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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. []

Homebrew #91: Evil Clone (Mk. V)

by Rob Friesel

Since moving to Seattle, one of the (many) Vermont things that I miss is constant access to the craft meads of Groennfell and Havoc. And while there will always be the specialest of special places in my heart for Valkyrie’s, when we really break it down, Root of All Evil has always been our go-to. Which is probably why I made my own clone twist on it four times.1234 It’s also why it’s (one of) the first meads I made since moving out here.

Evil Clone (Mk. V) is a ginger mead in a handsome glass tankard
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  1. Evil Clone! []
  2. Evil Clone (Mk. II)! []
  3. Evil Clone (Mk. III)! []
  4. Evil Clone (Mk. IV)! []

Homebrew #89: Primogeniture

by Rob Friesel

After a four-and-a-half month1 (forced) hiatus, I got myself brewing again.2 I needed to get at least one brew day in before I went back to work, after all.

New state? New space? New water? New homebrew supply store? Throw caution to the wind. Set your sights on an Imperial Stout and see what happens. Go big or go home, right? And this gives us Primogeniture:

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  1. Bearing in mind that the longest hiatus before this one was only about two months, and that was the gap between brew #1 and brew #2. []
  2. And what a 180ยบ from my last brew. []