AHA Brewer Profile: Frankenbrew
My name is Frank Chenette, and I hail from Quincy, Massachusetts. I was born here and I have lived my entire life here. I teach high school English. I am happily married to my soulmate, and I have two sons; the oldest is 29, and his brother is 27. We all love homebrew.
I have been brewing since 1994. My wife got tired of me talking about how I wanted to try brewing and bought me a kit. That was the best gift ever! Homebrewing has become my passion and my obsession, in the best way possible. I brewed from extracts for the first 15 years until I joined a brew club and saw how easy all-grain brewing is. That was in 2010. Now, I brew using whatever process fits the circumstances, mostly all-grain but sometimes partial mash, BIAB and Extract.
I am a proud member of The South Shore Brew Club where I have been a member since 2009. I have served in various roles in the six years I have been a member. I think that my biggest contributions have been my numerous presentations. My favorite presentation was “Formulating Your Own Beer Recipes,” for which I mostly resourced Ray Daniels’ Designing Great Beers
and Papazian’s New Complete Joy of Homebrewing
. Last year I won Best of Show out of 240 beers at my club's open competition for my version of Zymurgy’s Kumquat Wheat Ale. I love my brew club!
I don’t really have a homebrew disaster story. I’ve been pretty lucky. However, my younger brother got married in 2005, and I was the best man. I brewed a pale ale for the bachelor party, and when I was kegging it, the carboy broke. Not a disaster, but pretty disappointing.
My favorite styles change all the time. I used to love English bitters, but I can’t tell you how long it has been since I’ve brewed one. For a while, I couldn’t get enough saisons, but lately I’ve been into IPAs. With that said, there are very few beers that I don’t like. I guess I’m not much of a sour beer guy, but then again, once in a while one will hit the spot. Who knows, maybe that’ll be my next thing.
I am not a BJCP judge nor do I want to be. I enjoy stewarding at my clubs homebrew competition, but I don’t really like drinking beer for the sake of dissecting or over- analyzing minute flaws in beers. I would rather sit back and enjoy what is good about beer, even the ones that may be slightly flawed in some way. With that said, however, I am thinking of getting Cicerone certified, so that I can turn people on to good beer and maybe make a few bucks along the way.
I brew once or twice a month, usually outside if the weather agrees and inside if it doesn’t. I mostly use English and German malts: English pale malt for medium to darker beers and German Pilsner for lighter styles. I mostly use English specialty malts no matter what kind of beer I’m making. I keep an inventory of malt, hops, and yeast on hand, so I can brew anytime the opportunity presents itself. I primarily use dry yeast, so that I can brew a style when the feeling hits me. I have Safale 04 and 05, Belle Saison, Safebrew Abbaye, and Saflager 34/70 on hand now. I do use liquid yeasts for certain beers such as WLP029 for Kolsch or AltBier and I will pickup a strain of Biere de Garde yeast when it is released seasonally. The hops I keep on hand are German Perle, Tradition, Hersbrucker, as well as East Kent Goldings. For American beers, I have Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, and Citra. With those, I brew just about anything I desire.
My system is very simple and frugal. I am a Dennybrew devotee, and a minimalist. I have a ten gallon Rubbermaid round cooler, three kettles varying in size from 5 gal. to 15 gal, a JSP fixed-gap maltmill, a copper immersion cooler, and a Bayou SQ14 burner. I firmly believe that a brewer can make excellent beer without fancy equipment.
With the exception of my club’s groupbrew, I mostly brew alone. I find that if I brew with a friend, I have a good time, but the beer does not come out as good. Brewing is a science, and it is hard work, therefore drinking or shooting the ship means you are not paying attention to either.
A couple of years back, I got a chance to go to Philly to attend the NHC. I went with 22 of my homebrew club buddies. It was a once in a lifetime, awesome time. I shook hands with many homebrew celebrities including Gary, Brad Smith, Sam Caglione, and more. But the one guy that I really was just awestruck at meeting was Charlie Papazian. I learned to brew from him and was reassured and soothed by his RDWHAHB so many times that I felt like I was being reunited with my lost father. For nearly a decade, it was just he and I brewing together. Well, I finally met him in Philly and had my picture taken with him. It was priceless, as they say.
I’m glad to be a part of the AHA, especially the forum. There are so many experts and knowledgable brewers here that I’m never really brewing alone. And as a bonus, there are so many people on the forum that are just plain nice. And that is the best thing about it.