Who Are You (please include a picture): Michael P. Mitchem
Home Town (City, State): Wilmington, NC
Homebrew Club: Beer & Ale Research Foundation (B.A.R.F.)
I've been a homebrewer since: Around 4 years
Do you have a homebrewing disaster you'd like to share? I am currently renting a house in Suffolk, VA and brew in the garage. I had made an English Barleywine two days before. My wife calls me up very frantically saying the my beer had exploded and coated the ceiling with yeast. The pressure of this big beer apparently blew the blowoff tube right out and volcanoed onto the garage ceiling. That will be fun to explain...
What is your favorite style(s) to brew? German beers with a big malt profile. It doesn't have to be a heavy alcohol beer, just big malt.
What style(s) will you never brew? Not sure if there is one. It is like Pokemon - gotta brew em all...right?
What was the first beer you ever brewed? How did it turn out? I brewed a Midwest Robust porter kit. The power went off in my house in mid winter and the fermentation temperature was all over the place. When I served it I asked "So who here likes band-aids?"
Have you ever had a homebrew mistake that turned out great? Not yet...and I cannot wait until the mistakes become brilliant!!!
What is your favorite beer recipe? I would have to say my Strong Scotch Ale recipe, "The Scourge of Edinburgh". It was the first beer I ever competed and it scored a 45 at the Palmetto State Brewers Open. Plus it is just a tasty beer. My friends clean me out every time I make it.
Are you a BJCP Judge? If so, what is your rank and how long have you been judging? I am a BJCP Recognized Judge having passed the new online entrance exam a few months ago. I am off to Charlotte in Jan 2013 to knock out the tasting exam. Fingers crossed...
Do you have a good beer judging story you'd like to share with the rest of the homebrewing world? When you are judging 39 different wood-aged and smoked beers...Good Luck!
Do you have a favorite homebrew trick or gadget that you've found to make your beer better/brewing easier, etc? No real tricks. Everything that I have learned is out there and has been pioneered by far better brewers than me. My only real trick is to sanitize like crazy and control the fermentation temperature. Nine times out of ten the beer will be good
Describe your brew system. I brew on a 2-tier, 3 vessel, half barrel brewhouse that me and my buddy Roy Damuth built in early 2012. It is the Backwoods Brewery in 'Pimp My System'
How frequently do you brew (times/month or /year)? I try to brew 2-3 times per month...more if I can or have the room.
What is your favorite malt? Why? Weyermann Dark Munich Malt. It is so versatile and has a wonderful character. It is the bees knees!
What is your favorite hop? Why? German Magnum. this hop is a real workhorse. Such a clean bitter and such a high alpha acid level. Awesome and cheap - just like me!!!
Do you have a favorite or house yeast? What qualities do you like about that yeast? I like to use WLP001 for my ale fermentations just because it is so clean and attenuates well. On the lager side I am a huge fan of WLP833 German Bock Lager. That maltiness is so, so nice. MMMMM!
Do you have a good homebrew club story you'd like to share? My homebrew club is awesome. B.A.R.F. has really shown me what brewing in a community is all about. No interesting stories - just a general feeling of pride in my club. They really are a great crew!
What haven't we asked that you would really like to answer? Nothing really...Maybe how do you get better at brewing. To that I say brew alot, ask questions, and write everything down so you do not repeat mistakes.
If you could serve your homebrew to someone famous, who would it be and what would you give her/him? All of them! And everyone else in the world too! Homebrew is a great thing that should be shared by all.
Can you send a picture or two of some labels you've created for your homebrew? We don't make no stinking labels
What's the most unusual ingredient you've ever used in a brew? One time I went outside the German Purity Law and brewed with, dare I say, CORN SUGAR!!! Hahaha - nothing too crazy. Spices and herbs, stuff like that.
Do you have any pets or kids named after beer styles or ingredients? Nope.
How many medals have you won from homebrew competitions? Since I started competing in December 2011 I think I have medalled ten times, maybe?
Do you brew alone, with friends or with someone you live with? I usually brew alone so I can really just float through the brewday. I brew with friends occasionally as well. Both are a good time.
Are you an indoor or outdoor brewer? I brew in the garage these days. I started in the kitchen and have been exiled to the garage
List some of the names you've given your beers. Which is your favorite? I made a Milk Stout this year called "Sweet Sweater Cows", hehehe. I also named a Kolsch "Helen's Opera" after my opera-singing cousin who is singing in Koln. Ah...family