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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:

A Mead... Has No Name Continue reading →

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:

Sunny Night Continue reading →

  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):

Green Mountain Grisette (Mk. II) Continue reading →

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… []