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Brewing for My Company: the Aftermath

Posted by homebrewdad on 10/23/2014 at 05:34:03 PM


A few weeks ago, I posted about being asked to brew beer for a major company event.  This past weekend, that event took place; I figured that I would follow up and relate how it went.

I brewed two beers for the event - my Oakenbranch IPA, and my Thundersmoke brown ale.  The two brew days themselves went just fine (no snickering, you in the back!).  I added even more dry hops to the IPA, figuring that it would be impossible to end up with too much; the brown ale (which happens to be a "house beer" for me), I brewed exactly according to the recipe.  I did scale both recipes up a hair in the hopes of ending up with at least a few bottles of each for personal consumption.

My numbers were great on the IPA - 1.077 OG (1.076 target), 1.014 FG (1.017 target).  That did come in a bit high on ABV (8.31%, to be exact), so I was a little concerned about aging time, but there wasn't much to do about that.  The brown ale landed at 1.058 OG (target 1.057), but I got big attenuation - FG was 1.008 (target was 1.015, holy cow!). 

To be fair, I always make large starter and oxygenate well.  I think that I need to adjust my numbers a bit; Beersmith wants to set the target OG in the middle of the yeast's expected attenuation range, but I almost always hit the top (or exceed it a bit).  Still, somebody needs to tell my WLP037 that it's not supposed to his 86% attenuation (it supposedly maxes out at 72%)! 

I had planned to have both beers bottled for a full three weeks, but life got crazy, and they only ended up in bottles for two.  I did have one of each beer prior to the event (after completing the two full cases of each beer for my company, I ended up with a dozen bottles of the brown and five of the IPA for my own personal use).

The brown ale was fantastic.  Despite the color being a nice brown with ruby highlights, you could read newsprint through my pint glass.  Flavor and aroma were exactly as I'd remembered.  This is a very drinkable beer, so the lower finishing gravity actually worked great.  My only regret was poor head retention (perhaps my bottles will improve with time). 

The IPA, on the other hand, worried me a bit.  I had expected a bigger hop aroma than I noticed (perhaps due to an inadvertant extended cold crash - see "life being crazy", above), and while I got the nice spiciness that is characteristic of this beer, it was more phenolic than I expected... color me nervous.

I brought the beer to work, labeled it, and handed it off to my company's owner, reminding him again that bottle conditioned beer has yeast in the bottom, that he might want to consider glasses - or, at the very least, platic Solo cups.  I figured that the latter was in order, since the beer was going to be served at an Alabama football game tailgating party.

The weekend came and went, and I heard nothing.  Monday morning, nothing.  At this point, I was quite nervous. 

I finally ran down my company owner, who looked rather haggard.  He informed me that the guys from the other company were "professional drinkers" - they started drinking upon arrival Wednesday afternoon, and did not stop drinking until they left on Sunday.

The beer, he told me, was a smashing success.  Every drop of it was gone well before the game (along with commercial beer, bourbon, and various other alcohol).  The other company was extremely impressed at the labels, the presentation, and very much with the beer.  I was told that there were a few craft beer afficiandos in attendence, and these guys had nothing but great things to say about the beer... and that the rest of the attendees were serious volume drinkers who viewed my stronger beers as a great way to get to the desired alcohol saturation point in a more efficient manner.  Our marketing consultant kept a couple of bottles for showing to other people (the labels featured both companies' logos, and the bottle cap design was a melding of the two).  All in all, it seemed to go over great.

Later on, I heard similar sentiments from others who had attended - the beer was excellent, the receiption of the beer was amazing, it could not have gone better.  Multiple people asked me questions abou the brewing process, what goes into it, etc.  Needless to say, I am feeling fantastic about this whole thing.

It does not hurt my feelings that I was given a nice little check for my marketing efforts.  I made it very clear that I could not accept payment for the beer, that I had never planned on getting paid for it... and it was made clear to me that I was being given a bonus for my help in marketing.  

And hey... on Tuesday, I won the company chili cookoff.  All in all, this has been a good week for me.

Tags for this post: company, brewing, beer, IPA, brown ale, Oakenbranch, Thundersmoke, marketing

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posted by TCXRyNo on 10/24/2014 at 09:32:31 AM

Yay! And double yay for the chili cookoff! I was super stoked to help on those labels. And your caps were a great finishing touch.

posted by Lori on 10/27/2014 at 12:05:16 PM