Homebrew Competition Winner Brews at Rhinegeist

In August we asked for any and all homebrewers to submit a Double IPA for our second annual homebrewing competition. The winner would get to brew their recipe on the Rhinegeist brewhouse, see it debut at our Double IPA festival, Hopgeist 10/31, and this year packaged into 22oz bombers! It's one of the more fun brews we do each year in celebration of Cincinnati's great homebrewing tradition (and our own origins, as well). We blind taste each entry, choose the best and then work with the brewer to scale their recipe up to production scale. Their seed of passion blossoms into a beer released to market - creativity amplified!

Phil Grosvenor from Maineville, Ohio, is the winner of our 2015 Homebrew Competition! This year’s Homie Double IPA is comprised of 2 Row Pale, Crystal and a little White Wheat malt. As for the hops, Phil said, it’s a tiny bit of Bravo and a TON of Mosaic.  The amount of Mosaic is really what it's all about. Phil and his brewing partner in crime, Kyle Kembel, spent the day brewing a batch of their Double IPA with our head brewer Jim Matt.  After their day with Jim we sat down with the duo to get to know them better. Phil does most of the brewing and Kyle is his first in command.

We figured since this bad boy is being put into kegs and bombers (available in early November) we’d give them the “Meet the Team” treatment.

So how did this Double IPA come to be?

Well we brew everything together, but this time around Kyle was on vacation so I threw together the recipe.  I brewed it specifically for this competition — scaled it up, added a sh*t ton of hops and it came out way better than expected.

Any inspiration for the recipe?

Pliny the elder. I brewed a kit for my Dad’s birthday and liked the way it came out. I’ve never even had the beer before so I tried my best for a Pliny clone.

What keeps you busy these days?

Work, and getting married (he exhales into a big smile)… 10/23 I’ll be hitched! So that’s definitely keeping me busy these days… and ya know, brewing. I’m really excited to get married as she’s very tolerant of my homebrewing hobby.

What your brewing story?

I’ve been homebrewing for two years and really like hoppy and clean styles. I’ve tried brewing a lot of different styles and while I haven’t completely nailed all of them I’ve had some success with India Pale Ales and Double IPA’s. I want to do everything well.

Any other beers that you’ve brewed?

I brewed a Pilsner called Single Stroke with Nelson Sauvin hops, the same hop that’s used in the Rhinegeist Fiction. It’s not as hoppy as Fiction —definitely a bit tamer. It was named Single Stroke because music was almost another profession for me at one point in time and is still a huge passion of mine. I try to intertwine all of my brewing with music because sometimes you want to groove and then other times you just wanna be kicked in the nuts. That nut kicking was our inspiration for this Double IPA. We wanted it to be really bad-ass.

Did you learn anything new today?

Oh man, for sure, a lot of tricks revolving around every single step. Stuff like nailing original gravities, how to account for ingredient availabilities and I even did my first mash-out from the mash tun. I also learned how crucial sanitation is —it’s of the upmost importance here.

What’s the coolest thing that happened?

Everything! Seriously. From mashing-in to the daily life of a brewer, it was neat that we brewed on the original system because it was so hands on. Every step of the process was so cool and to do it on a professional level was unbelievable.

The scale is totally different too. In our garage we’re messing with small cups holding a few ounces of hops; here, we’re dumping pounds of hops. Also, the amount of knowledge headbrewer Jim Matt has is incredible. He had so many tips for us and really painted the picture of what it takes to be a brewer at this level.

Anything unexpected?

Honestly, the general idea of multiple batches in one day is nuts. Thinking of how you’re in one step in one batch and then working on a totally different batch at different stage was super tough.  Also the amount of responsibility that goes into the average day of a brewer is crazy. I usually just sit around the garage and drink and I obviously knew that wasn’t the case here, but, it’s just…there’s no f*cking around.

What are you most excited about?

Having friends and family drink something that I made with one of the best breweries in the area. Everyone is excited about the release date and knowing that something I first made in the garage is going into bombers and kegs — so cool. I’m also stoked to see how well it sells.

What’s your go-to sandwich, Phil?

A Peanut Butter sandwich — obviously gourmet peanut butter.

Do you have a spirit animal?

Ahh, I’ve never really thought about it, Kaola bear…because they’re cute.

Favorite Rhinegeist beer?

I love Ink and Sabertooth and although it usually depends on the season, Uncle is my favorite. It’s just…awesome. I wish you’d can it! The flavor and the drinkability of Uncle is top-notch. It’s not about getting drunk but more the sessionable approach. It’s funny because I think of Rhinegeist I think about hops, but I like Uncle so much.

Any final thoughts?

I just want to say thanks — that kinda thing. I could go on for a long time about how awesome it was. It’s pretty unique how I got to collaborate with one of my favorite breweries in the world. I mean, you can win a competition, you can hang a medal on your wall but you can’t do this again. Rhinegeist is a special place for bringing me in to brew with them.

We tried to talk Jim into getting us some of the Silver Medal Sherry Ink but no dice, instead we all shared a bottle of Exum…so cool….And put Uncle into cans!

Mutual thanks on this end! Come try 2015 Homie at Hopgeist 10/31 and keep your eyes peeled for it on taps and in bombers. Cheers to Phil and Kyle and let’s having a rip-roaring time!