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Who can take some chocolate, sprinkle it with hops, mix it all together and make his chocolates tops...the Candy Man Can.  In the comfy computer chair of fame today we have a part homebrewer, part candy making hybrid.  Beer making, mead making and candy making...Oh my!  Welcome to our interview series a homebrewer whose Twitter handle @Phil_from_MD either means he is enjoying life in the lovely state of Maryland, or his mother was a doctor.  Give a warm welcome to Mr. Phillip Green.

Phillip Green

Day Job: Computer Technician (M-F) / Electronics retail (weekends)Phillip Green / Owner, Hop Candy Inc. (See profile at end of article)

When did you start homebrewing?
I started in 2005, when I discovered mead at the Renaissance Faire. I became very interested, especially after trying Redstone Meadery, Raspberry Mead.

What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest?  Sheer boredom?
Several years ago, I tried Mead at the Renaissance Faire. A few months later, I had Black Raspberry Mead from Redstone Meadery. I decided I wanted to try my hand at creating the oldest fermented beverage, known to man. It didn't hurt that I really liked honey. From there, I branched out in to homebrewing beer.

Do you belong to a homebrew club?  What is it?
I spent several years as a member of H.O.P.S - Hagerstown Organization for Perfect Suds. Unfortunately, attendance has been down lately and I am looking for a new club.

Where do you brew? Inside/outside?
I had brewed indoors until this year, when I purchased a Blichmann Top Tier burner.

Where do you ferment? Have you had to do anything creative to facilitate this?
I have been using a room in the basement for fermentation. I use blankets to keep some vessels warm and Lagers end up across town, in my grandparents spare refridgerator.

Do you have a pet name for your homebrewing enterprise?  If so, can you give us a little background?
I call the wine and mead production Mt. Aetna Estate wine and meadery. I grew up on Mt. Aetna Rd and my logo was a terrific picture of Mount Aetna Volcano in Italy. I have recently introduced a new friend to homebrewing and he gave me the idea of Big Cat and I really like that. So I will be using the name Big Cat Brewing, moving forward.

How large are your batches?
I typically brew or create 5.5-6 gallon batches. I need a larger mash tun

What kind of equipment do you have?
I use a converted cooler with PVC manifold for the Mash tun / HLT, I have a 10 gallon brew kettle, 5 gallon sparge kettle, 6.5 gallon conical and several 5 & 6 gallon carboys.

Are you fine with that or do you expect to upgrade to bigger and better?
I would like to get to 10-15 gallons brews and a full draft bar of homebrew. I would like to move up to *Nano Brewery* status and one day have a brew pub. 

What are your favorite styles to brew?
I enjoy brewing Bocks i.e. Doppel and Helles, IPA's, Stouts and Blonde Ales infused with local honey.

All grain/Extract or both?
I typically brew all grain, but have been know to extract brew, for friends or due to time constraints.

How many batches have you made this year?
This has been my slowest year since I started, only brewing one batch. It is a BIG American Stout, with coffee and cocoa nibs.

Give us some examples and the names you picked out for them if you gave them a name.
I have had Hop Sex (A six time hopped Double IPA), Cocoa Krieky (A Chocolate Cherry Sweet Stout), Money, Honey Blonde (Blonde Ale fermented with local honey), 800lb Gorilla (Chocolate Stout with plantans) and Big Gnarly Stout (Big American Stout with organic Cocoa nibs and coffee).

Green MeadAny bad batches?  Were you smited by the homebrewing gods?
My Hop Sex got infected in tertiary. I was trying to get it extra clear and it was fine through the secondary, then something very bad happened. It was supposed to be a clone of Dogfish Head 90 minute.

Brewing plans for next year?
I hope to brew once every 6-8 weeks and hopefully land a job as a part time brewer or assistant.

Plans on entering any competitions?
I have entered competitions almost every year, since I started breweing. So I will certainly continue to do so.

 Any awards from past competitions?
I have earned Bronze in the NHC regional, Silver in the Maryland State Fair, and Earned a Gold in Arizona and in the Wine Maker Magazine Internation comp, with my Cinnamon / Vanilla Methlegin Mead.

Any advice you'd like to give other homebrewers?
Don't be afraid to brew! Keep things cleand and follow the directions and you'll get beer. Experiment, innovate and be creative! Most of all, do what you want and remember to take notes.

Any closing thoughts?
Brew what you want, take chances, don't let styles or numbers rule your brew. Cleanliness is next to Godliness and take notes, so you can do it again!

I'd love to stick around and ask you more questions but I think my wort might get jealous of the time I'm spending with you.  Please ask and answer the final question.
When I'm not homebrewing in the kitchen, I make/cook a mean....?
Hot wings or BBQ Chicken. I really enjoy cooking wings or grilling on the BBQ. My speciality flavors are a HOT Honey Buffalo and a dry, smokey seasoning with cinnamon.

                                                                                                       Hop Candy                    

{xtypo_quote}I founded this company to fill a niche market, which I have created. Being a home brewer and chocolate lover, I realized that there was a lack of beer centric candies on the market. Around Christmas 2009, I started thinking up ways to bring these two wonderful flavors together. Around Christmas 2009, I made my first batch of Nugget Ninja Hopolate. {/xtypo_quote}  

To find out more about Hop Candy Inc and their Hopolates, head on over to their website:

Hop Candy Inc.                                                

*** Prost ~Phillip Green



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