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FEATURE

BOT T L E

TREE The science of a great brew Written by SAMANTHA HURST Photographs by DOUG DICKERSON

Fred Block’s new BottleTree Red Ale found success earlier this year as it captured the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Savannah Craft Brew Fest in September. Craft brewing enthusiasts caught on to the quality of Block’s brews locally two years ago, allowing the brand to build quite the local following. Block started homebrewing in 2002 while studying for an engineering exam on thermodynamics. “I honestly had no idea how beer was made at that point,” Block said. After stumbling on information about the process of thermodynamics in relation to beer, Block was intrigued. He said he likely spent 600 hours early on in his interest just researching the science of brewing. “Everyone has a different reason [for homebrewing] but for me it started out as an interest in building the system,” Block said. He enjoyed the drawing and planning out of the brewing system most of all. Block said he unfortunately never found it easy to find all the information he was seeking. So, little by little he would find a snippet here and a snippet there – putting the pieces together like a puzzle until he had mapped out a plan to build his own homebrewing system. The system he created is three-tiered and 12 feet tall. He spent nine months on the system before even brewing his first batch. When he did brew his first Block didn’t do so on stovetop with a kit like many first-timers. No, he went straight to all-grain through his homemade system. In fact, Block had never even

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