James Frazer

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  • Location: Virginia
  • AHA Member since: March 2012
  • Homebrewing since: Almost 3 years
  • Club Affiliation: Hill City Homebrewers

What got you into homebrewing?

My good friend Leavelle. We were both in separate bands touring the country and he started a blog on one gallon all-grain stove top brewing. He made it look fun and easy, so I started brewing all-grain one gallon batches.

Do you have any homebrewing disasters you would like to share?

I have had a disaster turn out great. I was brewing a double IPA and undershot my target volume by a gallon. Instead of watering down the wort, I let it ride and it turned out to be a great American IPA. A month later I entered it in Ska Brewing’s 2012 Pro-Am competition and took home my first gold in the IPA category!

What is your favorite style to brew?

IPA: American, English, Black, White, or Double…as long as it is IPA!

What is your “white whale” beer?

I am not that passionate about hunting out the latest rare release, but I do love Nugget Nectar from Tröegs. I buy at least two cases of it every spring and slowly deplete it until it’s gone.

What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out?

A simple one gallon all-grain German hefeweizen. It turned out amazing!

What is your favorite Malt? Hop? Yeast?

  • Malt: Caramalt
  • Hops: Centennial
  • Yeast: Fermentis US-05

Describe your homebrew system.

Five gallon Igloo mash tun, 7.5 gallon boil pot, 4 gallon HLT. Chill in the bathtub, ferment at room temperature and bottle condition. BARE BONES!

Tell us about the Labrewatory. 


Labrewtory is what I call my home brewery, which I started about two years ago. I brew using a simple method, but it allows me to brew many styles without breaking the bank and has proven to make award-winning beer without all the bells and whistles.

People began to show interest in the Labrewatory so we started meeting in my kitchen on brew days to drink, brew and talk competitions. We currently have 12 members and are always ready and willing to spread the good word of homebrewing! We are even thinking about adopting a highway in the 24523!

How many medals/awards have you won from homebrew competitions? Any stories?

I’ve taken home 14 awards in 10 states. All together one Best of Show and five golds. Recently I got my bottle ID mixed up and labeled my Cascadian Dark Ale with an English IPA ID. Low and behold my CDA took a gold judged as an English IPA!

What were your Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am experiences like?

I participated in the 2013 GABF Pro-Am competition with Bootstrap Brewing Co. I actually flew to Niwot, Colo., to brew my collaboration black IPA. It was important for me to get my hands on the raw ingredients and be a part of that beer. Steve and Leslie were awesome! I learned a lot about commercial brewing from them.

Winning a Pro-Am has been one of my goals for the past three years as a homebrewer. Now that I have competed at the GABF, I want to win. So hopefully this year I’ll earn another opportunity.

What are your favorite Craft breweries?

Founders, Stone, Dogfish Head, Our Mutual Friend, Troegs, Oskar Blues, Green Flash.

Is there any advise you would like to give to new homebrewers?

Trub loss. Always keep in mind trub loss…especially in IPAs