger Trappist-inspired beer to follow, and second, to see if I could brew a serviceable Trappist Single. That brings us to Glorified:

Continue reading →

Homebrew #59: Honestatis (Mk. VIII)

by Rob Friesel

It’s been since December that I last had Honestatis on draft around here1 and felt I was overdue to brew the next batch. I’d been tinkering with the formulation a bit, following some tasting notes from the last time I’d brewed it with Dan, but as it happens… so was he. Rather than duplicate effort, we decided once again to combine forces. Honestatis (Mk. VIII), the deviant redux:

Honestatis Mk. VIII Continue reading →

  1. Technically this is true, the keg having kicked December 16, 2017; but Dan was kind enough to give me a bottle from our last batch sometime in April so we could properly celebrate this beer’s performance in First Round of NHC. []

BJCP exam tomorrow (wish me luck)

by Rob Friesel

I think it’s fair to say that I would eventually have gotten the itch to get a BJCP certification. But it was that November 2016 BYO Boot Camp with Gordon Strong that really kicked off this journey.

Me and Gordon Strong

In retrospect, it was only natural that he would encourage me to go seek my certification. But at the time it was flattering and just the kick I needed. Continue reading →