Brewer of the Week: Stan the Mead Man
Name: Loren R. Standley, Jr. aka "Stan the Mead Man"
Home Town: Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
Homebrewer since: 1996, but a serious homebrewer since 2007
AHA member since: 2009
Homebrew Club: Beer Alchemist of Coastal Carolina (BAC2). I have also been a member of Escambia Bay Homebrewers (EBH) and the Fredericksburg Brewing Insiders (FBI).
Who Are You:
I'm an avid homebrewer serving in the military. I have a passion for dark, malty, rich and very complex beers. I started brewing beer much like everyone else, on a Mister Beer kit. That did not last long once I tasted really good micro and homebrew. I did extracts for a few years, until I understood how all grain beer was made. Clubs are a must for beginners and advanced brewers. I hooked up with a club in Pensacola, Escambia Bay Homebrewers and learned how to make awesome all-grain brew. From then on, I had the never-ending desire to learn and make better beer. Much like friends of mine, I love seeing the reaction someone has who tried and liked a beer I made.
Check out what's going on at my home facility: Dragonfly Brewery. I post most of my recipes Hopville.com.
You brew beer, mead and wine?
To date I have brewed 102 batches of beer, 27 batches of mead, and eight batches of wine (all in 5-gallon batches). I love making full bodied meads, big bold beers and robust, rich wines. I really do not favor one more than the other. There are great beers, meads and wines. If I was asked which one is easier make, I would have to say wine. With beer you have to convert the sugars if you are doing all grain, and with mead you have to ensure the right amount nutrients and oxygen.
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share?
No real disasters other than a stuck fermentation lock and super aggressive fermentation. I did have a funny story with a wine. A buddy of mine took a wine I had made, went on vacation and came back to a wine cork on his bed and a very wet floor. I guess I did not add sorbate to stop the fermentation.
What is your favorite style(s) to brew?
India pale ales, bitters, Scottish styles, stouts, bock and Belgians. All bigger the better.
What style(s) will you never brew?
None. However, after watching Dogfish Head make chicha beer on TV, I don't think I will ever brew a beer like that.
What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out?
Goodness...I guess the Irish Stout from Mr. Beer. The first all grain was a Stone Ruination Ale clone. The Stout was bad, but the Ruination was so good I had to visit the Stone brewery and did so in 2008.
What is your favorite beer recipe?
The extra bitter and the Stone Ruination clone. You can't just have one favorite.
Are you a BJCP Judge? If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging?
Not yet. I am looking to test as a mead judge because there are so few judges and meads can be so interesting and completely fascinating due to the different herbs and fruit you can add.
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc?
The Blichmann ThruMometer in-line thermometers. I use the ThruMometer with a Therminator and it gives you a good gauge on what the temperature of the wort is coming out of you wort kettle. If the temperature is above 80°F, slow the wort down or speed the cooling water down. Once your wort is in your fermentor, you know you have a good pitch temp for your yeast. It is a real time saver. For me it takes about 15 minutes to cool. With a immersion chiller it takes 45 minutes to an hour, more if it is a hot summer day.
Describe your brew system.
I now use a Blichmann TopTier double burner system. I guess I am a diehard Blichmann fan. I still use my converted sanke kegs. I added the Therminator and Mach pump this year. All my lines are quick disconnects and high heat temp hoses.
How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)?
About twice per month.
What is your favorite malt? Why?
Malteurop American 2-Row Pale Malt and Crystal 60 for its body, foam stability, color, and yes, flavor. I can't pick just one. I also love Special B for its fruity, raisiny and dark flavor.
What is your favorite hop? Why?
I am torn between Cascade and Centennial. If push comes to shove, Cascade is my favorite. It has that unmistakable grapefruit citrus aroma and flavor.
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast?
Wyeast American Ale 1056. Ferments dry, finishes soft, smooth and clean, and is very well balanced yeast. Ideal for IPAs.
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him?
The late Michael Jackson. The beer would be my Baltic Porter or Scottish Kilt Dropper Ale.
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew?
Bitter orange peel and coriander in a wheat beer. Most homebrew stores sell such ingredients. I do stop at grocery stores and organic stores to get new inspiration. I am thinking of making a sweet potato ale with pecan and marshmallow. Sounds odd, but I am sure Sam Calgione would say otherwise.
How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions?
12 for beer, three for mead and two for wine. I won two gold medals in the Upper State Brewer Cup for my strong Scottish ale called “Kilt Dropper” and “Stan’s ESB.” I have won first place for my braggot, which also won Best in Show in the 2011 Palmetto State Brew Off. I won the gold in the 2011 Meadlennium for a braggot as well. A favorite win was a silver for my metheglin at the 2012 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. I even decided to enter a port wine I made into the 2012 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition and won silver.
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with?
Unfortunately I brew alone, but not all by choice. With brewing solo you get comfortable brewing the same way. When I get the chance, I prefer to brew with or in a group. When you brew in a group you gain knowledge and techniques that you do not gain simply just by reading. You also get to enjoy the company of others and others' beers.
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer?
I have to be outside. Rain, sleet or shine; I will be making beer.
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite?
Dragonfly Sinister Ale, Dragonfly Witty Wheat, Dragonfly Flying Stampede Stout, Dragonfly I2PA and Catch Her in the RyePA. My favorite now is the Dragonfly Kilt Dropper Scotch Ale. I have yet to make the label, but it will be a Dragonfly with a brew in hand and his kilt to his knees.
Where would you like to take the hobby of brewing to next?
I would like to be that local community guy that has an awesome brewery and makes great beer for all seasons. Until I retire from the military, I will continue to perfect my craft, while gaining more knowledge and experience. If an opportunity came up to brew on a large system, I would jump on it. I have one-uped myself recently. I was having trouble thinking of names for my brews. Then it hit me, name the beers after Dragonflies; Migrant Hawker Wheat, Saddleback Barleywine, Blue Dasher Saison and Green Darner Pale Ale. I have a few more competitions I have entered this year and I would love to place in saison, imperial pale ale and barleywine. I made a barleywine last month that was 14% ABV and 133 IBUs. The Samichlaus clone has been my greatest challenge. We shall see in six more months...
You mentioned planning to open your own brewery:
A few years ago, it sounded like just a hobby and I was having fun. As I get closer to retirement in the military, I want to open my own micro-brewery. I have had shirts, beer glasses and stickers made to test my ideas. In February, I purchased the design that I use on the Facebook site, shirts and glasses. You can even find me on Untappd.com. As I win more competitions and gain more knowledge, I am getting more and more serious. Again, I think I would like to be that local community guy that has an awesome brewery and makes great beer for all seasons!