Thursday, April 10, 2008
As Tyler posted, we have finally bottled and kegged our beers, and we are currently nurturing them (i.e. bottle conditioning and petting them daily) and preparing them to be shipped off and sold... well, hopefully sold! I'm really pleased how all of the beers have turned out, and I hope you are too. I was nervous that the jump from 10 gallon batches to 465 gallon batches the first time around would not end up being remotely the same beer, but in most cases, they are spot on, or perhaps a bit more to our liking, than the pilot batches.
The one exception is Batch No. 1 - Levud's. This is a very fine beer, don't get me wrong. This was the first batch, and I didn't know what our mash efficiency would be. I was shooting for a 19.0-19.5 P beer, which when it finishes around 2 P, would end up being around a 9.5% beer. Loren and Mark brewed it to this strength, and I wanted to be as close as possible. We brewed this over two days (15 bbl each day) to fill the 30 bbl fermenter. The first 15 bbl batch came out to be 22.1 P, about a 13% overshot. I scaled back the second batch of it by a few hundred pounds of base malt in order to hit around 17 P, but instead the gravity was 19.9. The combined gravity of the two batches ended up being 21 P, and I wasn't about to water it down. It attenuated to around 1.2 P (94.4% apparent attenuation!!!). Instead of the 9.5% Golden Strong Ale, we have an 11% Golden Strong Ale. I'm not complaining; it still tastes damn good! Those bottles are slow to carbonate right now, so there's a chance we'll be delaying their release by a few weeks. From what I've tasted so far, it has a very similar flavor profile to the outstanding beer that Loren and Mark brew, but with a bit more of an alcoholic punch.
Speaking of releasing beers, we plan on having all of our labels approved and hopefully printed within two weeks time, so keep an eye out for them (I'll post where we're selling though, so don't look around too hard). The label for Saison Rue has been approved, and we anticipate Batch No. 1 - Levud's will be approved in the next few days as well. Orchard White and Black Orchard are currently delayed because the TTB required a formula due to the spices we add to the beers. None of the ingredients are controversial, so I'm hoping their approval moves along quickly.
We'll be kicking off our first releases at Hollingshead Deli, currently scheduled for either Monday, April 28th or Tuesday, April 29th. In early May, we'll be going to beer bars, beer friendly restaurants, and good beer stores in Orange County, Los Angeles County, and San Diego County letting people know we're around and open!
If you'll be at the Craft Brewers Conference next week, our beer will be served there at some point. We also entered the World Beer Cup, so please cross your fingers for us.
It is a huge relief and very exciting to finally be at the point where The Bruery is a commercial brewery. If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be running my own brewery in two years, I wouldn't have believed it. I probably would have said "No, I'll be running my own brewery in a year!" Delays and reality aside, I'm excited and optimistic about the adventure I'm embarking on.
Monday, April 7, 2008
This past week Patrick, I and several helpers bottled and kegged our way through 75 barrels (approx.) in three days. Thanks to everyone who helped us! Without you, Patrick and I would still probably be bottling. On a more exciting note, we filled up four oak barrels: two bourbon barrels with Batch #1-Levud’s, and two wine barrels with Saison Rue w/ brettanomyces. In the next week or two our anniversary beer will be ready to rack into its pretty cool new home or should I say homes. I’ll let Patrick tell you more about the details later. We will be attending Newport Beach Brewing Company’s 13th Anniversary on April 10th; if you plan on attending make sure to say hi and try our beer! Well, it has been a long day of cleaning at The Bruery and I just realized this isn’t very interesting. Hopefully I’ll see some of you at one of our tastings! (we’ll let you know when everything is locked in!)