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Meet the Crew: Nick Stephan

POSITION: Social Media Management
AREA OF EXPERTISE: All-Grain Brewing, Cheese Making,
FAVORITE RECIPE KITS: Ferocious, Fulton's Libertine Imperial Red Ale

I have worked at Midwest for about 3 years. For most of that time I have worked in customer service helping you guys with your orders, and first brew sessions. I am now the social media manager for Midwest. So whenever you receive a Facebook or Twitter Message you are generally hearing from me. If you ever have any questions and the shop is closed feel free to shoot us a tweet. If I'm awake I'll be happy to respond.

I have been homebrewing since 2006, when I was given a home brewing kit by my girlfriend at the time. The girl has since gone, but my relationship with homebrewing is stronger than ever. I currently brew 5 gallon All-Grain batches using a cooler/10 gallon kettle set-up. I plan to upgrade to a three tier system soon, but life always seems to get in the way.

For me home brewing has become a way of life. For good or for ill, every wedding or cabin invitation I receive is accompanied by the question: "Hey can you bring some of your beer?" I can’t say I hate it, it's part of the reason we all started doing this, but it does run your life at times. I know, it’s rough having your life revolve around homebrewing.

One of my favorite homebrewing memories occurred shortly after I moved in with my roommate Will. As a side note, shortly after I moved in with Will he quit his job, and started working at Midwest (yes that means there are two Midwest beer dorks living under the same roof with no female supervision. Things get geeky). He's still here; you may have talked to him on the phone. Anyway, shortly after I moved in with Will we decided to make Midwest's Ferocious IPA. I had brewed it several times before, always with great success. Will, on the other hand, was unfamiliar with this particular recipe. As we started brewing we decided to fire up the grill. I realized shortly after we began grilling we were missing a few things, so I decided to make a quick run the grocery store. Before I left I ran through the hop additions with Will, informing him the beer was a bit of a hop burst with continuous hop additions throughout the last 25 minutes. When I returned he was doing that last hop addition, and we began the chill.

As I began to pick up the remnants of the brew session I noticed that I could not find the dry hops anywhere. I asked Will, "Where are the hops for dry hopping?" He looked at me a little puzzled and said, "What do you mean? I put all of the hops in!" Needless to say, he'd added all of the hops during the hop burst, including several additional ounces of leaf hops meant for the secondary. We threw up our hands, quoted Papazian, “Relax, Don’t Worry, and Have a Homebrew”, and rolled with it. The next day at work I picked up some more hops for the dry hopping, and we proceeded as normal.

A few weeks later we tapped the keg of what we were now calling the Atrocious IPA, due to the hopping debacle, and all I can say is Liquid Magic. The keg barely lasted through the weekend, as we had several people over to taste this concoction. Here’s the kicker, while this was one of the best brews I have ever made, I have absolutely no idea how to recreate it. I have no clue what hops Will added, nor when he added them.

Moral of the story, if you leave your new roommate home alone attending your batch of beer, make sure he takes good notes.


Nick Stephan

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