Brewer of the Week: Jeff Fuller
Jeff Fuller began brewing in the late 1990s, brewing extract and extract with grain batches. He brewed for a couple of years, perfecting a few recipes and keeping copious notes. Life eventually got in the way and brewing was put on the back burner.
Three to four years ago, one of Jeff's close friends invited him to brew and bring along a carboy. They brewed an all grain version of one of Jeff's old recipes. Jeff brought the carboy home and brewing was back in his life. After a few warm up extract with grain recipes he quickly moved on to all grain brewing.
Jeff currently brews with a Denny-style cooler mash tun and two converted kegs. One of the kegs has a PID controlled heating element and he'll use the keg as a Hot Liquor Tank or as a Boil Kettle, depending on whether he's brewing inside or out. Jeff has a serving fridge with 4 taps and two temperature controlled lagering/fermenting freezers.
Jeff still keeps meticulous notes and is very interested in the details, techniques and science of brewing. He's constantly on the lookout for opportunities to expand his brewing knowledge. Many will recognize him from the popular homebrew forums as Babalu87.
Jeff's an accomplished brewer whose brews have won medals at many local, regional and national homebrew competitions. He recently was one of nine finalists in the Sam Adams Category 23 Long Shot Completion with his Dahkness Black IPA. He's a member and Program Coordinator of the South Shore Brew Club in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Jeff's other interests include cooking, firing up the smoker, hunting, fishing and camping.
Late in August 2010, while camping with his wife, two kids and extended family, Jeff came down with a fever and a massive headache. By the next day, he became disoriented to the point that he didn't recognize his wife. He was rushed to the hospital and was eventually diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis. EEE is a mosquito borne virus which causes brain swelling and high fever. The general prognosis for victims of EEE is poor. It was touch and go for the first five days or so, but Jeff fought through those critical days. Unfortunately he was left in a coma-like state.
Jeff has been making slow progress for two months now. He was weaned off his ventilator and was eventually transferred to a long term rehab facility. Over the last couple of weeks he's been having increasing periods of alertness. The doctors feel that he fully understands what is going on around him and they feel that his memory is intact. Most of the work ahead of him will be regaining his motor skills.
He's likely facing months of additional rehab. Fortunately, Jeff has a great support system of family and friends and he's receiving exceptional treatment. Jeff is a big, strong guy and if anyone can fight his way back from this horrible situation, it is Jeff. However, he could use all the positive thoughts you can send his way.
Next time you're having a few homebrews with friends, raise a glass to Jeff's health and with any luck he'll soon be back to enjoying life and brewing great beer.
A fund has been set up by Jeff's sister to help him, his wife and their two kids. Checks should be made payable to "Michelle Fitzgerald FBO Jeffrey Fuller" and they should be sent to:
226 Main St.
Wareham, MA 02571
Donations can also be made via PayPal.
AHA Note: Jeff's good friend and homebrewing buddy, Frank White wrote this profile of Jeff. Frank (frankw on the AHA Forum) has also been keeping the AHA Forum up to date on Jeff's illness and his recovery in the Babalu thread.