Discussion in 'Beer Travel, Events and Releases' started by Don, Oct 1, 2013.
I'll pm you
Popped a George on New Year's Eve, it was very nice, but if you're looking for another VT brown ale to crush on Whetstone Station's Brown Paper Bag is pretty alright and they've got bottles of 3F Golden Blend available for consumption as of this past weekend too. Drank that and a S&S #1 with my brunch on Saturday, tough to decide which was the highlight.
Acurtis sent me a PM about what he tasted in his bottle(s) and instead of just writing back a PM I will just post it here as this kind of info is probably good for everyone. First if people have issues then I am always happy to hear about them either through pm on this site or through my email rwitter at gmail.com. These could be any issue ranging from beer our even poor experience at the brewery and I can promise you I will always do my best to address them.
On the issue of infection. When speaking understand I am speaking about what we do as I have witnessed it during my time here. Before we bottle clean beer we plate the beer. Plating involves using a medium which prohibits the growth of yeast and allows the growth of bacteria. This allows us to see if their is any possible beer spoiling bacteria in the beer. After bottling we plate again. All beer has to pass these plates to be bottled and has to pass the second plate to be released. We also store bottles in a library both at normal conditions and at high temps to accelerate aging. When a complaint such as his comes forward I grab bottles from both libraries and we taste. We did this yesterday with the Earl. We tasted nothing off in the beer what so ever. We plated again as well. The beer is not infected. What I think he is tasting based on his description to me is oxidation. The first earl and George runs showed very high levels of DO vs our standard beer and with the meheen we are always vigilant in our mission to get lower DO and a longer lasting product. We have already made a number of changes to the process which have provided us with good results. As we use it more we learn about it more and we will keep on striving to improve and chase perfection.
The term infection can be a powerful one and for that reason I think people should be careful when using it. Very easy for a game of telephone to spread around and misinformation to come about. Acurtis is you bought all that earl at the same time and have any left I would be interested in trying one from your case to see how it matches up with the two we tried yesterday. Hopefully this info is of help.
This is great, thank you for sharing. I think you guys could teach Goose Island a few things.
you sir, are getting a hug next time I see you!
Is there really an infection problem with bcbs or is this just run of the mill neckbeard stupidity? I assumed the latter...
Very nice detailed explanation and information rwitter, thanks for communicating all of that to us so clearly. Cheers!
I think you're probably right. I didn't love the BCBCS I opened, but I wouldn't have called it an infection.
My main point was that HF quality control is second to none.
Infection or otherwise, this kind of transparency and open communication is an ideal model for all breweries companies and people to follow.
Agreed. Just wondering how it's possible for an infection to take hold in a 14% abv beer a month after it was bottled without GI first seeing the amount of bacteria necessary for this to be true... but I guess this is the wrong thread for that. Just curious.
I think it also points out that people should be more cautious with throwing the "it's infected!" term out flippantly without really knowing for sure.
rwitter this question may be more for Shaun than for you since it was before you joined the team, but perhaps you can shed some light. If not maybe I will get a shot to ask Shaun on Friday if he is around.
Was the plating and testing protocol the same when M&C4 was released? If so, did things check out at test intervals, only for bottles to see a latent infection after release? This is not to imply anything or undermine the protocol if it was in place at the time- more so to help me understand if there is still some margin of potential susceptibility to infection despite a beer passing the tests.
Also, I only have anecdotal experience saying that at least some of those bottles were infected. I could be wrong- sure tasted soured.
Same for BA Everett. That stuff poured out like cough syrup.
Not really a question for Ryan as it doesn't relate to any HF beers specifically, just a general question for anyone with commercial brewing experience, I guess.
The description Ryan provides above makes a lot of sense for tracking a beer "being infected" overall. E.g., this is going to catch any beer that has an undesirable culture picked up during fermentation, barrel aging, conditioning, or overall in the packaging process (e.g., a contaminated line, or whatever). I hope a lot of large breweries do things like this!
However, "bottle variation" is a real thing, is it not? I'm going to use a terrible homebrewing analogy - say you're bottling off a beer in previously used bottles - you could have a little bit of clingy bacteria left from a previous beer in that bottle - maybe you didn't clean it well enough. Or maybe you dropped one of your bottle caps on the floor in the bottling process, it was contaminated, and then you used it. Either way - your end result, you have a ton of bottles of completely A-OK beer and a bottle or two that are all kinds of messed up.
Obviously, using a mechanized filler, bottles off a pallet straight from the manufacturer, brand new caps directly from a manufacturer, etc. is going to minimize these kinds of risks. I'm curious to what degree these risks are minimized - seems like a lot of people toss out "bottle variation" as a catchall thing for even relatively fresh beers that taste different. Obviously, there's a trillion other factors here that I'm ignoring - for example, differences in storage conditions are likely to be much more important on a bottle tasting different than something like this happening, different bottling runs being different batches, yaddah yaddah.
But can it happen? How often could it? (Yes - I know the answer depends on the infrastructure that a brewery's using - I'm just curious if it's reasonable to expect that maybe out of a batch of beer HF releases, there's a bad bottle in there somewhere!)
Mmm, Bourbon Barrel Cough Syrup
How dare you speak it's name! If it's not listed on their website.... Who's to say it really happened..
With the new tasting room - should i expect to wait outside on Saturday? wanna make sure i'm dressed appropriately as i know its gonna be freezing this week
somewhat related to the "infection" convo, beers that are higher carb'd than one might prefer, especially for stouts/porters, can tend to have a bit of a tart twang from the carbonic acid. doesn't mean it's infected...
thoughts on 9/15 Everett? had one shared at a local shop in sw burbs of Chicago and everyone thought it was off a little